About Binghamton Betterment-ZOONEYFEST

The Binghamton Chapter of the Foundation for Community Betterment, was established to provide financial assistance to people faced with immediate, life changing needs in the Southern Tier. Fort the past ten years the community gathered in September for a day of great music and food to celebrate life and help people in need. ZOONEYFEST started in 2005 as a benefit for Joe Zunic who had been diagnosed with ALS. Joe was an active participant in the game of life and was not in need of a “reminder to take stock in life.” He loved projects, working hard, all that the outdoors offered, art, music, food and sharing all of it with his family and friends. Always a person to help other people out, Joe initially resisted the idea of a benefit. But after months of pestering he relented and agreed to have the benefit on the condition ZOONEYFEST continue as a vehicle to help others facing similar circumstances.

ZOONEYFEST joined the Foundation for Community Betterment in 2013 to leverage a national network of likeminded people and expand its role in the community as a not-for-profit. Betterment is a national organization dedicated to engaging individuals of all ages in community enhancement by creating an immediate, positive impact on the lives of individuals or organizations that share our philanthropic vision, but who currently lack the means to succeed.

After some soul searching and much consternation the organization committee decided to make the 10th Annual ZOONEYFEST the last. While we recognized it was time for a change, continuing the work we started with Joe and ZOONEYFEST over 10 years ago was important to us. Binghamton Betterment will focus on smaller fundraising initiatives instead of a large, day-long benefit. Our goal is still the same: to help those in immediate financial need to overcome a critical, life changing circumstance. This past spring we won a $25K grant from the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Program to help people in the Southern Tier who need it most.

In 10 years, Binghamton Betterment - ZOONEYFEST has donated over $210,000 to people and organizations in the Southern Tier.

Past Binghamton Betterment - ZOONEYFEST Recipients

  • Joe Zunic (2005)
  • Gus & Rheda Pearson and Greg Slezak (2006)
  • Jonathan Brown & Red Cross of the Southern Tier-Disaster Relief (2007)
  • Elliot Root & The Childrens’ Home (2008)
  • Terry Berge & Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier (2009)
  • Mike Meade & The Handicapped Childrens’ Association (2010)
  • Randy Buttman & Helping Hands of Broome County (2011)
  • Tom McGovern, A Room to Heal & Food Bank of the Southern Tier (2012)
  • Sam Brown and Jean Stevens (2013)
  • Sara Brown and Susan Speranza- Team Gleason Adventure (2014) 
  • Angel Dupuy (2015)