PLATTSBURGH - Money may not grow on trees, but donations can get your name on one.
The Advocacy and Resource Center of Clinton County recently unveiled its latest fundraising campaign known as "The Giving Tree." The tree is a hand-carved creation by KC VanRijn-Reiter of Morrisonville, which features leaves of different alloys for various levels of individual charitable giving. The money to sponsor a leaf goes toward the organization's services for the developmentally-disabled.
"We were thinking about ways to recognize donors and how would we begin working on a planned giving program for the ARC Foundation," explained ARC executive director Theresa M. Garrow.
"The tree was Brenda's idea," Garrow continued, referring to ARC public relations director Brenda Garner. "It was similar to something she had done in Massachusetts when doing some public relations and fundraising for another nonprofit there."
The two-dimensional tree consists of a trunk made from local cedar and 600 leaves made of copper, silver and gold for giving levels of $300, $500 and $1,000, respectively. Once it was created, it was just a matter of where it would be displayed where "a large number of community residents would be able to see it."
"Our administration building has frequent visitors but it's not like the number of people who attend events at the Westside Ballroom," said Garrow, who said the latter was the location the committee thought would be "the best venue."
The Giving Tree is also located on a wall in the ballroom across from the foundation's wall recognizing a list of corporate donors with contributions of $5,000 and more. That wall has received several thousand dollars in donations to date.
"We've had a lot of very generous individuals giving of their time and their money to the ARC Foundation over many, many years," said Garrow. "We are very, very lucky indeed."
The Giving Tree will go even further for those wanting to give more than the amount available to sponsor leaves.
"We plan on doing rocks underneath," added Garrow. "That would be for giving levels of $5,000 for a small rock, $10,000 for a medium and $20,000 for a large rock.
Those who participate in the ARC foundation's annual campaign will also be able to count their dollars toward sponsorship on the tree.
"So, another way you can obtain a leaf on the tree would be to have your annual contribution be counted cumulatively," said Garrow. "We will do that, and as your donations increase, you can start with a copper leaf and end up with a large rock over time."
Those interested in donating toward The Giving Tree may call 563-0930 or visit the ARC offices at 231 New York Road. Donations toward the fundraising campaign may also be sent by mail to P.O. Box 1512, Plattsburgh N.Y. 12901.