A Community Presence for over 80 Years
1929 – 2010
1929 Incorporated as the Watertown Foundation
In the 1930s and 1940s the Foundation grew slowly but steadily.
1930 The Foundation held its first board meeting on January 15. David M. Anderson was elected its first president and Bernard Gray, one of the original proponents of the Foundation, was appointed the executive secretary. Gray would serve in this capacity for the next 35 years.
1934 The first bequest was received from the estate of DeWitt C. Middleton. The first grant for $1,000 was made to the Watertown Community Chest.
1935 Grants were made to the Visiting Nurse Association and the local chapter of the Boy Scouts.
1937 Mercy Hospital’s Children’s Division and the Girl Scouts Association were grant recipients.
1939 An Education Loan Program was established. The first loans were made to Arthur C. Stever, Jr. ($250) and Robert J. Doran ($150).
1941 The Foundation contributed to the war effort with grants to the Jefferson County War Chest.
1944 Grants in excess of $3,000 were given to the American Red Cross.
1945 A $500 grant was made to the YMCA for rehabilitation of its building; education loans were increased to $500 each; $1,500 was pledged to the House of the Good Samaritan Building Fund.
1946 A $175 loan to Clark Hamlin was forgiven because he had been badly wounded in the war. (Mr. Hamlin went on to become clerk of the Jefferson County Board, forerunner of the County Manager’s position.)
1947-50 The Foundation’s college loan program continued to assist returning veterans with educational expenses.
1949 A trust was established under the will of Mary S. Goodale for Jefferson County Sanatorium patients.
The 1950s saw an increase in grants to medical and human service organizations.
1952 Grants were made to the Infantile Paralysis organization and the Watertown Group for Retarded Children.
1955 The first grant was made to the Jefferson County Mental Health Association.
In the 1960s total student loans reached $138,370, awarded to 126 students.
1964 The fair market value of trusts held for the Foundation was $787,864.
1972 A lead grant of $100,000 was provided for the Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library addition.
This period saw the replacement of the education loan program with one of scholarships.
1978 The Herring College Scholarship Program was established by court order; the Foundation funded the Fort Drum feasibility study.
1981 A fund was established for the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra to provide five concerts a year in the Watertown area.
1986 A grant of $100,000 helped to establish Hospice of Jefferson County.
1988 Lewis County became part of our service area and the Foundation’s name was changed to the Northern New York Community Foundation, Inc.
The 1990s marked a period of unprecedented growth.
1992 Assets were valued at $9.5 million.
During the Foundation’s sixth decade $9.7 million in gifts and bequests was received and $11.7 million in grants was spent including:
1992 $250,000 to Samaritan Medical Center for a new emergency room.
1996 100,000 to establish an internet program in area libraries (several years before Bill Gates initiated a similar program).
1997-03 The first Lewis County bequests were received from Robert F. Breeze, establishing a scholarship program for Lowville Academy graduates, and Dorothy A. Arthur, to support Lewis County charitable organizations.
$1.2 million in food was given to food pantries and soup kitchens over 5 years.
1999 $500,000, the Foundation’s largest grant, was provided to the Watertown Family YMCA for its new addition.
2001 $300,000 matching grant to establish an endowment for the Thompson Park Conservancy.
As of January 1, 2004 the Foundation’s assets were $24,682,151 and the value of outside trusts was $4,194,236.
2004 $350,000 was given to the North Country Children’s Clinic and $250,000 to Flower Memorial Library for capital campaigns, the largest amount ever granted in a single funding cycle.
2005 The Foundation received its largest gift from a living donor – $2,500,000. Foundation assets climbed to nearly $30 million.
2006 The Foundation received nearly $2.75 million from the estate of Sidney T. Cox. Scholarship awards for the academic year totaled over $525,000.
2007 The Foundation made its largest grant ever, $1.5 million, to Samaritan Medical Center. Foundation assets reached $40 million.
2008 The Foundation expanded its presence in St. Lawrence County and awarded its first scholarships to St. Lawrence County students.