Complete Applications Due Friday, June 5, for Award Consideration
WATERTOWN — Graduating high school seniors who live in the City of Watertown are encouraged to apply by Friday, June 5, to be one of the first recipients of the newly created North Side Legacy Fund Scholarship.
In 2019, the North Side Legacy Fund was established 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.
“These awards have special significance this year, as they are the beginning of a program that will forever benefit students as they pursue their educational pursuits,” said Rande Richardson, Community Foundation executive director. “This fund helps build upon the many ways the League has invested in the people of the City. It is an honor for us to be the permanent home of this important heritage.”
Scholarship applicants must be residents of the City of Watertown who plan to enroll for the first time this fall as full-time undergraduate freshman students. Students who plan to attend post-secondary technical, trade or vocational school are also eligible to apply. Recipients of this one-year award are selected based on combined test scores, cumulative high school GPA, rank in class, personal data, essay scores, and applicant appraisals.
Application packets are available online at www.nnycf.org/scholarships/applications, and must be received or postmarked by Friday, June 5, 2020, at the Northern New York Community Foundation, 131 Washington St., Watertown NY 13601.
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. In addition to scholarships, an advisory committee will consider awarding grants periodically as another way to continue the League’s heritage. 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.
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, was determined that similar projects would not realize the same fate, so he helped to 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. As recent as 2009, the vice president came to the league to campaign for a Congressional candidate. 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 and awarded college scholarships.
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.