Community Foundation’s LEAD Council Establishes LEADing the Way Initiative
WATERTOWN — The Northern New York Community Foundation’s LEAD Council has organized the skills and talents of its young leaders in a volunteer network to assist nonprofit organizations across the region.
The LEADing the Way initiative will provide additional support to help lift the mission and work of nonprofits that serve Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. The LEAD Council is an advisory committee of the Community Foundation empowered to identify and strategically address critical needs that impact nonprofits across the region. LEADing the Way was developed to support nonprofits facing key organizational and mission-centered challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
“Our communities are fortunate to have devoted, civic-minded young professionals with a breadth of meaningful experience,” said Max DelSignore, Community Foundation assistant director. “There is an energy and willingness to help at a time when nonprofits need it most. LEADing the Way is an opportunity to tangibly connect the valuable skills of our young leaders with the region’s nonprofits at a critical time. The Community Foundation is honored to work alongside the LEAD Council in this effort and is inspired by its vision and enthusiasm.”
The LEAD Council is comprised of 26 young professionals who live in the tri-county area with an interest in strengthening the quality of life in the North Country. LEAD is an acronym that reflects four important guiding principles tied to the Community Foundation’s mission and values: Leadership, Engagement, Access and Direction.
“I have never felt more fortunate to work with such an amazing group of professionals and an organization so committed to helping out our region. The ‘LEADing the Way’ initiative is one of the many efforts that makes the LEAD Council so special,” Council member Erin Simser said. “With a group comprised of some of the most talented, kind-hearted, generous people, I am always inspired by what is accomplished and I am sure this initiative will be no different. We are excited to offer help to those in need and share our talents and strengths so our communities can continue to grow and thrive.”
Since its inception in 2014, the LEAD Council has developed several creative initiatives that augment the Community Foundation’s work. Strategic efforts to date include enhancements toward child care and early childhood development programs, hyperlocal support for anti-poverty initiatives, and building philanthropic values in local schools through student-led projects. The Council also oversees the “LEAD Impact Grant Program,” which awards key grants to organizations focused on specific areas of need that nonprofits within our tri-county region address.
“The LEAD Council fosters the spirit of giving in its members and inspires philanthropy throughout our community,” Council member Jessica Piatt Walczyk said. “This new initiative, ‘LEADing the Way,’ introduces a creative way to cultivate vibrant ideas and welcome new allies to Northern New York’s nonprofit sector.”
The LEAD Council is made possible thanks to generous support from the Hyde-Stone Charitable Foundation at the Northern New York Community Foundation, Carthage Savings and Loan Association, and donors to the Friends of the Foundation Annual Community Betterment Fund.
Here are more details on how the LEADing the Way initiative will operate:
How can nonprofits connect with LEADing the Way?
Contact the Community Foundation with your inquiry or request and share if your need is for a specific individual, group, or general help to the organization. The Foundation will identify LEAD members who can help with the nonprofit’s request. Once LEAD members have been identified to help, their volunteer assistance may be deployed to the nonprofit via phone, email, virtual meetings or conference calls, group meetings or classes, and/or personal visits depending on COVID-19 restrictions.
What are the focus areas of support?
Nonprofits may request LEAD support for individual, group, or organizational needs such as, but not limited to: Professional development, marketing and outreach, finance, education, health and wellness, self-sufficiency projects, recreation, and others. The Community Foundation and LEAD will collaborate with a requesting nonprofit to identify the most appropriate plan and method for volunteer support.
How can nonprofits ask for help?
Organizations may contact Kraig Everard, Community Foundation director of stewardship and programs, at 315-782-7110 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please allow one to two days to pair up your nonprofit’s request with appropriate LEAD members. If the request is urgent, please note so in your request for support.
LEAD Council Members
- Eli Anderson, Sackets Harbor, Samaritan Medical Center
- Krysta Aten-Schell, Adams Center, Holt Architects
- Andrew Boulter, Watertown, Watertown Savings Bank
- Anthony Burgess, Watertown, Jefferson Community College
- Maria Buskey, Natural Bridge, Keller Williams, Lori Gervera Team
- Jonathan Cole, Antwerp, Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization
- Victoria Hasseler Collins, Croghan, Conboy, McKay, Bachman & Kendall, LLP
- Bridget Fetterly, Deferiet, Carthage Savings and Loan
- Kerry Kennett, Sackets Harbor, South Jefferson Central School
- Cari Knight, Great Bend, ACR Health
- Kristin LaClair, Watertown, Children’s Miracle Network of Samaritan Medical Center
- Joanna Loomis, Watertown, North Country Initiative
- Steve Magovney, Watertown, Belleville Henderson Central School
- Amanda McIlroy, Watertown, Immaculate Heart Central School
- Aaron Naklick, Watertown, Samaritan Medical Center
- John Nuber, Clayton, RBC Wealth Management
- Kayla Perry, Adams. Greater Watertown North Country Chamber of Commerce
- Jessica Piatt Walczyk, Watertown, Greater Watertown North Country Chamber of Commerce
- Anna Platz, Carthage, Lewis County Public Health
- Allison Roselle, Clayton, North Country Prenatal Perinatal Council
- Melissa Schmitt, Watertown, Samaritan Medical Center
- Erin Simser, Watertown, WinnCompanies
- Robert Sligar, Carthage, Carthage Savings and Loan
- Emily Soderquist, Watertown, Samaritan Medical Center
- Lisa Trembley, Carthage, Children’s Home of Jefferson County
- Jennifer Voss, Watertown, City of Watertown
About the Northern New York Community Foundation
Since 1929, the Northern New York Community Foundation has invested in improving and enriching the quality of life for all in communities across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.
Through partnerships with businesses and organizations, charitable foundations, and generous families and individual donors, the Community Foundation awards grants and scholarships from an endowment and collection of funds that benefit the region. Its commitment to donors helps individuals achieve their charitable objectives now and for generations to come by preserving and honoring legacies of community philanthropy while inspiring others.
The Community Foundation is a resource for local charitable organizations, donors, professional advisors and nonprofit organizations. It also works to bring people together at its permanent home in the Northern New York Philanthropy Center to discuss challenges our communities face and find creative solutions that strengthen the region and make it a great place to live, work, and play.