MINERVA The Community Fund for the Gore Mountain Region held its first annual awards ceremony at Minerva Beach this past Thursday, marking a significant achievement in community funding and philanthropy for the Gore Mountain area. The CFGMR, an affiliate of the ACT (the Adirondack Community Trust), is a permanent endowment fund that strives to make a positive impact in our area by helping support local organizations in Chester, Horicon, Johnsburg, and Minerva through charitable grants.
The fund began in 2005, thanks to Mike Ellis, a second-home resident of North Creek, who was invited to attend a second home philanthropy seminar in Blue Mountain Lake. After hearing about what the Adirondack Community Trust was doing to help in the Adirondack area from the trusts executive director Cali Brooks, Ellis was prompted to ask what it would take to start a fund in the Gore Mountain region. Following some discussion, Ellis decided to provide the seed money from which the fund could grow. Initiating the CFGMR was a natural move for Ellis, who grew up learning about the importance of philanthropy from his family.
My parents were always very philanthropic, Ellis said. They instilled in me a desire to give back and help in areas where there is need. Knowing that there is great need for philanthropy in the Adirondacks, I wanted to be a part of that. Id like to see the CFGMR be a very significant endowment and grow very substantially by many multiples in years to come.
Brooks and the ACT worked with Ellis to see the CFGMR to fruition.
ACT was contacted by hundreds of non-profit organizations looking for grants and we didnt have any unrestricted funds. In light of this, three pilot funds were launched; one for Malone, one for Essex, and most recently the CFGMR, said Brooks. We hope to continue to attract connected advisory council members who want to strengthen the region by building this fund. I want to see this be a million dollar fund. Imagine that infusion back into this community every year.
With the foundation for the fund laid down, several local residents who would form the CFGMR advisory council gathered together with Ellis to foster the ongoing construction of the fund, including Nancy Beaudin, Nan Clarkson, Linda Combs, Joe Kelly, Tom Magee, Helen Miner, Mary Moro, David Moynehan and Elise Widlund.
With substantial contributions from many generous donors, the fund has currently raised $100,000.00 and aims at raising an additional $150,000.000 over the next three years.
The events commenced on an enthusiastic note as attendees mingled and enjoyed a generous spread of appetizers while serenaded by a little live music from Adirondack folk singer Dan Berggen, who also contributed by donating $5.00 to the fund from each CD sold at the event. To begin the awards ceremony, Mike Ellis read the CFGMRs mission statement and gave a brief summary of the achievements and goals of the fund.
Every penny given goes right into an endowment, he announced, We aim to be a powerful force in the community.
Ellis then introduced Cali Brooks who spoke about the role of the ACT, which has just celebrated its 10th anniversary and has allowed 170 individuals to establish funds therefore making possible the distribution of $6 million into local communities. She offered praise and a hopeful outlook for the CFGMR.
We are going to ensure strong communities with the help of people like you. she said.
Brooks welcomed CFGMR council members Tom Magee, Nancy Beaudin, Mary Moro and Joe Kelly to the podium to hand out awards.
The first grant recipient of the evening was Brother James Posluszny on behalf of the North Country Ministry. The organization was awarded $1000.00 to renovate a hotel that has been turned into affordable efficiency apartments at the North Country Outreach Center in North Creek.
Secondly, a $500.00 grant was awarded to Patti Sullivan of the Minerva Central School Art Department. This grant will be used to enrich a permanent collection of fine art that is being used as a teaching tool for students and the community.
Next in line, Susan Schmidt of the Town of Johnsburg Library received a grant of $500.00 that will help increase the librarys collection of large-type books.
The Chester Historical Societys Bill ODwyer was awarded a grant of $500.00 to aid in the preservation of an art gallery located in the old Chester town hall that displays the work of Japanese photographer Sumi.
Brenda Foley and Colleen ODoyle, Adirondack Touring Theater collaborates of Our Town Theater in North Creek received a grant of $500.00 that has made it possible to offer free teaching classes in theater to local students grades 3-6 and 7-12.
A grant of $500.00 awarded to Pat Mousaw of the Priory Retreat in Chestertown also fully funded a communications skills workshop for adults.
Andrea McKee received a $1000.00 grant on behalf of the North Country Outreach Center in North Creek, $500.00 of which will go towards the family clothing center and $500.00 of which will aid in continuing a GED program offered by the center.
The last grant was also received by Andrea McKee in the amount of $500.00 to help expand the Outreach Centers food pantry program. In addition, an extra grant of $500 funded specifically by CFGMR committee member was awarded to the North Creek Depot.
After the ceremony, satisfied grant recipients and committee members chatted about the present success and long term outlook of the CFGMR. Although small grants have been awarded to worthy organizations both in 2006 and 2007, requests were made from 19 different organizations for a total of $22,000.00 and only 25% of these requests were able to b fulfilled. But the fund is only in its starting stages and is thought to have the potential to grow to the point where it will be able to accommodate a much higher percentage of these requests. CFGMR committee members have high hopes for the future.
There is such a need in this area, and this is just a start, said member Joe Kelly, Were aiming to try to encourage second home owners to find this as their charity. We are the perfect vehicle for second home owners to become part of the community they are living in.
The one thing that is universally needed are sources for funding, but sometimes for a lack of a very small amount of money its not possible, commented Mary Moro, The hope is that eventually the fund will grow, but we will never forget the smaller organizations.
Award recipients were encouraged by the growing ability of the CFGMR to assist community organizations.
The CFGMR is a really big help to the library said Susan Schmidt. Its just a great resource to have and it betters the community spirit.
Ive always found it to be amazing that there are so many non-profit organizations in town. There is a lot of need, but also a lot of good people who want to help, said Andrea McKee. I find it fascinating that through the ACT these people are enabling a whole different level of support for a grass roots effort that is already there.
Non-profit organizations that wish to be considered for funding can apply annually for grants, and anyone who wishes to contribute, whether a small or large gift, can do so discreetly and in a variety of ways. Those interested in the CFGMR and the ACT can visit www.generousACT.org. As it strives to become a leading source of endowment funds for local non-profit organizations, the forecast for the CFGMR is sunny, and the future of those institutions that will benefit from the fund is getting brighter.