Retired Bridge Authority executive director creates opportunity for organization he served
WATERTOWN — A longtime leader of the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority has established a new, permanent scholarship at the Northern New York Community Foundation to help Authority employees and their families as they endeavor to pursue their educational dreams.
Russell I. Wilcox had a successful career of 41 years with the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority, retiring as its executive director in 2003 after 25 years at the helm. During his tenure, the international public authority that connects the United States and Canada acquired Boldt Castle and launched one of the most extensive restorations of a historic landmark ever attempted in the region.
Mr. Wilcox recently created the Russell I. Wilcox Thousand Islands Bridge Authority Scholarship as an extension of his life’s work and service on behalf of the Bridge Authority. In honor of his relationship with Bridge Authority board members and employees, Mr. Wilcox wanted to help employees and their families fulfill their educational goals. The scholarship is a component fund of the Russell I. Wilcox Family Fund of the Community Foundation.
“I was very fortunate through my 40-plus years of work with the Bridge Authority and saw many doors open, for which I am forever grateful,” Mr. Wilcox said. “I have great respect for the employees of the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority and their families who support their work. This scholarship is a chance to see someone else smile while providing meaningful support on their path to success.”
Current full-time Bridge Authority employees, retirees, and their children and grandchildren are eligible to apply for the scholarship, which will be awarded annually through the Community Foundation. The scholarship is a one-year award and may support students attending an accredited college or university as well as those pursuing formal technical, trade or vocational studies.
“This is a wonderful and generous expression that not only commemorates Mr. Wilcox’s instrumental work with the Bridge Authority, but also extends his recognition of the important role the employees have and continue to play in making it all work,” said Rande Richardson, Community Foundation executive director. “This will forever link Russ’ love for the Authority family and the organization itself. I feel incredibly honored and humbled to be part of that profound legacy that will continue forever.”
Thousand Islands Bridge Authority Executive Director Tim Sturick applauded Mr. Wilcox for establishing such a thoughtful opportunity.
“This scholarship program established by Russell Wilcox for the benefit of current and former employees of the Authority and their families is a wonderful contribution that will have real tangible benefits for years to come,” Mr. Sturick said.
About the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority
The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority is a New York State public benefit corporation. It owns and operates the Thousand Islands International Bridge System near Alexandria Bay, and Ivy Lea, Ontario, Canada, covering 8.5 miles and providing a direct connection to U.S. Interstate 81 and Canada’s Highway 401.
An international board of directors leads the Authority, which also owns and operates the regional tourist attraction Boldt Castle. Since 1977, more than $20 million in capital improvements have been made to the castle property through Authority revenues without state and federal funds. Annual visits to the Boldt Castle exceed 240,000.
The Authority employs 62 full-time staff, of which 43 are U.S. citizens and 19 are Canadian citizens. The Authority averages 60 additional temporary and seasonal staff annually to support seasonal operations and maintenance.
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.