WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) – The LEAD Council of the North New York Community Foundation is working to help bring joy to vulnerable children and families in need this holiday season.

The advisory committee of young professionals is kicking off its annual LEAD Holiday Giving initiative to support the tri-county region, beginning with a $5,000 matching challenge provided by the Council’s LEAD Holiday Giving Fund. As part of the challenge, each gift to the Holiday Giving Fund will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $5,000.

Total gifts contributed to the LEAD Holiday Giving Fund will be evenly distributed amongst Christmas Crusade for Kids, Christmas Sharing Holiday Assistance and the Potsdam Holiday Fund.

Christmas Crusade for Kids is led by Tunes 92.5/104.5 FM Intrepid Broadcasting in Watertown and provides holiday gifts to children and families across Northern New York. More than 1,200 families received support last year through the holiday initiative. The crusade is a collaboration with the Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County, Watertown Urban Mission, the Salvation Army Watertown Corps, Catholic Charities and Toys for Tots.

Christmas Sharing Holiday Assistance is a program of the Lowville Food Pantry and distributes gifts, toys, food boxes and more to children, families and seniors in need across Lewis County.

Potsdam Holiday Fund is a nonprofit that provides annual support to individuals and families in need in St. Lawrence County with gifts, food baskets and winter clothing. Funding from this year’s matching challenge will strengthen the organization’s voucher program.

LEAD members will also collect new toys to be donated local children in need. The Council’s challenge will run through December 2. The Council raised $6,000 last year to support local holiday initiatives and distributed hundreds more in material donations.

The LEAD Council is comprised of 18 young professionals who live and work in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties. The Council is empowered to develop creative initiatives that directly benefit the community and to award strategic grants to tri-county nonprofit organizations whose work enhances the quality of life in the region.

“Our LEAD members get excited about this holiday challenge every year. It’s a great way for the group to dive headfirst into the holiday season in a way that supports the mission of both LEAD and the Community Foundation,” LEAD Council Chair Andrew Boulter said. “The challenge has been a staple for LEAD the past couple of years and has done so much good that we hope to continue it for many years to come.”

To support LEAD’s effort gifts can be made online to the LEAD Holiday Giving Fund or by mail to:

Northern New York Community Foundation
131 Washington Street
Watertown, New York 13601

Gifts should be designated to the LEAD Holiday Giving Fund.