We make communities stronger by bringing voice to diverse public issues and needs and building capacity within nonprofit organizations.
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.
We were founded in 1950. In 2016, we transitioned from our former name, Ad Council of Rochester.
Our small staff of 10 have decades of experience in nonprofit management, communications, and more.
We partner with over 200 nonprofits and community organizations each year.
The support of local corporations, foundations, and individuals subsidizes the small fees nonprofits pay for our programs.
About 200 local professionals volunteer their time and expertise with us each year. Engaging volunteers in meaningful opportunities to support nonprofits has always been a key part of our model.
Learn about our staff and board at Causewave Community Partners.
Learn about our staff and board at Causewave Community Partners.
Strategy development and coordination of community's Summer Meals program
Leading special projects with organizations like Common Ground Health, Hillside Family of Agencies, and Finger Lakes Eat Smart NY.
Solving office technology crises (mostly user errors)
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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
LifeResults (tools for personal growth and leadership); Volunteer
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator; Practitioner
Issues that affect women and families
Passing Life On and organ donation
Lover of impressionist art and Vincent VanGogh
Lifelong fan of Mr. Rogers
Chocolate chip cookie expert
Love to travel, especially when it involves staying at a bed and breakfast
Providing leadership to the program team to support their work with non-profit organizations and community initiatives
Partnering with non-profit organizations to help them build capacity in areas like strategic planning, brand development, communications, board development and other areas of nonprofit management
Collaborate on Community Impact Initiatives
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Coordinating the long-standing partnership between Causewave and The Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning
Assisting in Causewave development events and activities
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Empowering and meeting motivated, positive women
Animal and environmental education/advocacy
The vibrant local Rochester animation and film scene
Cooking and eating new dishes (mostly eating)!
Post-It note doodles are her preferred artistic medium
Can talk, in detail, about the distinct tastes of different types of vinegar
Dotes on her three adorable lizards.
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
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
Partnering with nonprofit organizations to magnify their impact
Working closely on marketing and communications projects for organizations addressing poverty and structural racism, such as the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative
Managing the Causewave internship program and supporting emerging leaders looking to make a career in the nonprofit sector
Being nerdy about communication skills, research and data analysis, and leadership development
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Community philanthropy: Member of NextGen Rochester and the LGBT Giving Circle
United Way Pride Leadership Development Program, Steering 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
Integrally involved in major internal and external organizational initiatives
Providing leadership and mentorship to the organization’s program team that works with 200+ nonprofits each year
Evaluating and evolving Causewave’s suite of programs to ensure they are aligned with the needs of the region’s nonprofit sector
Developing meaningful partnerships with nonprofits and community groups, businesses, and community leaders
Keeping the office fresh with the latest pop culture trivia and animal videos
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Women-focused causes including reproductive rights, workplace and pay equity, and access to quality healthcare. (Proud board member of the Women’s Council, a Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce affiliate)
Animals of all types and the importance of causes that support and advocate for conservation and adoption
My husband, newborn baby, 2 fuzzy Tuxedo cats and the rest of my amazing family that all live too far away
The Rochester food scene that’s always expanding (although Restaurant Good Luck will always be my #1)
Really good wine!
Wanted to be a zookeeper or a physical therapist when I was little, until I learned how much science was required for both.
Retirement plans include owning a farm with my husband where senior animals can leave out their final days, including a pet donkey named Dill Pickles (Pickles for short).
Partnering with nonprofits to deliver capacity building support with special focus in strategic planning, board development and brand development.
Supporting Causewave’s work on Cultural Competency and participating in the Racial Equity and Justice Initiative through St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center.
Providing latest updates on the NCAA Basketball Championship
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Flower City Habitat for Humanity: Board Member, Governance Committee, Women Build Team Leader
Genesee Land Trust: Board Member, Board Secretary, Urban Initiatives Chair, Genesee River Alliance member
Three grown sons living in NYC, LA, Boston – yeah, great places to visit but I miss them.
Travel: Top 5 favorite places I’ve been to include India, Costa Rica, Singapore, Australia and Japan
Carabineers fanatic and collector
Purdue Alum, Boiler Up, CBO (Chief Basketball Officer)
"Flight Fest" originator & craft brew enthusiast
Developing grant applications and reports
Working with media partners to ensure placement of Community Impact Initiative creative materials
Recruiting and managing volunteers
Managing all things social media
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13thirty Cancer Connect, Young Professionals Group, Co-Leader
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
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
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
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
Learn about the origin of Causewave Community Partners
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:
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.
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.