Rock Charitable Fund established, Community Foundation legacy will forever support St. Lawrence County

Local News

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) – The Rock Charitable Fund, a component fund of the Northern New York Community Foundation, has been established through a bequest from St. Lawrence County resident and retired Lieutenant Colonel of the United States Army Marjorie J. Rock, who passed away in February 2017 at the age of 96.

The fund’s charitable purpose has three focus areas: for the maintenance and preservation of churches and cemeteries in St. Lawrence County; for the preservation and maintenance of places of legitimate historical significance in the county; and to benefit and/or assist veterans of the United States military who reside in St. Lawrence County.

“We are extremely honored to be part of the special way Marjorie’s passions and interests will benefit in perpetuity. Her incredible thoughtful generosity will have an enduring impact on the places and people of St. Lawrence County, not just one year, but forever,” said Rande Richardson, Community Foundation executive director. “This is a transformative gift for the region.”

The Community Foundation, in collaboration with a board of advisors, will administer this permanent charitable legacy fund. Grant funding will be awarded annually to qualified nonprofit organizations whose missions and efforts align with the fund’s objectives. This year, up to $100,000 in grant funding will be made available.

The Rock Charitable Fund board of advisors recently recommended its first grant award of $100,000 to the Heuvelton Historical Association to support Pickens Hall restoration, in particular, the ongoing preservation of the third floor opera house. Built in 1856, Pickens Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Eligible nonprofit organizations are encouraged to apply for grant funding later this year through the Rock Charitable Fund of the Northern New York Community Foundation. More information about the application process will be released in coming months, with grants anticipated to be awarded by the end of 2020.

About Marjorie J. Rock

Ms. Rock grew up in St. Lawrence County and graduated from Heuvelton High School in 1937. In 1941, she graduated from the three-year nursing program at Flower Fifth Avenue School in New York City. The following year, she joined the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, serving in North Africa and Italy during World War II. After the war, she attended Teachers College at Columbia University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1948 and a Master of Arts in 1950.

She spent six years teaching in nursing programs, first as an instructor for Hartford Hospital in Connecticut and later at New York City’s Lennox Hill Hospital. She returned to active Army service in 1954 to assist with medical courses for enlisted personnel and helped to establish a medical education system, particularly in the United States, Japan and Germany. She served as a supervisor, chief nurse, instructor and director of an advance medical technician school. Her last overseas duty was in Vietnam.

In 1970, she retired from the U.S. Army as a Lieutenant Colonel and returned to St. Lawrence County, joining her mother in Ogdensburg to help with her care. She earned many honors during her Army service, including the Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal. Her only sibling, a brother, was killed in 1944 while piloting a P-47 Thunderbolt plane over Normandy. For the rest of her life, Ms. Rock made St. Lawrence County her home while traveling with friends, caring for others, and assisting her church and other organizations, including the Army Nurse Corps Association and other veterans’ groups. She maintained a keen interest in documenting local history and furthering the education of others in the county.

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.

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