Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

Peter C. Cornell Trust

Ensuring a Family's Trust for Generations

Dr. Peter C. Cornell

Susan and her brother, Stephen, seem to have endless stories about the kindness, business intuition and generosity of a man known to them as Uncle Peter. Although they never met him, family stories have been passed down through generations and a deep connection leads them to honor their uncle’s legacy in Western New York through a foundation he established upon his death.

You may know Uncle Peter as Dr. Peter C. Cornell, a savvy Buffalo businessman who was one of three early investors in Trico. Throughout his life, he recognized the importance of supporting economic development, education and the arts in his beloved community.

The Peter C. Cornell Trust was established in 1949 through Peter’s Will and now, more than 60 years later, his legacy is still carried on through his great-niece, Susan Cornell Wilkes; his great-nephew, Stephen Cornell; and two local community leaders, Chris Greene and Jock Mitchell. With Susan and Stephen living out of town, the trustees began exploring ways to stay connected and informed about the needs in Western New York. They also recognized a need for outside help with oversight of their investments. The Community Foundation proved to be a perfect match.

“With an ever-increasingly complex regulatory world, we now rely on the Community Foundation and are able to relieve ourselves of the administrative expenses of running our own show and the fiduciary duties of the Trust investments,” said Chris. “Now we can concentrate on learning more about where we should put our resources to make the greatest impact according to Peter’s wishes.”

“I didn’t realize how much we would gain in our thinking and decision-making from being a part of the Community Foundation,” said Stephen Cornell. “It is that element of the partnership that allows us to have a multiplier effect—we can see how the projects we’re considering fit into the larger picture of the renaissance happening in Buffalo.”

All the trustees agree that by relying on the Community Foundation for administrative support, community knowledge and investment power, there’s no limit to the good they can do in Peter’s name.

Peter C. Cornell Trust Advisors Pictured Left to Right: Stephen Cornell, Susan Cornell Wilkes, Jock Mitchell and Chris Greene

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