Get to know John Swann, executive vice president at The Community Foundation, and his four-legged sidekick, Kendrick, a frequent visitor to our Genesee Street offices.
What do you find most enjoyable about working here?
Two things: the work itself, which is aimed at making this an even better community, and the people I work with—their talent, commitment, enthusiasm and energy.
What challenges exist in our community that you’re passionate about addressing?
This community has an opportunity to revise and update its story, to put things in perspective. Some of the area’s best and most challenging times are still within living memory, and it can be hard to move forward when you’re constantly making comparisons with the past.
Valuing our collective history—whether it’s what happened 50 years ago or 100 years ago—is important, but we need to recognize the good that’s happening now and the remarkable things that are taking shape. The community’s investments in itself, through The Community Foundation, are part of that past—and a big part of a better future, too.
Tell us about your professional history and how you came to work at The Community Foundation.
I worked as a broadcast journalist, in radio and television, for 20 years. After that, I was a public relations practitioner at SUNY Institute of Technology for 15 years. When I began to consider retiring, Alicia Dicks asked me about joining her team, and I liked what she told me about the organization’s direction.
What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?
Spending time with family—my wife, Pat, and my three daughters—and I try to find time to play the guitar and piano whenever possible.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Missouri, on a farm that’s been in our family since the 1830s.
What are your top three local restaurants?
The Tailor and the Cook, Aqua Vino and Craylee’s
What is your favorite quote?
It’s Mark Twain: “Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”