WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) – The LEAD Council of the Northern New York Community Foundation is working to help bring joy to families and children 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. To begin, the Council’s LEAD Holiday Giving Fund at the Community Foundation will provide a $5,000 matching challenge. Each gift to the fund will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $5,000.

Total gifts contributed to the LEAD Holiday Giving Fund will be evenly distributed to the following community initiatives and nonprofit partner organizations:

  • Christmas Crusade for Kids — Led by Tunes 92.5/104.5 FM Intrepid Broadcasting, Watertown, this initiative provides holiday gifts to children and families across Northern New York. More than 1,200 families received support last year. The effort 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 — This program of the Lowville Food Pantry distributes gifts, toys, food boxes, and more to children, families, and seniors in need across Lewis County.
  • Potsdam Holiday Fund — This nonprofit provides annual support to St. Lawrence County individuals and families in need with gifts, food baskets, and winter clothing. Funding from this matching challenge will strengthen the organization’s voucher program this year.

Year after year, Christmas Crusade for Kids, Christmas Sharing and the Potsdam Holiday Fund work tirelessly to ensure our youngest, most vulnerable community members have a memorable holiday season.

Anna Platz, Council Chairperson

LEAD members will also collect new toys, which will be donated to help brighten the holidays for local children in need. The Council’s challenge starts today and runs through Friday, December 1. Last year, the Council awarded $6,000 to support local holiday initiatives and distributed hundreds more in material gifts.

To support LEAD’s effort, make gifts to: Northern New York Community Foundation, 131 Washington Street, Watertown, New York 13601, or online at nnycf.org. Please designate your thoughtful gift to the LEAD Holiday Giving Fund.