Karen S. Goetz, Executive Director of the Richard S. Shineman Foundation, to Retire

May 2, 2022


Karen S. Goetz, executive director since 2014, will retire at the end of September, the foundation’s Board of Directors announced today.

Goetz, who in 2013 became one of the foundation’s original board members, has had a tremendous impact since taking the operational helm eight years ago, and has helped the organization fulfill its mission as a Catalyst for Change in Oswego County and throughout Central New York, said Kathleen Fenlon, the board chair.

“Under Karen’s leadership, the foundation’s impact has grown rapidly,” Fenlon said. “Among her many accomplishments, grantmaking – from initial inquiries through post-grant reviews – has been modernized and made more efficient; the board has approved $11.5 million in grants during her tenure to organizations large and small that improve the quality of life in Oswego County. Karen has worked tirelessly with grant applicants to sharpen and professionalize their proposals, and pioneered a series of workshops to improve the skills of nonprofits’ board and staff members. We will miss her passion and enthusiasm for helping carry forward the mission set in motion by Dick and Barbara Shineman.”

Fenlon continued, “In 2020, Karen worked to create and administer a COVID-19 Fund that provided emergency funding to local not-for-profit agencies. Under her leadership, a new Shineman Foundation website was created last year that showcases the work of the foundation. Karen has also worked closely with SUNY Oswego to create a Shineman Endowed Fund, which provides funding to campus departments that positively affect the campus and regional community.”

Goetz said she’s been honored to team with the nine-member Board of Directors to pilot the Shineman Foundation – which Barbara Shineman founded in 2012 with a $25 million bequest from her late husband -- from infancy to maturity.

“It has been a privilege to work with a strong and multitalented succession of board members, especially Kathy Fenlon and her predecessor as chair, my dear friend Barbara Shineman,” Goetz said. “The saying goes, ‘A rising tide raises all boats.’ The Shineman Foundation is on the crest of Oswego County’s rising tide, and I’m so proud to have helped give impetus to it.”

She also credited office administrator Penny Halstead as “truly a right hand and an indispensable part of the foundation’s team.”

Goetz, a graduate of Oswego High School and Indiana University, said she is an advocate of lifelong education and personal growth. She has joined local, regional and statewide efforts that have helped raise the Shineman Foundation’s profile while also seeking to improve lives. Among the initiatives, she is a member of the Advisory Committee of LIFT (Learn, Identify, Focus, and Transform) Oswego, a countywide anti-poverty initiative; the Housing and Homeless Coalition of Central New York’s Advisory Board; the Advisory Council of the region’s boardSTRONG (Strengthening Training and Recruitment for Outstanding Board Governance); and the New York Funders Alliance and its board of directors, where she most recently served as vice president.

The decision to retire has been difficult, Goetz said, but the time feels right. “The foundation is celebrating its 10th anniversary year and, after leading the foundation from start-up to solid growth stage, I feel I have accomplished what I promised Barbara Shineman and the Board of Directors I would do. The foundation is in a good place, and poised for future growth and evolution. I am looking forward to spending more time with my husband and our family, which has grown to include five sons, four daughters-in-law and soon-to-be seven grandchildren.”

The Shineman Foundation’s board will begin the process of finding a successor for Goetz in the coming weeks, Fenlon said.