Sands family donates $61M to Community Foundation


635906138889160193-sandsThe family behind Constellation Brands Inc. has donated $61 million to the Rochester Area Community Foundation — the largest gift in the foundation’s history.

The Sands Family Supporting Foundation will operate under the Community Foundation umbrella and allow the family “to further enhance their local giving for arts, education and health,” according to a statement announcing the gift. An idea of how much the Supporting Foundation will donate in its first round of giving and more details about the kinds of programs funded will be made public on April 1.


Mickey Sands

“The Sands family has a long legacy of helping Canandaigua, Ontario County and the Greater Rochester Area through its grants. This legacy will continue through the addition of the Sands Supporting Foundation,” said Jennifer Leonard, president and CEO of the Community Foundation.

Leonard said that the Community Foundation was approached by the Sands family late last year and by working with the Community Foundation, the family gains a partner as its giving expands.

Richard Sands, who is chairman of the board of Constellation Brands, and his brother, Rob, who is CEO and president of the company, along with their mother, Mickey, made the contribution that sets up the Sands Family Supporting Foundation.


Abby Bennett

The two brothers and their niece, Abigail “Abby” Bennett, as well as four members of the Community Foundation — including Leonard — make up the board of the Sands Family Supporting Foundation.

“We believe that the Community Foundation has a very good handle on what’s going on in our community and the ways people like ourselves can help support it,” said Richard Sands.

Constellation Brands is headquartered in Victor and makes wine, beer and spirits. It has an international market reaching 125 countries. The company employs about 7,700 worldwide, including more than 700 locally, and is the third-largest beer company and largest multi-category beverage alcohol company in the United States. Sales topped $6 billion in 2015.

The Sands family and Constellation Brands have given about $30 million in donations — much of it for education, health and the arts — over the past decade, said Richard Sands.

With the creation of the Supporting Foundation, younger members of the Sands family can get more involved in charitable giving.

Established in 1972, the Community Foundation serves Monroe and seven surrounding counties. It helps manage about 1,150 charitable funds set up by individuals, families and organizations. Prior to the Sands family gift, the Community Foundation had more than $300 million in assets.

The next biggest gift to the Community Foundation was $14 million in 2001 from Ron and his late wife, Donna, Fielding.

During its last fiscal year, the Community Foundation gave $22.5 million to about 2,500 nonprofit groups. In addition, the Community Foundation gave $743,000 in scholarship funds — mostly for college — to 476 recipients in the Rochester area during that time.

Source: Democrat & Chronicle

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