Jeff Burns

Jeff has been a volunteer at Shepherd Home since 2006 and joined the board in 2007. He chairs Shepherd Home’s Information Technology and Community & Public Relations Committees, oversees development of the memorial gardens, and participates in fundraising.

Jeff’s previous volunteer experience includes the United Way, Youth At Risk, the Holiday Project, and several political campaigns. He is currently the treasurer for the Penfield Democratic Committee. Jeff has more than 20 years’ experience in marketing, communications, and strategic planning at software firms and advertising/PR agencies, including 3M Health Information Systems, Health Systems International, BBK, and GrammaTech. He also taught history at a middle school in Hillsborough, NC.  He and his wife, Donna Spinella, recently founded AlpenVista, Inc., a start-up that develops new business ideas and assists small businesses and nonprofit organizations with IT and marketing.

Why I volunteer for the Shepherd Home

Several months after my wife became a caregiver at Shepherd Home I became involved when she “volunteered” me to fix some problems with the computer network. One thing led to another and within a couple years I had upgraded all the computers and the network to improve performance and reliability as frugally as I could, and I developed a relational database to manage our mailing lists and to summarize donor information for annual reports. This system has helped Shepherd Home save time and thousands of dollars in postage and printing costs by focusing its mailings on active supporters and friends of the Home.

Betsy nominated me to join the board, and since then I’ve been involved with fundraising, landscaping, and a myriad of projects, while working with the other board members to help steward the finances and management of the organization.

It’s been very rewarding to be a part of Shepherd Home. Some people may think that a home providing hospice care would be depressing. On the contrary, I’ve found that it’s far more often a place of joy where families and friends spend precious time together. I’ve had the privilege to share a lot of laughter, storytelling and, once in a while, some tears with some of our residents and their families. They’ve all been very appreciative of what we do at Shepherd Home and they let us know.

Shepherd Home attracts very special and compassionate people. It’s been a delight getting to know my fellow volunteers and the staff. I especially admire our hands-on caregivers for all they do.