The Northern New York Community Foundation and its LEAD Council have stepped up to assist with a local poverty initiative designed to impact residents in need.
The Community Foundation’s board of directors and LEAD Council teamed up to award a $25,000 grant to the “Race Against Poverty Fund,” which is designed to support non-profit organizations conducting the “Bridges Out of Poverty and “Getting Ahead” initiatives in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. The “Race Against Poverty Fund” was established by the Jefferson Leadership Institute Class of 2017 – in partnership with the Greater Watertown North Country Chamber of Commerce – and is administered by the Community Foundation.
The LEAD Council is an advisory group of young professionals that complements the Community Foundation with strategic grantmaking efforts. The council was founded in 2014 as a way to empower and mobilize the next generation in proactive community philanthropy that enhances the quality of life in the North Country. More than 20 members are represented on the council from across Northern New York.
The “Bridges Out of Poverty” and “Getting Ahead” initiatives were introduced to the community last year by Community Action Planning Council and the Watertown Urban Mission, with additional support from the Volunteer Transportation Center. The 16-week workshop leads participants through self-exploration and discovery exercises to identify and resolve the root issues of their situation living in poverty. To date, two workshops have been completed. The Community Action Planning Council received additional grant support from New York State through the “Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative,” which is being administered by the United Way of Northern New York, to conduct “Getting Ahead” workshops to help residents in the city of Watertown.
The LEAD Council began exploring hyperlocal effects of poverty on the community in late 2016 and pursued a collaboration with chamber’s Jefferson Leadership Institute (JLI) class to expand the initiative across the tri-county area. In 2017, the JLI class raised $24,000 through its “Race Against Poverty” event in downtown Watertown to build the “Race Against Poverty Fund.” LEAD and the Community Foundation have added funding to the charitable resource to provide an opportunity for other area non-profit organizations to seek funding to conduct the “Bridges Out of Poverty” and “Getting Ahead” initiatives in their service area.
A committee consisting of members from the LEAD Council and the Jefferson Leadership Institute class has developed an application and review process and will recommend deployment of grant funding to non-profits. The committee will also assist with the examination of outcomes from the workshops to help determine impact.
“Getting Ahead’ is an innovative program that provides those who lack resources with the necessary tools to make positive changes toward a brighter tomorrow,” said Dawn Cole, Deputy Director of the Community Action Planning Council. “The future stories that come from ‘Getting Ahead’ not only impact participants on an individual level, but they strengthen the community as a whole. I am deeply grateful for the generous support of the LEAD Council and Northern New York Community Foundation and look forward to many more ‘Getting Ahead’ workshops. It will put us one step closer to a truly sustainable community where we can all live well.”
The LEAD Council program and its efforts are made possible through the generosity of the Hyde-Stone Charitable Foundation at the Northern New York Community Foundation, Carthage Savings and Loan, BCA Architects and Engineers and annual gifts made to the Friends of the Community Foundation Community Betterment Fund.
“We are so grateful for the broad range of Community Foundation donors who have supported the efforts of the LEAD program as it strives to empower young professionals to begin to find strategic and meaningful ways to make a difference in the place they live. The ‘Race Against Poverty’ initiative has demonstrated the great potential these committed young citizens have to make their mark for years to come,” said Rande Richardson, Community Foundation director.
If you wish to support this endeavor with a contribution to the “Race Against Poverty Fund, please consider making a gift to: Northern New York Community Foundation and write “Race Against Poverty Fund” in the memo line. You may mail your gift to 131 Washington Street, Watertown, NY 13601. You may also make a contribution online at www.nnycf.org.
The Northern New York Community Foundation makes grants to support the work of non-profit organizations and provides scholarships to individuals in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties. The Foundation has been built and added to from gifts (both while living and through their legacy plans) by individuals and organizations committed to meeting the changing needs of Northern New York, as well as supporting specific charitable interests and passions.
The following is an active list of current members serving on the LEAD Council at the Northern New York Community Foundation:
Eli Anderson, Henderson (Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization)
Krysta Aten-Schell, Adams Center (BCA Architects and Engineers)
Hilary Avallone, Carthage (ACR Health)
Andrew Boulter, Watertown (Watertown Savings Bank)
Anthony Burgess, Watertown (Jefferson Community College)
Dennis Caughlin, Watertown (Watertown Savings Bank)
Victoria Collins, Croghan (Conboy, McKay, Bachman & Kendall LLP)
Bridget Fetterly, Carthage (Carthage Savings and Loan)
Trevor Garlock, Hammond (Northwestern Mutual Co.)
Kerry Kennett, Sackets Harbor (South Jefferson Central School)
Cari Knight, Great Bend (ACR Health)
Lindsay Knowlton, Adams Center (North Country Initiative)
Kristin LaClair, Watertown (Children’s Miracle Network at Samaritan Medical Center)
Diane Leonard, Clayton (DH Leonard Consulting and Grant Writing Services)
Joanna Loomis, Watertown (Watertown Urban Mission)
Steve Magovney, Watertown (Transitional Living Services)
Kylee Monroe, Philadelphia (General Brown Central School)
Aaron Naklick, Watertown (Samaritan Medical Center)
John Nuber, Clayton (RBC Wealth Management)
Melissa Schmitt, Watertown (Samaritan Medical Center)
Erin Simser, Watertown (WinnCompanies)
Robert Sligar, Carthage (Carthage Savings and Loan)
Jennifer Voss, Watertown (City of Watertown)
Matthew Walldroff, LaFargeville (Jade Stone Engineering)