Events & News


Epilepsy star: EFNENY Jeanine Garab

Jeannine S. Garab is the Executive Director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern NY, an energetic foundation that spends the whole year planning activities and supporting its members through a multitude of services. We sat down with her to hear about how she came to work in epilepsy and what her plans are for the future. 

Tell us a little about yourself: education, professional background

I have a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from The College of Saint Rose with a concentration in management.  I have been employed by the Epilepsy Foundation since 1987, serving as Executive Director since 1991.  The organization was very small when I started.  We operated on a budget of about $100,000, and served 9 counties in the Capital Region.  Today, we serve 22 counties including the Capital Region, Upper Hudson Valley and the North Country, with 20 professional staff members and a budget of just over $1.4 million.  

How did you come to work at the EFNENY?  

I started working for the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York the week before I graduated from high school.  I was looking for a part time summer job prior to starting college in the fall.  As fall approached, I was offered the opportunity to continue in my position, working around my class schedule.  In my junior and senior years, I completed internships at the Epilepsy Foundation that included budgeting and fundraising.  I was invited to attend Board and Committee meetings, and was introduced to all aspects managing a non-profit organization.  Shortly after graduation, the Executive Director position became available.  I interviewed, and was hired.  

Tell us about your position at the EFNENY, what your typical week is like, what are the special times of the year for the foundation?

My position at the Epilepsy Foundation is very diverse.  I am responsible for the administrative and programmatic operations, which includes staff recruitment and supervision, budgeting, grant-writing and fundraising, program planning and development, public relations and marketing, as well as strategic planning.  In a typical week, I am working on a multitude of projects including upcoming special events, fiscal management, program assessment and relationship building.  I also serve on the Management Operations Team for the National Epilepsy Foundation.  

What projects have you worked on that are especially close to your heart?

Our Winning Kid program will always be close to my heart. Each year we recognize 1-3 children from throughout our service area to represent all children with epilepsy.  I have been involved in this program since its inception.  I also greatly enjoy our special events.  I attended our first "Confections in Chocolate" gala 28 years ago, and have watched this event grow from 50 guests and net revenue of $5,000 to over 300 guests with net revenues of $75,000-$100,000.   I also really enjoy our annual Jake Straughter Memorial Golf Tournament.  This event has grown so large that we now hold the event at two golf courses simultaneously on the same day.  We welcome over 200 golfers.  

What plans do you have for your work in epilepsy for the upcoming year?

Last year, our Board of Directors and Staff spent an enormous amount of time developing a new strategic plan.  We have some really ambitious goals for 2016-2017 including building a stronger financial foundation, increasing our programs and services to reach more people in need, and creating more awareness of epilepsy in our community.  I will be spending a lot of time over the next two years advancing our mission to achieve these goals.  

Our next special event is May 7, our 5th Annual Upper Hudson Valley Stroll for Epilepsy which will be held at Wilcox Park in Dutchess County.  Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group will be our luncheon sponsor, allowing us to provide lunch to all of our participants following the walk.  This is a great event to meet other families affected by epilepsy, and to raise money to support our services in the Upper Hudson Valley area.  For more information on sponsorships or forming a team, please call our office at (845) 883-6320.  

Anything else?  

Epilepsy will affect 1 in 26 people in our lifetime.  At least one third of all people with epilepsy continue to have seizures despite the many treatments that are available.  Until there is a cure, the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York will do everything in our power to meet the needs of individuals living with epilepsy.  For more information, please visit our website at:

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