LEAD Council kicks off holiday philanthropy challenge


WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — ‘Tis the season for giving.

The LEAD Council of the Northern New York Community Foundation is launching its year-end LEAD Philanthropy Challenge to help bring warmth to vulnerable children and families throughout Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties his holiday season. The advisory committee is comprised of 24 young professionals who live and work in the tri-county region.

The LEAD Council is restarting its holiday giving fund for the 2021 holiday season. Each gift to the fund at the Community Foundation will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $5,000. Members of the LEAD Council will also collect new toys, which will be donated to local children in need. In 2020, the council raised over $6,000 to support local holiday initiatives.

“This challenge is something our members look forward to every year,” LEAD Council Chair Erin Simser said in a press release. “As we get closer to the holiday season, it brings great joy to our members to see the community come together to support those in need.”

Gifts contributed to the fund will be evenly distributed to three community initiatives and nonprofit partner organizations.

Christmas Crusades for Kids, an initiative that provides gifts to children and families across Northern New York, will be a recipient this year. Christmas Sharing Holiday Assistance, a program by the Lowville Food Pantry that distributes gifts, toys, food boxes and more to children, families, and seniors in need across Lewis County, will also receive gifts from the fund. The Potsdam Holiday Fund, a nonprofit that donates gifts, food baskets and winter clothing to individuals and families in need in St. Lawrence County, is another recipient this year.

The LEAD Holiday Giving fund begins on November 1 and will run through December 1, 2021. Donations can be mailed to the Northern New York Community Foundation in Watertown and can also be made online via the foundation’s website. Gifts should be designated as LEAD Holiday Fund gifts.

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