Allyn Family Philanthropy

Posted on October 26, 2017

Nestled in the beautiful Finger Lakes region in upstate New York, the Allyn family has called the area home for five generations.  Winding roads, farms, corn fields and charming houses dot the beautiful countryside, with the Skaneateles Lake as the centerpiece of the close-knit,

William W. Allyn Ice Arena in the Skaneateles YMCA

hardworking community.

It was in this area, in 1915 that William Noah Allyn co-founded what would become the medical supply powerhouse company, Welch Allyn.   It all began with the development of the world’s first hand-held, direct-illuminating ophthalmoscope.  After Noah retired, William G. Allyn led the company through five decades of technical advances, sales growth, and industry recognition.  Years later his sons’ Bill and Lew Allyn would take over the helm and continued to lead the company in innovation and tremendous growth.

For over 100 years the Allyn family has strongly believed in giving back.  Philanthropy has been embedded in the fabric of the family and company since the beginning.  In fact, William G. Allyn offered free eye care every Saturday for Welch Allyn employees and their families.

William Noah and William G. Allyn believed so deeply in philanthropy they started the Allyn Foundation.  Founded in 1954, the Allyn Foundation is a private, family Foundation that provides grants to charitable organizations in Central New York.  The Foundation’s funding priorities are a reflection of the generous legacy of William Noah Allyn, William G. Allyn, Bill and Penny Allyn, Lew F. and Dawn N. Allyn and their children and grandchildren.

Lew Allyn remarks, “Dawn and I feel everybody has a responsibility to help their fellow man if they can.”

William G. Allyn, Dartmouth College 1932

Lake Skaneateles provides so many recreational opportunities in the summer and winter.  To honor William G. Allyn’s love of hockey and ice skating the family established the William G. Allyn Ice Arena in the Skaneateles YMCA.

When asked why philanthropy is so important to them, David Allyn stated, “Our community worked so hard and gave so much to make Welch Allyn so successful, and our family continues to give back to those that gave so much.”

There are many ways for families to be involved in helping others including giving of time, talent and/or monetarily.  Philanthropy instills many values in families.  “Most importantly people need to find their passion and consistently give throughout years,” said Penny.

“Kids have to see it modeled in the behavior of their parents, and you have to get kids involved early.  My Mother used to volunteer for the Junior League in Syracuse teaching young women how to cook.  As a child, I remember her going downtown and holding free cooking classes.  It meant so much to me and her,” said Penny.

In keeping the legacy of family giving, the fifth generation of Allyns has been passed the altruistic torch.  In addition to financial assistance to nonprofit organizations, the youngest generation of children has gone to Louisiana to help after hurricane Katrina and have also have gone to Honduras with a church and medical group and more.  They continue the legacy that was started so many years earlier.

Lured by the fabulous weather in the winter, Bill and Penny, and Lew and Dawn now split their time between Naples and Skaneateles.  To support the charities in geographic areas that are important their family philanthropy incorporates the Allyn Foundation, Central NY Community Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Collier County.  To support many southwest Florida charities the Allyns have established donor advised funds with the Community Foundation of Collier County.  The donor advised funds enables the Allyns to give in New York State, Florida or throughout the country.