Nearly 200 Middle School Students in Three Counties Enter Fifth Annual Challenge
WATERTOWN — The Northern New York Community Foundation is pleased to announce $10,000 in Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge grants to 20 nonprofit organizations that serve Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.
Now in its fifth year, the Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge is open to all tri-county middle school students. This year’s program committee reviewed 193 entries from seventh and eighth graders who recommended grants to 93 different organizations that serve residents across the three counties.
Schools participating in the 2021-2022 challenge include: Jefferson County — Augustinian Academy, Carthage, Belleville-Henderson Central School, Case Middle School-Watertown City Schools, LaFargeville Central School, Lyme Central School, South Jefferson Central School, and Thousand Islands Middle School; Lewis County — Beaver River Central School and Lowville Academy and Central School; St. Lawrence County — Canton Central School; Edwards-Knox Central School, Massena Central School, and Morristown Central School.
The initiative was launched in 2017 to introduce middle school students to concepts of philanthropy and community needs. The challenge seeks to engage youths as they explore the meaning of community and are empowered to recommend grants to support their concepts that strengthen the quality of life in the region. Students write an essay that articulates their definition of community and explains what makes it a great place to live, work and play. Participants are then asked to name a charitable organization that makes their community a better place through its service to residents.
“Efforts to instill community engagement in our youth not only build upon the past, but provide hope for the future,” said Rande Richardson, Community Foundation executive director. “We are pleased to see participation from students across all three counties, and the grants will have widespread and varied impact, both geographically and the types of organizations receiving support.”
In the past five years, 103 students have been selected to present 99 grants totaling $50,000 to 82 different nonprofit organizations that serve tri-county residents. Since the Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge began, 590 students representing 23 school districts across the region have applied to the program, recommending grants to 210 different charitable organizations.
Charitable organizations students selected for funding range from those that provide support for essential human needs, fire protection, and animal welfare to those that strengthen and enrich our communities through education, arts and culture, health and wellness, and recreation.
Gifts to the Friends of the Foundation Annual Community Betterment Fund, as well as corporate support from Community Bank and a major gift from an anonymous individual donor, help to underwrite program grants. A committee that included Community Foundation staff and a retired junior high school teacher judged and scored the applications with results as follows:
- $500, Watertown Urban Mission, Jordan Kallie, Case Middle School, Watertown
- $500, Cape Vincent Fire Department, John Wiley, Thousand Islands Central, Clayton
- $500, Clayton Council of Churches Food Pantry, McKenna Durr, Thousand Islands Central, Clayton
- $500, Double Play Community Center, Lowville, Hayden Hulbert, Lowville Academy & Central School
- $500, Lewis County Search and Rescue, Lowville, Will Vokey, Lowville Academy & Central School
- $500, Mountain View Prevention Services, Lowville, Kylie Wilder, Lowville Academy & Central School
- $500, Lewis County Agricultural Society, Lowville, Cullen Miller, Lowville Academy & Central School
- $500, Lewis County Humane Society, Glenfield, Stella Burke, Lowville Academy & Central School
- $500, Adirondack Mennonite Camping Association, Lowville, Carl Petzoldt, Lowville Academy & Central School
- $500, Lewis County Hospital Foundation, Brailyn Dunn, Lowville Academy & Central School
St. Lawrence County
- $500, Society of the United Helpers, Ogdensburg, Scarlett Ritchie, Morristown Central School
- $500, Canton Free Library, Natasha Rossiter, Canton Central School
- $500, Potsdam Humane Society, Mrs. Grace Schenker’s Classroom, Canton Central School
- $500, Massena Meals on Wheels, Luke Bogart, Massena Central School
- $500, Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley, Potsdam, Kyla Donahue, Massena Central School
- $500, Massena Public Library, Reese Faucher, Massena Central School
- $500, Morristown Gateway Museum, Sawyer Belile, Morristown Central School
- $500, Police Activities League of Massena, Serenidy Rust, Massena Central School
- $500, St. Lawrence Health Foundation, Potsdam, Taya Coller, Edwards-Knox Central School
- $500, Gouverneur Breast Cancer Fund, Isabel Paro, Edwards-Knox Central School
As public health guidelines safely permit, the Community Foundation and schools will work with winning students in the coming weeks to coordinate visits to their respective charitable agencies to present grants and learn more about the organizations they chose.
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.