About Us


About Us

We Partner with people and organizations to
get change going in our community.

Our Mission

We make communities stronger by bringing voice to diverse public issues and needs and building capacity within nonprofit organizations.

Our Vision

Causewave will be a powerful force for good. It will be a movement itself – serving as the magnet for passionate people looking to do good – and the place where ideas and missions grow into community-changing movements.

About Us


Our Staff

Learn about our staff and board at Causewave Community Partners.

Our Staff

Learn about our staff and board at Causewave Community Partners.

 Aaron Lattanzio Senior Program Manager

Aaron Lattanzio
Senior Program Manager




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  • Rochester Advertising Federation; Board Member, Addy Co-chair

  • Healthi Kids; Policy Team Member

  • Rochester Melanoma Action Group; Supporter

  • Alzheimer's Association of Rochester & Finger Lakes; Supporter

  • Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America; Supporter


  • Proud Member of #BillsMafia

  • Attendee of Woodstock ’99

  • Culinary Institute of America grad


 Andrea Carvalho Program Assistant

Andrea Carvalho
Program Assistant


  • Assisting in the coordination of long-standing programs with community partners

  • Working closely with the Summer Meals Program and The Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning/Finger Lakes Children’s Environmental Health Center at the University of Rochester



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  • The Cobblestone Museum, Volunteer

  • High Falls Film Festival, Supporter

  • The Women of SoFA from RIT, Supporter

  • Cooking and eating new dishes (mostly eating!)


  • Can talk, in detail, about the distinct tastes of different types of vinegar

  • Dotes on her two adorable geckos

  • Is a budding crochet-er

 Beth Hershel Vice President of Community Engagement

Beth Hershel
Vice President of Community Engagement


  • Fundraising to support Causewave Community Partners' work

  • Managing raised revenue including individual donors, corporate members, grants, events, and in-kind donations

  • Recruiting a large network of engaged and influential volunteers

  • Making (often snobby) food and wine recommendations



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  • Women Build Flower City Habitat for Humanity; Steering Committee Member and Volunteer

  • Mary Cariola Children’s Center; Walking on Sunshine Event Volunteer

  • Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley; 2015 Grantmaking Committee Volunteer


  • Crushing the competition in Texas Hold ‘Em

  • Self-proclaimed hippie, having lived in both Ithaca, NY and Burlington, VT

 Elizabeth Murray Program Manager

Elizabeth Murray
Program Manager


  • Managing three community impact initiatives: Pass Life On, H2O Hero, and Be Brave for Kids

  • Partnering with nonprofits to deliver capacity building support

  • Leading special projects with organizations like ACT for Education and Rochester Technology and Manufacturing Association

  • Keeping everyone who’ll listen up to date on the latest political news



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  • Young Women’s College Prep Charter School; supporter and volunteer

  • Wheatland-Chili Central School District Sports Boosters, Board of Directors

  • Global Leadership Summit, Planning Committee


  • Curbside treasures, Ultimate Collector (the older, uglier, and rustier the better!)

  • Lifelong Fan of Cleveland Browns, Cavs, and Indians

 Eric Phamdo Program Coordinator

Eric Phamdo
Program Coordinator


  • Partnering with nonprofit organizations to magnify their impact

  • Supporting the adoption and sustainability of capacity building projects



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  • Out Alliance, Finance Committee

  • Rochester Yoga Service Network, Member and Teacher

  • Alum of the University of Rochester and the Simon School of Business


  • Attended culinary school in NYC

  • Has lived on 4 different continents

  • Dog person, but likes cat videos

 Katelin Pellett Vice President of Programs

Katelin Pellett
Vice President of Programs


  • Leading the seven-person program team that works with 200+ nonprofit partners on behavior change efforts each year

  • Developing partnerships with nonprofits, businesses, and community leaders

  • Directing strategy and planning of community impact initiatives and capacity building projects

  • Keeping the office fresh with hilarious jokes and the latest trends in fashion



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  • Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley; Board Member, Governance Committee Chair, Executive Committee, Grantmaking Committee

  • Women’s Council; Board Member, Communications Committee Co-Chair

  • Rochester Advertising Federation; Board Member, President


  • Shoop by Salt-N-Pepa, Karaoke Mic Dropper

  • Wanted to be a zookeeper or physical therapist when she was little (though she's pretty happy with the way things turned out)

 Mary Hadley Senior Program Manager

Mary Hadley Senior Program Manager


  • Partnering with nonprofits to deliver capacity building support

  • Strategic management of collective impact initiatives

  • Facilitating capacity building programs with nonprofits

  • Providing the latest updates on the NCAA Basketball Championship



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  • Flower City Habitat for Humanity; Board Member, Women Build Team Leader

  • Genesee Land Trust; Board Member, Urban Initiatives Committee Chair

  • Women's Foundation of Genesee Valley, Grantmaker Committee


  • Carabineers, Enthusiast and Collector

  • Purdue Alum, Boiler Up, Chief Basketball Officer

  • "Flight Fest" originator & crew brew enthusiast

 Micaela Allen Community Outreach Assistant

Micaela Allen
Community Outreach Assistant


  • Assisting with planning and coordinating of Causewave’s educational programs

  • Working with media partners to ensure placement of Community Impact Initiative creative materials

  • Recruiting and managing volunteers

  • All things social media



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  • 13thirty Cancer Connect, Member

  • Public Broadcasting Network, Supporter

  • Eastside Family YMCA, Volunteer

  • All things chocolate and hazelnut


  • Proud Tour de France fan

  • Loves to watch America’s Funniest Home Videos

  • Expert Bavarian pretzel eater

 Stacey Saracene Senior Program Manager

Stacey Saracene
Senior Program Manager


  • Directing community impact initiative strategy and management

  • Delivering capacity building projects with nonprofits

  • Provide marketing and communications coordination for community organizations, specializing in schools



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  • Niagara University Admissions; Volunteer

  • Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection; Volunteer

  • Carbs and all things gluten; Enthusiast


  • Food, travel, and sports enthusiast

  • Taught high school social studies at the City School District of Albany in a past life

  • Simon School of Business graduate and Simon Games winner

 Todd Butler President and CEO

Todd Butler
President and CEO


  • Supporting entire team’s community improvement work

  • Leading outreach and community involvement

  • Directing strategy and planning of collective impact initiatives

  • Collaborating with individual nonprofits on capacity building projects

  • Working closely with Causewave Community Partners' board of directors

  • Leading office theatrical productions (former star, high school musicals)



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  • Alzheimer’s Association of Rochester & Finger Lakes; Past Vice Chair of Board

  • Rochester Area Community Foundation; Marketing Committee

  • Adjunct Professor; RIT School of Communications and Roberts Wesleyan College of Adult & Graduate Education

  • Lover of all things outdoors: Hiking, Canoeing, Kayaking


  • Craft Beer, Geek

  • Buffalo Sabres, Fanatic


Our Board

Our Board

Officers and Executive Committee Members

Chair // Martha Bush, Community Volunteer
Vice Chair // Matt Jones, Wegmans Food Markets
Secretary // Marisol Ramos-Lopez, MSM, Community Volunteer
Treasurer // Chris Cebula, Armbruster Capital Management, Inc.
Director-At-Large // Michael McDougall, ARP, McDougall Communications
Director-At-Large // Susan Barnes, Center for Governmental Research
Director-At-Large // Leslie Zornow, University of Rochester
Director-At-Large // Courtney Cotrupe, Partners + Napier
Director-At-Large // Tom O'Connor, Al Sigl Community of Agencies
Director-At-Large // John Barr, Blue Lake Associates
Director-At-Large // Jessica Murray, Esq., Syracuse University College of Law
Immediate Past Chair // Chuck Samuels, WHAM-TV
President and CEO // Todd Butler, Causewave Community Partners

Board Members

Ajamu Kitwana // Executive Director, ESL Charitable Foundation

Beth VanVliet // Citizens Financial Group

Curtis Johnson // Associate, Bond Schoeneck & King, PLLC

Denishea Ortiz // Director of Strategic Marketing & Retail Product Management, RIT 

Jane Knickerbocker // Vice President of Marketing, Jewish Senior Life

Joe Mayernik // Creative Director, Brandtatorship

Kristen Bridenbaugh // Account Director, Partners + Napier

Laura Sadowski // Director of Institutional Giving, Geva Theatre Center

Mark Stone // Managing Partner & Chief Creative Officer, Dixon Schwabl

Mary Bowe // Vice President, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

Mary Holleran // Vice President of Communication, Rochester Area Community Foundation

Norma Holland // Anchor, 13-WHAM TV

Sara Wallace // Account Director, Butler/Till Media Services

Dr. Shaun Nelms // Superintendent, University of Rochester / East Partnership

Susan Munn // General Manager, Entercom Marketing Results Group

William McDonald, CPA // Partner, The Bonadio Group


Our History

Learn about the origin of Causewave Community Partners

Our History

Learn about the origin of Causewave Community Partners


In 1949, W.B. “Pete” Potter – Kodak’s vice president of advertising – was on the board of the newly minted Advertising Council. This New York City organization was finding its post-war legs and beginning to develop national public service advertising campaigns. Pete Potter saw that his hometown, Rochester, had problems that needed to be addressed just like his country did.  He knew Rochester was blessed with a great deal of marketing resources and passionate people who wanted to put their talents – and their money – to work on important issues. 

The Advertising Dinner of 1949 had one main agenda item: honor and recognize Pete for his influence on the local advertising industry. As part of Pete’s introduction in the dinner program, he issued a challenge to the advertising professionals in the room: 

“Advertising has become, in America, the greatest single means of mass communication, information, and persuasion which has ever been seen in any society, anywhere, at any time. In Rochester, we are the people who control that force. How will we use it for the betterment of the community in which we live?”
— Pete Potter

From that challenge, The Advertising Council of Rochester was born. For decades, it was a mirror of its national cousin, making its mark on many local issues. They helped the Red Cross form and promote America’s first blood bank. They supported the creation of the Civic Music Association, the RPO’s precursor. For many years they engaged citizens in Rochester’s Community Chest campaign, the future United Way.

For most of our 65-year history, the name The Advertising Council of Rochester described us well. But the world has changed. Our community's needs have evolved, and so has our work. We have dramatically shifted our work from a focus on one-time, tactical projects to addressing critical local needs through a community-centered approach. Today advertising is just one of many tools we use to address complex problems within nonprofit organizations, and within the community.

We have an ambitious vision for the future: that our community will be known for addressing big challenges through collaboration; that our organization will be one of the primary justifications for that reputation, and that we will be a magnet for passionate people looking to do good. We are the place where causes and organizations come to ignite change around their missions.

In January 2016 we officially announced a new identity for the organization. Our new name, Causewave Community Partners, represents what we've always been about – putting the cause first in everything we do. It represents movement – because momentum is necessary to find solutions for tough problems. And it represents collaboration – because we can't – and don’t – do this work alone.

Together, with all of our partners and supporters, we will continue to make waves by carrying Pete Potter’s legacy forward as a powerful force for good in our community. 

Thank you.

sylvester-foundation-logo small.jpg

Today, Pete's legacy lives on, in part, thanks to our continued connection to his family. Anne Potter Sylvester, Pete’s daughter, received the Lantern Award in 2015 and has been a loyal supporter of our work.

Pete’s granddaughters, Jayne Malfitano and Laura Sylvester, have been champions of our work both personally and through their leadership of the Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation.

Causewave is grateful for this continued support and the opportunity to honor Pete’s legacy, by pulling together the intellectual, creative, and financial resources of thousands of individuals and organizations to make our community stronger.