Peter and Liz Tower started their life together along the Niagara River in the Youngstown-Lewiston area of Niagara County. They later followed the demands of Peter's business to Buffalo in Erie County, and eventually retired to the countryside in nearby East Aurora, New York. There, Peter and Liz created the Tower Foundation, with a regional focus on Erie and Niagara counties, cementing their commitment to give back to the communities that nourished them.
From the Foundation's earliest days, Peter and Liz's daughters Mollie and Cindy, with their husbands John and Rob, respectively, have been active members of our Board of Trustees and helped shape the Foundation as it is today. Mollie and Cindy settled in communities in eastern Massachusetts, including Essex County and the Cape Cod region (the counties of Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket). Embracing these counties was a natural extension of Tower philanthropy and reflects the growth and evolution of the family.
Recent contributions from the family have increased the Foundation's assets to $159 million. We anticipate awarding grants totaling approximately $7 million annually. A strategic plan completed in 2012 crafted specific funding objectives for each our four core funding categories (Mental Health, Substance Use Disorders, Intellectual Disabilities, and Learning Disabilities). The plan also lays the groundwork for cross-silo initiatives that will bring a range of stakeholders together to drive community-based improvement for out target populations. We plan to use targeted and community-specific indicators (e.g., average age at first use of alcohol) to help measure the impact of our grantmaking.