Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge Awards $10,000 in Grants

Local News
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WATERTOWN — The Northern New York Community Foundation, in partnership with Community Bank, announces $10,000 in Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge grants to 20 North Country nonprofits across the region.

Now in its second year, the Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge has grown to include schools in St. Lawrence County. This year’s program committee received and reviewed 87 applications from seventh- and eighth-graders.

Schools participating in the 2018 challenge include: Lewis County — Beaver River Central School; Lowville Academy and Central School; Jefferson County — Case Middle School-Watertown City Schools; General Brown Central School; Indian River Central School; Sackets Harbor Central School; Thousand Islands Central School; St. Lawrence County — Clifton-Fine Central School; Hammond Central School; and Ogdensburg Free Academy.

The initiative was launched in 2017 to engage middle school students in exploring the meaning of community and empower them to recommend grants to support their concepts of strengthening 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.

Consistent themes of “community” that appeared most often in the applications were: “people working together,” “taking care of each other,” “shared values,” “feel safe,” “supportive,” and “able to be yourself.”

Charitable organizations students selected for funding range from those that provide support for basic human needs to those that enrich the region with arts and culture, environmental preservation, health care and the preservation of regional history.

“Initiatives such as this help fulfill our shared responsibility of honoring community legacies by helping to inspire a multigenerational approach to civic engagement and investment,” said Rande S. Richardson, Community Foundation executive director. “The program also successfully involves our younger youths in community philanthropy and paves the way for future stewardship of or region’s strength.”

A $2,500 gift from Community Bank helped to continue the program for a second year while the Community Foundation provided $7,500 for a total of $10,000 available grant money.

A committee judged and scored the applications with results as follows:

Jefferson County:

  •  $500, American Cancer Society, Watertown, Ryan Podvin, Case Middle School, Watertown City Schools
  •  $500, Food 4 Families — Food Bank of Central New York for Watertown City Schools, Charlie Johnson, Case Middle School, Watertown City Schools
  •  $500, Jefferson County SPCA, Watertown, Zachary Kilburn, Case Middle School, Watertown City Schools
  •  $500, Mental Health Association of Jefferson County, Watertown, Trinity Thomas, Case Middle School, Watertown City Schools
  •  $500, North Country Arts Council, Watertown, Kaidance LaFave, Case Middle School, Watertown City Schools
  •  $500, Stage Notes / Performance With A Purpose, Watertown, Maya Voss, Case Middle School, Watertown City Schools
  •  $500, Watertown Lyric Theater, Watertown, Olivia Urf, Case Middle School, Watertown City Schools
  •  $500, Indian River Lakes Conservancy, Redwood, Peyton Gasser, Indian River Central School
  •  $500, Victims Assistance Center of Jefferson County, Watertown, Lakaiya Butcher, Indian River Central School
  •  $500, River Hospital, Alexandria Bay, Leo Greene, Thousand Islands Central School
  •  $500, Save the River, Clayton, Franchesca Cartaya, Thousand Islands Central School
  •  $500, Thousand Islands Performing Arts Fund, Clayton, Alexandra Ives, Thousand Islands Central School
  •  $500, Watertown Urban Mission, Watertown, Rebecca Leonard, Thousand Islands Central School

Lewis County:

  •  $500, American Maple Museum, Croghan, Kennedy Becker, Beaver River Central School

  •  $500, Friends of Lewis County Hospice, Lowville, Loryn Schack, Beaver River Central School

  •  $500, Lewis County Humane Society, Lowville, Katelyn Adams, Beaver River Central School

  •  $500, Lewis County Opportunities — Croghan Food Pantry, Croghan, Valery Zehr, Beaver River Central School

  • $500, Make-A-Wish Foundation Central New York, Syracuse, Colin Kempney, Lowville Academy and Central School

St. Lawrence County: 

  •  $500, Salvation Army of Ogdensburg, Ogdensburg, Trevor Mooney, Ogdensburg Free Academy
  • $500, St. Lawrence Valley SPCA, Ogdensburg, Audrey Harradine, Ogdensburg Free Academy

In the coming weeks, the Community Foundation and Community Bank will work with winning students to coordinate visits to their respective charitable organizations 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 strategic partnerships with businesses and organizations, charitable foundations, and generous individual donors, the Community Foundation awards grants and scholarships from an endowment and collection of funds that benefit the community. Its commitment to donors helps individuals achieve their charitable objectives now and for generations to come by preserving 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.

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