WATERTOWN — The Youth Philanthropy Council of the Northern New York Community Foundation recently awarded $20,600 in grants to 10 North Country nonprofit organizations to support a wide range of community programs and projects.
Each year, the Council reviews requests from tri-county agencies to fund projects or initiatives that positively impact the quality of life in Jefferson, Lewis or St. Lawrence counties. In addition to researching and recommending grants, Council members also discuss a variety of topics, including nonprofit sustainability, grantee stewardship, community investment and leadership.
The Council received 30 requests for funding — its largest number to date — during the 2018-2019 program year. Eleven agencies presented their requests to the Council. Youth Council members delivered grant recommendations to the Community Foundation Board of Directors during its recent quarterly meeting. The Board unanimously approved the full slate of grant recommendations.
The following Youth Philanthropy Council grants were approved:
Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired of Northern New York — $3,000: This funding will help to launch a “World of Work” program for legally blind students between the ages of 8 and 13. Students with special vision needs may be excluded from other school or community-based programs. “World of Work” program staff will work directly with students to build meaningful career skills.
Children’s Home of Jefferson County — $3,000: This support will help the agency expand its foster care recruitment and retention program to assist with placement of youth in local foster care. Through marketing and other innovative networking events, the organization hopes to increase placement and retention. Grant funding will support these efforts.
Thousand Islands Area Habitat for Humanity — $3,000: The organization is expanding its work to help families in Jefferson and Lewis counties with smaller-scale home repairs such as painting, safety improvements, window replacement, and more. Habitat staff plan to work with families who can’t afford costs up front but may be able to pay the costs over time. A volunteer workforce will complete repairs. Grant support will serve as seed funding to start the program.
Cape Vincent Food Pantry — $2,800: The food pantry has experienced impressive growth over the past couple years, including a move into a brand-new facility, increased contributions, and new programs. It has also noticed an uptick in need. As the pantry looks to serve vulnerable residents and families in Cape Vincent and the surrounding region, this grant will pay for installation of new shelving, bolster food purchases and hygiene product inventory, and assist with promotion of mission-related community events.
Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust — $2,500: This funding will support the land trust’s “Fostering a Love of the Outdoors” outreach program designed to engage youth and families. The program will introduce participants to the unique ecology of the region and also serve as an extension of its Bird Quest program. The land trust plans to collaborate with local schools and libraries on the initiative.
Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley — $2,000: This grant will help further develop a Hospice program centered on youth bereavement and grief counseling. Hospice staff plans to develop a six-week curriculum for school staff to lead grief groups. The curriculum would provide key information for school staff to facilitate appropriate counseling with students.
WPBS-DT — $1,800: The Watertown-based station, in partnership with the Watertown Daily Times, has launched “More to the Story,” which takes an in-depth look at trending and relevant stories and topics that impacting the North Country. The programming provides information and detail to viewers and consumers to help promote the region. Grant funding will provide general support for the program.
North Country Prenatal Perinatal Council — $1,000: This grant will support a brain and body nutrition project to augment the NCPPC’s Healthy Families initiative in Jefferson County. It will to support about 100 families per year. Funding will help families with young children who live in poverty access local, healthy foods through community-supported, crop shares and children’s books to create in-home libraries and foster brain and body development.
ARC Jefferson-St. Lawrence — $1,000: Funding will help the agency increase its access to consumers at its Dodge Pond Camp during the winter months and improve its ice fishing experiences. This grant will allow the organization to purchase additional ice fishing equipment, such as an eight-person shanty, jet sleds, fishing equipment, and more. Earlier this year, Jefferson Rehabilitation Center and St. Lawrence NYSARC completed a merger to become ARC Jefferson-St. Lawrence. In St. Lawrence County, the organization serves approximately 750 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Salvation Army of Watertown — $500: Funding will help the agency introduce a “Let’s Eat” program targeting youth. Participants will learn how to cook a nutritious meal that they can bring home. The initiative teaches students to be self-sufficient and build life skills. The grant will cover 15 sessions across three youth programs. The organization operates a soup kitchen and food pantry six days a week, provides youth programming two days a week, and offers summer drop-in programs during six weeks each summer.
The Youth Philanthropy Council was chartered in 2010 to promote positive youth development and engage young people in meaningful activities that build their skills while educating them about community philanthropy and its impact on Northern New York. Council members grow to become problem solvers as they engage in lessons that may never be taught in a classroom.
The Council’s grant program is made possible through generous support from Watertown Savings Bank, Renzi Foodservice Charitable Foundation, RBC Wealth Management, and gifts made to the Friends of the Foundation Annual Community Betterment Fund.
Since its inception eight years ago, the Youth Philanthropy Council has awarded more than 90 grants totaling $146,340 in support to nonprofit organizations that serve tri-county residents.
This year’s Youth Philanthropy Council includes 15 representatives from Watertown High School, Immaculate Heart Central School and Sackets Harbor Central School. Each council member is in his or her sophomore, junior, or senior class. Representatives from each school district are:
Immaculate Heart Central School: Katherine DeLaGarza, junior; Caroline McPherson, senior; Marialena Mouaikel, senior; and Lauryn Quinn, senior
Sackets Harbor Central School: Grayden Brunet, senior; Madison Derouin, junior; Sofia Gray, sophomore; Leatrice Kakolewski, sophomore; Hannah Pitcher, senior.
Watertown High School: Lucas Barney, sophomore; Isabelle Boyce, sophomore; Kehinde Fasehun, senior; Madeline Gist, senior; Philip Marra III, sophomore; and Rozanna Pasowicz, senior.
The Council will convene again at the start of the new school year in September with members from Immaculate Heart Central, Sackets Harbor, South Jefferson, and Watertown high schools.
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 in communities across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.
Through partnerships with businesses and organizations, generous individual donors and families, and charitable foundations, 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 enduring legacies of community philanthropy while inspiring others.
The Community Foundation is a resource for donors, local charitable organizations, and professional advisors. 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.