The Keuka Area Fund, part of the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes Inc., last week presented the Finger Lakes Area Counseling & Recovery Agency (FLACRA) with a check for $25,425 as a grant to aid in the expansion of the agency’s local services. 

Tom Snow, who with his wife, Karen Meriwether, founded the Keuka Area Fund 15 years ago, presented the check. FLACRA’s Executive Leadership Team, including Executive Director Marty Teller, Deputy Executive Director Jennifer Carlson, and Chief Financial Officer Ruth Donk, accepted the generous donation, and led a tour of the third floor of the Keuka Business Park’s Keuka Building. Totalling about 7,700 square feet, the space is triple what FLACRA currently occupies on the first floor, and will allow for greatly increased staff and program space.

Recounting the history of the local fund and their list of over 200 “friends, neighbors, distant acquaintances, and people we met in Tops,” Snow says the fund is “trying to deal with the opioid crisis which grips our nation and has hit Yates County particularly hard. Our supporters generously donated $25,425, which we are pleased to present today to FLACRA to assist in their local efforts.”

Teller stated that for opioid overdoses and deaths per capita, Yates County is second in all of New York State, with a personal impact upon almost every family in the area. Part of the problem which FLACRA hopes to address in the local crisis is a scarcity of mental health resources. With the added mental health and peer counsellors the new space can accomodate, Teller has great hopes for the added help FLACRA will be able to give.

According to the organization’s website, the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes began with the Hurricane Agnes flood of 1972 “when six Corning-area churches applied for $400,000 in federal aid to repair their buildings. By the time the funds arrived, the churches had already completed the work with funds they raised on their own. So the churches used the money to create the Southeastern Steuben County Human Services Fund and help others. The Corning Community Foundation held and managed the fund. Thanks to their astute investments, not only did the Foundation repay the government in full from the interest, but it established a substantial permanent endowment to support a variety of community causes.” Today, it exists as a public charity, “awarding grants to non-profit organizations whose programs make a positive impact on the needs and issues that face our community.”