Now in Third Year, Initiative Sees More Than 100 Entries From North Country Middle School Students
WATERTOWN — The Northern New York Community Foundation announces $10,000 in Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge grants to 20 nonprofit organizations that serve Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.
Now in its third year, the Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge includes schools in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. This year’s program committee received and reviewed 104 entries from seventh- and eighth-graders who recommended grants to 66 different organizations that serve residents in the three counties.
Schools participating in the 2019-2020 challenge include: Jefferson County — Belleville-Henderson Central School; Case Middle School-Watertown City Schools; General Brown Central School; Immaculate Heart Central School; and Thousand Islands Central School; Lewis County — Beaver River Central School; Lowville Academy and Central School; and South Lewis Central School; St. Lawrence County — Edwards-Knox Central School and Morristown Central School.
The initiative was launched in 2017 to introduce middle school students to concepts of philanthropy and community needs. The challenge seeks to engage seventh- and eighth-graders as they explore the meaning of community and are empowered to recommend grants to support their concepts that strengthen the quality of life in the region. Students write an essay that articulates their definition of community and explains what makes it a great place to live, work and play. Students are then asked to name a charitable organization that makes their community a better place through its service to local residents.
“For many students, this is a gateway into civic engagement and responsibility. For others, it moves them into a deeper relationship with their community,” said Rande Richardson, Community Foundation executive director. “These types of investments in our future leaders, board members, volunteers and donors help position our region with a continuum of stewardship and care.”
Consistent themes of “community” that most often appeared in essays were: “working together to support each other,” “shared values,” “safe and supportive people,” “welcoming,” and “caring for each other.”
Charitable organizations students selected for funding range from those that provide support for essential human needs and animal welfare to those that enrich our communities through arts and culture, environmental preservation, health, wellness and recreation, and the preservation of regional history.
Gifts to the Friends of the Foundation Annual Community Betterment Fund, a $2,500 grant from Community Bank, along with a $1,000 gift from an anonymous private donor, support the program. A committee that included Community Foundation staff and a retired junior high school teacher judged and scored the applications with results as follows:
- $500, Cape Vincent Community Food Pantry, Branden Jackson, Thousand Islands Middle School
- $500, Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County, Watertown, Jayveon Richey, Case Middle School, Watertown City Schools
- $500, Henderson Harbor Water Sports Program, Henderson Harbor, Ella Poulin, Belleville-Henderson Central School
- $500, Knights of Columbus Council 259, Watertown, Gianna Richards, Immaculate Heart Central School
- $500, North Country Chapter of the American Red Cross, Watertown, Noah Fulton, Thousand Islands Middle School
- $500, OBI Land Trust, Chaumont, George Weir, Case Middle School, Watertown City Schools
- $500, Salvation Army of Watertown, Leah Ingerson, Thousand Islands Middle School
- $500, SPCA of Jefferson County, Watertown, Madalyn Paquette, General Brown Junior-Senior High School
- $500, Thousand Islands Area Habitat for Humanity, Watertown, Ava Diabo, Thousand Islands Middle School
- $500, Watertown Family YMCA, Ella Smith, Case Middle School, Watertown City Schools
- $500, Friends of Lewis County Hospice, Lowville, Sarah Herzig, Beaver River Central School
- $500, Lewis County Humane Society, Glenfield, Alyvia Millard, Lowville Academy and Central School
- $500, Lewis County Search and Rescue, Lowville, Mariah LaFountain, South Lewis Central School
- $500, Lowville Food Pantry, Denali Dietrich, Lowville Academy and Central School
- $500, Make-A-Wish Foundation Central New York, Syracuse, Carli Freeman, Lowville Academy and Central School
St. Lawrence County
- $500, Gateway Museum of Morristown, Brody Cosler, Morristown Central School
- $500, Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley, Potsdam, Kadein Kelley, Edwards-Knox Central School
- $500, Morristown Volunteer Fire Department, Raelee Downs, Morristown Central School
- $500, Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club, Walker Belile, Morristown Central School
- $500, St. Lawrence Valley SPCA, Ogdensburg, Sydney Thompson, Thousand Islands Middle School
In the coming weeks, the Community Foundation and schools will work with winning students to coordinate visits to their respective charitable agencies to present grants and learn more about the organization they chose to support.
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.