As 2022 draws to a close, Wellspring is reflecting on this year’s departing board members with many emotions. We are grateful for each departing Board member’s generosity and leadership; proud of their countless contributions to Wellspring and their commitment to bettering our community as a whole; hopeful for Wellspring’s future to come; and grieving the loss of a shining light, Cerri Banks.

Erica Fuller served on Wellspring’s Board for seven years. As Board President for many of those years – including during Wellspring’s capital campaign – Erica’s leadership propelled Wellspring’s Campaign far beyond our initial fundraising goal and made Wellspring’s new building a warm, welcoming, and supportive reality for survivors of relationship and sexual abuse. Erica’s compassion, extraordinary work ethic, and philanthropic spirit were sources of inspiration for her fellow Board members, as her strong leadership supported them – and Wellspring as a whole – through the challenges of a global pandemic. Never without a smile, Erica led with positivity, compassion, and an ability to remain calm, cool, and collected even during stressful times. Her diplomacy and grace navigating the pandemic while completing our incredibly successful Capital Campaign reflect that she was the perfect leader during those uncertain times, with her ability to inspire those around her and make all who worked with her feel appreciated and valued.

Linda Toohey. There are simply no words to describe the transformational impact that Linda has had on Wellspring and our community. Linda’s leadership as co-chair for Wellspring’s Capital Campaign laid the foundation for how Wellspring will support our community for DECADES to come. Her dedication and generosity have forever changed the future of this agency and the community we serve. Beyond that, Linda’s contributions are multiplied exponentially thanks to her creation of Leadership Saratoga which has provided scores of Board leaders for Wellspring (and countless other nonprofits in the area) who are now champions for Wellspring’s mission to end relationship and sexual abuse. Linda embodies the meaning of philanthropy, and thanks to her, so many in our community have thrived. Her wisdom, generosity, genuine kindness, foresight, and leadership have forever changed our Saratoga community for the better. She is a change-agent who inspires everyone to do more and be better. MANY of us have learned from Linda. She has created and motivated future leaders and philanthropists for generations to come and Wellspring recognizes how profoundly fortunate we are to have her on our team.

Andi Staffan has been a voice for and a passionate and generous supporter of our cause. Andi’s energy and enthusiastic spirit helped her forge many connections with members of the community who, in turn, connected with Wellspring. Thanks to Andi, these new relationships are now long-term Wellspring supporters and advocates. Andi has been a strong proponent of Wellspring’s work to support those impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault, and she has long been committed to spreading awareness about our agency to as many community members as possible.

In memoriam: Cerri Banks was a valued member of Wellspring’s Board of Directors as well as a friend, role model and inspiration to many. Dr. Banks served as Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs at Skidmore College from 2016 to 2021. After leaving Skidmore, Dr. Banks joined her alma mater, Syracuse University, as Vice President for the Student Success Experience and Deputy to the Senior Vice President. Cerri joined Wellspring’s Board in January 2021 and quickly rose to a Board leadership position on the Governance Committee. Cerri was known for advocating for others – for Skidmore students, for survivors of relationship and sexual abuse, for women’s rights, for equality and justice and for those who struggle daily with basic needs. Sadly, Cerri passed away in July 2022. Cerri lives on in our hearts. As we remember her powerful and articulate voice, we also feel Cerri’s kindness, gentle honesty, and melodious laughter. She was a beacon for good and we mourn the loss of her light that shone so brightly here at Wellspring and in our community.

The incredible impact these four leaders have had on Wellspring cannot be overstated, and our gratitude for Erica, Linda, Andi, and Cerri is immeasurable. Thanks to their leadership and efforts, we are closer than ever to achieving our bold vision of ending relationship and sexual abuse in our community.