First Grant Awards Aid North Country Children’s Museum, Potsdam Holiday Fund
POTSDAM — The John and Dorotha VanNess Family Fund of the Northern New York Community Foundation recently made its first grant awards to two nonprofit organizations that support the quality of life and vibrancy of the Potsdam area.
The North Country Children’s Museum, Potsdam, received a $2,500 award to purchase kits for its STEAM learning opportunities. A group of educators with a collective vision to create a cultural and educational center for North Country families formed the museum in 2012.
The Potsdam Holiday Fund received $500 to support its “Santa’s Workshop” program. Each year, the Potsdam Holiday Fund helps to make the holidays happier for hundreds of local families.
The John and Dorotha VanNess Family Fund of the Northern New York Community Foundation is a permanent grantmaking fund that will forever support programs, activities and initiatives that support the general welfare of the Potsdam community. It was established at the Community Foundation in 2018 by Mr. and Mrs. VanNess’ daughter, Susan J. Sewall, as a lasting tribute to her parents’ civic-mindedness.
Through her legacy planning, the fund was established after Mrs. Sewall passed away in 2017 to appropriately honor her parents and their long-standing commitment to the betterment of the Potsdam area. She believed that strong, healthy, quality-of-life enhanced communities help provide the backdrop from which many other aspects of community vibrancy and development can occur.
“The Potsdam area will forever benefit from this fund. The first two grants demonstrate meaningful ways communities can be positively affected by a legacy of caring,” said Rande Richardson, Community Foundation executive director.
Applications for 2020 funding from the VanNess Family Fund will be accepted this fall with up to $10,000 available. Eligible 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations that serve the Potsdam area are encouraged to apply through this funding opportunity. Areas of focus include, but are not limited to health and wellness, arts and culture, economic development, community revitalization, and more.
Contact Max DelSignore, Community Foundation assistant director, 315-782-7110, or firstname.lastname@example.org, to obtain a grant application or learn more about this opportunity to enhance the quality of life in the Potsdam area.
About the John and Dorotha VanNess Family Fund
John S. VanNess was active in Potsdam government and served as village mayor from 1955 to 1961. He also held leadership positions with the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce, Potsdam Rotary Club and was a trustee at Paul Smith’s College.
Dorotha (Ticknor) VanNess began teaching at Potsdam High School in 1939 and later joined her husband in the management of Sunshine Stores. She served as president of the Canton-Potsdam Hospital Guild and was an active member of Potsdam United Methodist Church.
Their daughter, Susan J. Sewall, admired her parents’ public service and commitment to improving the place they loved. Before her untimely passing in 2017, she made plans to establish this fund as a way to forever honor them.
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.