Number of Funding Requests from Tri-County Nonprofits Grows
WATERTOWN — The Youth Philanthropy Council of the Northern New York Community Foundation recently awarded $17,200 in grants to six North Country nonprofit organizations that will support a wide range of community programs and projects.
Each year, the Council reviews requests from tri-county nonprofits to fund projects or initiatives that positively impact the quality of life in Jefferson, Lewis, or St. Lawrence counties. In addition to researching and recommending grants, Council members visit several nonprofit organizations, learn about grantee stewardship, community investment and leadership, and nonprofit sustainability.
The Council received 23 funding proposals during the 2020-2021 program year with eight agencies invited to present requests to the full Council. Members delivered grant recommendations to the Community Foundation Board of Directors during its June quarterly meeting. The Board unanimously approved the full slate of grant recommendations.
“We continue to see this as one of the most meaningful investments our donors make in the people and places of the region,” said Rande Richardson, Community Foundation executive director. “The grants themselves are impactful, but the work done by the Council throughout the year develops leadership skills that last a lifetime.”
Council Co-Chair Blake Edgar, a second-year member and 2021 South Jefferson High School graduate, said the grant selection process was a great learning and growth experience for this year’s group.
“The Youth Philanthropy Council is so proud to award these organizations grant funding. It was a long and challenging process but through thoughtful discussion and analysis, the Council selected six nonprofits that benefit our community in their own unique ways,” Miss Edgar said. “As a Council, we have grown in immeasurable ways. We have not only learned to be aware of the need in our community but have also learned about the goodness of those in the North Country who look to serve the needs of others. It was truly an honor and privilege to serve on the Youth Philanthropy Council and support these nonprofits that continue to have an amazing impact on our community every day.”
The following Youth Philanthropy Council grants were approved:
- Save The River — $5,000 to help execute a “Trash River Cleanup” initiative to remove and dispose of trash near the St. Lawrence River and along the mainland and U.S. islands. Up to 250 volunteers are expected to deploy in support of the cleanup effort. This matching grant will allow for associated materials and expanded reach along the St. Lawrence River.
- North Star Food Hub — $3,500 to support cooking and nutrition classes in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension. The grant award will help provide fresh local produce for up to 325 individuals for 20 weeks after they participate in educational workshops.
- Orchestra of Northern New York — $3,458 to partner with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute to make its Link Up program available for free to students in grades 3 through 5 at all tri-county schools. The year-long project will conclude with a concert in which students will sing and play with the orchestra. Grant support will help compensate professional musicians. This grant award was supplemented with an additional award of $1,542 from the Herring College Fund of the Community Foundation for a total project grant of $5,000.
- Adams Free Library — $2,000 to help purchase materials to strengthen library programs while developing new initiatives to expand services for youth and teen residents and transform the library into a bigger focal point for the community, facilitating educational and STEM activities in a fun and friendly atmosphere.
- North Country Children’s Museum — $1,800 to help develop a new flight lab interactive exhibit that will allow children to design and test their flying creations using wind power while exploring concepts in engineering, creativity, innovation, collaboration, and critical thinking. Grant funding will help purchase exhibit materials.
- Cape Vincent Community Food Pantry — $1,442 to aid in the purchase of critical food and related supplies, including pet food, for those who need essential support. The grant will help buy pet food and six grocery carts to accommodate larger families.
Council Grants Committee Chair Maxwell Gray, a second-year member and 2021 South Jefferson High School graduate, noted how the Council’s work through the past year extends well “beyond benefiting these wonderful organizations.”
“This year’s Youth Philanthropy Council is one of the most involved, dedicated, and diverse groups of teenagers I have ever collaborated with. The Youth Philanthropy Council allows all students, advisors, and community members touched by this organization to evolve to a greater being,” Mr. Gray said. “These six organizations’ projects, totaling $17,200, are particularly interesting and impressive agencies in the community that directly impact the diverse community needs of our tri-county area.”
The Youth Philanthropy Council was chartered in 2010 to promote positive youth development and engage young people in meaningful activities that build their skills while educating them about community philanthropy and its impact on Northern New York. Council members grow to become problem solvers as they engage in lessons that may never be taught in a classroom.
The Council’s grant program is made possible through generous support from Watertown Savings Bank, Renzi Foodservice Charitable Foundation, RBC Wealth Management, and gifts made to the Friends of the Foundation Annual Community Betterment Fund.
Since its inception, the Community Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Council has awarded 112 grants totaling $180,070 in support to nonprofit organizations that serve tri-county residents, and nearly 130 students from six different North Country high schools have served as Council members.
This year’s Council began with 15 representatives from Watertown High School, Immaculate Heart Central High School, and South Jefferson High School. Each council member is in his or her junior or senior class. Representatives from each school district are: Immaculate Heart Central School: Tadd Ledoux, senior. South Jefferson Central School: Katherine Banazek, junior; Hailyn Buker, junior and Council communications chair; Blake Edgar, senior and Council Co-Chair; Maxwell Gray, senior and Grants Committee Chair; Logan Hess, senior; Romi LaClair, junior; and Sidney Wheeler III, junior. Watertown High School: Ella Arnott, junior; Lucas Barney, senior; Anmolika Bolla, junior; Isabelle Boyce, senior and Council Co-Chair; Eloise Johnson, senior; Philip Marra III, senior and Council Vice Chair; and Dakota Sloat, senior.
The Council reconvenes at the start of the new school year in September with members from Immaculate Heart Central, General Brown, South Jefferson, and Watertown high schools. It will accept 2022 funding proposals in the fall. Information about how to apply will be announced at that time.
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.