Eight local students and four Watertown-area organizations receive support for education, community
WATERTOWN — The North Side Legacy Fund of the Northern New York Community Foundation recently presented its inaugural scholarships to eight graduating seniors and grants to four local organizations, totaling $6,000 in support for education and nonprofits.
The North Side Legacy Fund was established in 2019 as a permanent fund of the Northern New York Community Foundation to forever honor and perpetuate the history and heritage of the North Side Improvement League.
The North Side Legacy Fund Advisory Committee announced earlier this year the creation of the North Side Legacy Fund Scholarship with plans to provide $4,000 in support to members of the class of 2020. Graduating high school seniors who live in the City of Watertown were eligible. Students from other areas who have family ties to the League were also encouraged to apply. Grant support to local organizations totaled $2,000.
“We are proud to continue the good works of the North Side Improvement League that began nearly 110 years ago,” said Bill Parody, past president and North Side Legacy Fund Advisory Committee member. “Helping the younger generation with their education carries on a tradition of the League to always be there in support of our city and youth.”
Scholarship recipients are Watertown-area residents who plan to enroll for the first time this fall as full-time undergraduate freshman students. Recipients of this one-year award each received $500 and were selected based on combined test scores, cumulative high school GPA, rank in class, personal data, essay scores, and applicant appraisals.
“These scholarship and grant awards have special significance this year, as they are the beginning of a program that will forever benefit the Watertown community,” said Rande Richardson, Community Foundation executive director. “This fund helps build upon the many ways the League has invested in the people and organizations of the city. It is an honor for us to be the permanent home of this important heritage.”
Inaugural North Side Legacy Scholarship recipients are:
- Madilyn Eveleigh, Watertown High School, SUNY Jefferson, early childhood education
- Samantha Farone, Immaculate Heart Central High School, SUNY Jefferson, human services
- Benjamin T. Hutchins, Immaculate Heart Central High School, St. John Fisher College, Rochester, biology
- Brennan Lynch, Watertown High School, SUNY Jefferson, liberal arts — political science and economics
- Nicholas Mallette, Watertown High School, Le Moyne College, Syracuse, biology
- Mikayla Murphy, Watertown High School, Medaille College, Buffalo, veterinary sciences
- Kate O’Neil, Immaculate Heart Central High School, SUNY Jefferson, liberal arts — humanities and social sciences
- Marissa E. Valvo, General Brown Central High School, SUNY Jefferson, allied health and medical
Inaugural North Side Legacy Fund grant recipients are:
- Community Action Planning Council, Watertown, $500
- Disabled Persons Action Organization, Watertown, $500
- North Watertown Cemetery Association, Watertown, $500
- Watertown Urban Mission, Watertown, $500
The North Side Improvement League’s rich history and legacy of civic involvement and community betterment that spanned more than a century continues through the North Side Legacy Fund. Gifts to help build the fund can be made to the Northern New York Community Foundation, ATTN: North Side Legacy Fund, 131 Washington St., Watertown, NY 13601, or through secure online giving at www.nnycf.org.
Members of the North Side Legacy Fund Advisory Committee include Sylvia Buduson, Allison Crossman, Michael Dupee, Jacob Johnson, Laurie Koelmel, Terri Mallette, Bill and Pat Parody, and Terry Williams.
About the North Side Improvement league
A group of Watertown citizens formed the North Side Improvement League in 1911 after they were discouraged with voters’ defeat of a city bond measure to construct a bridge that would have connected West Main and Jackson streets across the Black River. Robert Cahill, who was later elected mayor, determined that similar projects would not realize the same fate, so he helped start the league with 13 others who were known as the “bridge boosters.” A year later, in August 1912, the league incorporated and bought the former Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart at Thompson and Gale streets, which served as its clubhouse for 58 years. In 1969, the league opened a 9,600-square-foot clubhouse that could accommodate 700 people.
In its early years, the league took a progressive role in many issues before City Council and its members wielded political influence as politicians seeking office at nearly every level — city, county, state, and national — visited the league’s Mill Street headquarters. At its peak in the 1990s, the league had 1,600 members. The Mill Street club was once a hive of activity with events including class reunions, dinners, and social, civic and political functions. The league also sponsored Little League baseball teams and Boy Scout troops.
Human service and community engagement were trademarks of league membership. At one time, the league was represented in more than 30 community organizations, and nearly every church, charitable and civic organization in the city. Volunteer service was a hallmark of those who belonged to the league. At the height of its charitable efforts, the league supported charitable and youth service organizations in the Watertown areas and provided financial assistance to numerous college students.
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.