Donor Partnerships Create Permanent Resource to Supplement Annual Fundraising Efforts
WATERTOWN — The Northern New York Community Foundation is pleased to announce a partnership with the family of T. Urling and Mabel Walker and local developer Jake Johnson to create a permanent resource that will help support the annual Concert in the Park event. The fund will provide a gift toward annual fundraising efforts led by the Watertown Noon Rotary Club.
Mr. Johnson, of Jake Johnson Properties, Watertown, the Walker Family Community Fund of the Community Foundation and the Community Foundation itself provided leadership gifts to establish a Concert in the Park endowment fund at the Community Foundation. Watertown Savings Bank and the Mart Liinve Family Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation have provided additional support to build the fund. Together, the donors have provided an initial $85,000 toward the $100,000 goal.
“This event has been such an important community tradition, led for many years by the Walkers. It seemed an especially fitting way to honor them by putting in place something that will help perpetuate it,” said Rande Richardson, Community Foundation executive director. “Just like most endowments, this is a complement to the current fundraising, not a replacement. While initially, it will provide a modest amount of yearly funding, it has the potential to grow and become an increasingly important part of supplementing the annual fundraising. We hope others will consider joining the effort.”
Gifts to help build the Concert in the Park Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation may be made securely online at bit.ly/Concert-In-The-Park, or by mail to: Northern New York Community Foundation, 131 Washington St., Watertown, NY 13601.
“Together, we are working to create long-lasting assurance that the celebration of Independence Day at Watertown’s Thompson Park will continue,” Mr. Johnson said. “The concert draws several thousand visitors to the park and it’s important we ensure it continues. This effort is also a special way to honor Tom and Mabel Walker, who were longtime supporters of the Concert in the Park.”
The annual Concert in the Park performance has been a summer staple in Thompson Park and the Watertown area for many years. It is an inclusive event, inviting citizens of all ages to enjoy exceptional orchestra music at no cost. For many years, the Community Foundation has supported this community event with funding and resources, including a $5,000 grant for the 2023 event.
In recent years, the Orchestra of Northern New York (ONNY) has been featured as the main act at the annual park concert. Thursday’s performance served as an appreciation concert to active-duty military and veterans.
The Watertown Noon Rotary Club leads fundraising efforts to raise support for ONNY’s appearance and the concert. The average cost for the event is more than $30,000. Once fully funded, the endowment will provide approximately $5,000 annually. For several years, a Concert in the Park Fund stewarded by the Community Foundation has helped receive annual charitable contributions for the event.
Mr. Walker and his wife were longtime advocates and financial supporters of the Concert in the Park. Many times, the Walker family partnered with the Community Foundation to help raise charitable support for the event.
Following Mr. Walker’s passing in January, Mr. Johnson expressed a desire to help inspire gifts from the community for a Concert in the Park Endowment Fund. This funding collaboration will help ensure that a community tradition and performance open to everyone endures. It also creates another local legacy option for donors who believe in the event and wish to solidify its permanence in the region.
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.