ALBANY, N.Y. (October 10, 2017) – Attorney James T. Towne, Jr., Principal and Vice President of Albany-based law firm Towne, Ryan & Partners, P.C., has been selected to receive The Giving Circle’s Founders Award in recognition of a lifetime dedicated to acts of compassion.
The Founders Award is among the eight awards to be presented at The 2017 Compassion Awards, which will take place on Thursday, November 9 at the Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs. The recipients are selected annually by The Giving Circle, Inc., a not-for-profit organization based in Saratoga Springs whose mission is to seek out communities in need and connect them with those with the resources to help. The awards recognize individuals, businesses and organizations that go above and beyond to help the needy and suffering beings locally, nationally and internationally.
“Each year for the past three years The Giving Circle has presented their Compassion Awards in eight categories to people, businesses and organizations who have demonstrated through their actions the selfless compassion that embodies the ideals of The Giving Circle and its Annual Compassion Awards,” said Mark Bertrand who founded The Giving Circle with his wife Kelly in 2005.
The esteemed Founders Award is presented to an individual each year who has demonstrated a lifetime of selfless works and acts of compassion. This award encourages selfless acts and promotes altruism and compassion in future generations.
“This year we are most proud to honor James Towne, someone who we believed best personifies this true devotion, dedication, tenderheartedness, dependability and perseverance to the needy and suffering beings locally, nationally and internationally,” said Bertrand.
Jim’s passion for helping others and giving back to many not-for-profits and humanitarian organizations throughout the Capital District and beyond is chronicled through decades of service on various boards, fundraising initiatives he has championed, and resources he has sought out to bring change to individuals and communities that need it the most.
Jim’s dedication to the legal field has been evident throughout his 42-year career. His 19 years on the Board of the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York (LASNNY), twice a recipient of the Legal Aid Society’s Distinguished Services Award; his current role as an Advisory Board member for The Legal Project and the recipient of The Legal Project’s Champion Award in 2015; and a nominee for the American Bar Association’s national Pro Bono Publico Award are a testament to his passion for affording access for all to the legal system. He chaired the successful fundraising efforts to underwrite LASNNY’s acquisition of its first LASNNY-owned facility in Saratoga County in 2014. In 2015, Jim partnered with The Legal Project to address his long-standing desire to increase the availability of legal services for domestic violence victims located in underserved and unserved remote regions of upstate New York who are hampered by transportation and limited resources. The collaboration produced the William E. Byron Technology Center, named in honor of his father-in-law that is a regional network hub providing access to legal advice for victims of domestic violence, also serving as a technology training center for The Legal Project’s other outreach efforts. Jim has also been recognized professionally by appearing on the list of Upstate New York Super Lawyers for eleven consecutive years, being named as a Top 25 Attorney in the Hudson Valley. Jim was also selected for a Lifetime Achievement Award among America’s Top 100 Attorneys® in Upstate New York. In a nod to his knowledge of the equine industry, Jim was selected to serve on the Franchise Oversight Board for NYRA in 2013 and is now into his second term on the board.
Jim has also devoted countless hours of personal time and funds, championing innovative ideas for new services, methods of delivering needed assistance and enhancing fundraising efforts to many organizations regionally and abroad. In addition to service on local boards such as Saratoga County’s Youth Board and the Town of Ballston’s Ethics Board, Jim also served on the boards of the Multiple Sclerosis Society and as a member of its Executive Committee for 18 years, and the Leukemia Lymphoma Society for 12 years, advocating for local funding and local services to support survivors and families in the Capital District. Jim was a recipient National Multiple Sclerosis Society Angel Achievement Award in 2006 in recognition of his years of service. He currently serves on the board of Saratoga P.L.A.N., Inc. whose mission is the conservation and preservation of Saratoga County’s natural environment and unique open spaces.
Another local affiliation which means a great deal to Jim is his association with Skidmore College. In recognition of his family’s long association with Skidmore and his belief in the essential role a liberal arts education plays in enhancing the fabric of society, Jim worked with Skidmore’s administration and faculty to develop and underwrite a documentary studies program at the college and in the creation of Skidmore’s Storyteller’s Institute. Named in honor of his step-father, the John B. Moore Documentary Studies Program “is becoming a national leader in how to embed and advance the documentary arts within a liberal arts curriculum.” Jim helps fund the college’s First Year Experience in bringing the authors to campus and supports a number of summer internships for Skidmore students with local and regional businesses and non-profits. His connection with Skidmore’s Friendship Family Program has offered Jim and his wife Sue priceless opportunities to develop lasting relationships with international students as a local friend, mentor and in providing a needed support system to facilitate their successful transition from their home countries to Skidmore.
Additionally, Jim is founding board member of the Loisaba Community Conservation Foundation (LCCF), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit headquartered in Saratoga Springs. This project has been a true labor of love for Jim since its creation. LCCF supports the educational and health needs of more than 19,000 Masaai and Samburu tribespeople living in an extremely impoverished area of Kenya called Laikipia. For nearly 20 years, Jim has spearheaded fundraising and hands-on operations for the Ewaso and Koija villages in Laikipia through land and wildlife conservation and animal husbandry; education, healthcare, and empowering women and girls.