Cristine Cioffi of Niskayuna has been elected president of The New York Bar Foundation, which last year awarded $1.24 million in law-related grants to 70 organizations statewide.

The Foundation is the charitable arm of the New York State Bar Association. Founded in 1950, The Bar Foundation supports legal research and education; provides funding for legal assistance, particularly to the poor; and works to ensure high standards of professional ethics and enhance the public's understanding of legal heritage.

Cioffi said her main goals as president are to raise the Foundation's visibility among attorneys and the public, provide grants in all 62 New York counties, strengthen youth courts and respond to the changing need for Foundation services.

"In the last two years, there were many, many requests for grants that were designed to either prevent bankruptcies, prevent foreclosures or help people who were experiencing serious economic problems gain access to legal services," she said. "Ideally, as the economy recovers, the need for those kinds of services will decline, allowing us to direct grant money to other areas of need."

Cioffi is president and partner of Cioffi, Slezak & Wildgrube, where she practices primarily in the fields of estate planning, administration and elder law. She served for 10 years as a Schenectady County legislator, including two years as minority leader, and is a past president of the Schenectady County Bar Association.

At the Bar Association, she served on the House of Delegates and has been a member of the Executive, Finance, Sarbanes Oxley, Strategic Finance and Media Awards committees and the Special Committee on Issues Affecting Same-Sex Couples. Prior to being elected president of the Bar Foundation, she served as its assistant secretary.

She is immediate past chair of the Board of Trustees of Ellis Medicine, where she continues to serve on the board, and is a trustee of the Ellis Hospital Foundation.

She is a graduate of Middlebury College and Albany Law School.

Cioffi was elected to a one-year term as president by the Foundation's Board of Directors in January. She succeeds retired Syracuse attorney M. Catherine Richardson (Bond, Schoeneck & King), a former president of the State Bar Association.

Other current officers are John J. Kenney of New York City (Hoguet Newman Regal & Kenney), vice president; Patricia K. Bucklin of Albany (New York State Bar Association), secretary; and Richard Raysman of New York City (Holland & Knight), treasurer.

A philanthropic organization, The New York Bar Foundation directs grant money toward legal service agencies, not-for-profit organizations, local bar associations, elementary and high schools and other organizations that assist children and adults. Grants are awarded for legal services, representation and advocacy; technology and innovation; aid to disabled veterans; and education, scholarship and fellowships. Amounts generally range from about $5,000 to $10,000. (A list of recent grant recipients is attached.)

For more information about the Bar Foundation, visit its website at

The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the country. It was founded in 1876.


In 2011, the Bar Foundation awarded $1.24 million in grants, scholarships and fellowships to nearly 70 organizations, including:

Albany-Capital District
Albany County Bar Association, Albany; Bethlehem Youth Court, Inc., Delmar; Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Hudson Falls; Empire Justice Center, Albany; In Our Own Voices, Inc., Albany; Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Albany; New York State Defenders Association, Inc., Albany; Prisoners' Legal Services of New York, Albany; Service, New York; Workers' Rights Law Center of New York, Inc., Kingston.

Central and Western New York
CASA of the Southern Tier, Inc., Corning; Farmworker Legal Services of New York, Inc., Rochester; Gay Men's Health Crisis, New York; Genesee County CASA for Children, Batavia; Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, Inc., Buffalo; Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Inc., Utica; Legal Aid Society of Rochester, Inc., Rochester; Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc., Geneva; Legal Services for the Elderly, Disabled or Disadvantaged of Western New York, Inc. Buffalo; Lifespan of Greater Rochester, Inc., Rochester; Partnership for Ontario County, Canandaigua; Syracuse University, Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, Syracuse; The Center for Youth Services, Inc., Rochester.

Long Island
Hillside Children's Foundation, Morris; Huntington Youth Bureau Youth Development Research Institute, Inc., Huntington; Mercy Haven, Inc., Islip Terrace;  Nassau County Bar Association, Inc., Mineola; Nassau/Suffolk Law Services Committee, Inc., Hempstead.

New York City, Lower Hudson Valley
Brennan Center for Justice, New York; The Bronx Defenders, Bronx; The Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project, Inc., Brooklyn; Center for Court Innovation/Fund for the City of New York, New York; Center for Family Representation, New York; Edwin Gould Services for Children & Families, Brooklyn; Goddard Riverside Community Center, New York; Housing Court Answers, New York; inMotion Inc., New York; LatinoJustice PRLDEF, New York; Lawyers for Children, New York; Legal Action Center, New York; Legal Aid Society, Kew Gardens; Legal Aid Society, New York; Legal Services New York City, New York; Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, New York; Mental Health Association of Westchester, Inc., Tarrytown; MFY Legal Services, Inc., New York; MinKwon Center for Community Action, Flushing; My Sisters' Place, Inc., White Plains; National Center for Law & Economic Justice, New York; Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project, New York; New York Civil Liberties Union, New York; New York County Lawyers' Association, New York; New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Inc., New York; New York Legal Assistance Group, New York; Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, New York; Partnership for Children's Rights, New York; Partnership for the Homeless, New York; Pro Bono Net, Inc., New York; Queens County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project, Jamaica; Safe Horizon, Inc., New York; Selfhelp Community Services, Inc., New York;  The Door - A Center of Alternatives, Inc., New York; The National Network to End Domestic Violence, New York; Volunteers of Legal Services, New York.

Out of State
University of Pennsylvania Law School, Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition, Philadelphia, Pa.; Vermont Immigration and Asylum Advocates, Burlington, Vt.


Contact: Mark Mahoney
Associate Director, Media Services & Public Affairs