Nearly $120,000 in Grant Funding Awarded in Second Competitive Round to Strengthen Quality of Life
WATERTOWN — The Rock Charitable Fund of the Northern New York Community Foundation recently awarded nearly $120,000 to 10 nonprofit organizations in St. Lawrence County to preserve local history and maintain churches and cemeteries in the region.
The legacy fund was established at the Community Foundation in 2019 through a bequest from St. Lawrence County resident and retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Marjorie J. Rock, who passed away in February 2017 at age 96. Thanks to her foresight and thoughtful generosity, Ms. Rock’s desire to support St. Lawrence County will be perpetuated for generations to come.
“The power of this incredible gift to the region will be in perpetuity, and there will always be needs that it can assist with,” said Rande Richardson, executive director of the Northern New York Community Foundation. “We look forward to seeing these current grants go to work for the betterment of the communities directly affected and encourage potential future grantees to inquire early.”
The following St. Lawrence County organizations will share $118,283 in grant support:
- Bayside Cemetery Association, Potsdam, received a $32,900 grant to stabilize and restore the cemetery’s iconic entrance gates and towers, which were constructed with local Potsdam Sandstone in 1910.
- St. Peter’s Parish, Massena, which also included Sacred Heart Parish, was awarded $25,000 to complete major structural repairs to a pair of buttresses as well as a portion of cobblestone exterior at Sacred Heart Church.
- The St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum, Madrid, received a $20,000 grant to support the historic restoration of the former Nevin Memorial Church, an 1855 structure that stood in Lisbon until it was moved to the museum campus early last year. When complete, the church will mirror its original 19th century look.
- Grace Episcopal Church, Canton, was awarded $19,150 to support HVAC upgrades in the peak of the sanctuary and nave to improve airflow and prevent moisture buildup that has damaged some historic architectural features. Funding will also support electrical panel and system upgrades.
- First Congregational United Church of Christ, Lisbon, received $5,975 to repair the historic structure’s roof, which will help prevent future damage.
- Jerusalem Cemetery, Canton, was awarded $5,630 to remove an old fence and replace it with a more aesthetically pleasing and easier-to-maintain rail fence.
- First Presbyterian Church at Daily Ridge, Norwood, received a $4,950 grant to aid with the purchase of a new propane furnace and holding tank, which will replace a 30-year-old fuel oil furnace.
- Stark Cemetery Association, Colton, received $2,113 to repair and restore a series of gravestones that date to the late 1800s and prevent additional damage.
- Woodland Cemetery Association, Fine, received a $1,500 award to help upgrade a grass roadway that traverses through the property. Funding will support the purchase of four truckloads of white stone, which will improve the roadway and property.
- Pierrepont Hill Cemetery Association, Canton, received $1,065 in support to purchase and install replacement signage along the roadside of the cemetery.
“This legacy fund continues to extend Marjorie’s charitable desires in St. Lawrence County. Because of its unique focus areas, we are seeing sustained and increased interest and demand for support for meaningful projects not often eligible for other funding,” Mr. Richardson said.
The Community Foundation administers this permanent charitable legacy fund in collaboration with a seven-member St. Lawrence County-based board of advisors that reviews applications and makes funding recommendations. Advisors include Ruth McWilliams, South Colton; Erik Backus, Potsdam; Fred Hanss, Hannawa Falls; Sarah Maneely, Canton; Chris Rediehs, Canton; Mark Thompson, Watertown; and
Keith Zimmerman, Canton.
Applications for 2022 grant funding from the Rock Charitable Fund will be accepted this fall with up to $100,000 available. Grant support is available to qualified organizations whose missions and efforts align with the fund’s charitable purposes, which are: 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 for their medical and/or recreational needs. Grants in support of veterans will only be awarded to qualified organizations and cannot be made directly to individuals.
Contact Kraig Everard, Community Foundation director of stewardship and programs, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 315-782-7110, to learn more about this opportunity. Applications for 2022 grant funding will be made available this fall in the Community Foundation’s online grant portal at nnycf.org/grants.
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.