Raises enough to get dollar-for-dollar match

The Yates Community Endowment’s Yates Emergency Relief Fund, launched in early May, awarded its first grants totaling $49,935 to 12 organizations supporting Yates County residents and businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In just a few weeks, generous contributions from residents and others who support Yates County exceeded the $25,000 dollar-for-dollar match offered by the Nord Family Foundation. Every dollar raised will stay in Yates County and be used to support nonprofits providing critical services.

Just after the match was made, the Emergency Relief Fund received a $25,000 contribution from Penn-Yan based Coach and Equipment Manufacturing Corp., bringing the fund’s total to more than $100,000.

“This community has been good to us and it is important to do what we can to help during this crisis,” says Rick McMullen, president of Coach and Equipment, which brought back employees and was able to reopen in early May. “We hope other local businesses will consider a donation to this much-needed county-wide relief effort.”

The Emergency Relief Fund is focusing on supporting immediate and urgent needs, recovery as nonprofits return to normal operations, and resiliency relief to help nonprofits most crucial to communities’ ability to thrive.

“As we know from the devastating floods of 2014, our communities will need help beyond next week and next month,” says Rita Gow, a member of the Yates Community Endowment Advisory Board and co-chair of the committee reviewing grants. “The needs of our neighbors are great and not going away anytime soon, and the relief fund is the reason we can help.”

Grant recipients

The first two rounds of grants were awarded to:

• Arc of Yates ($5,000) — Supports the cost of additional employees at its residential facilities to ensure the best quality of care for clients.

• Arts Center of Yates County ($5,000) — Help to cover costs of compliance of local and state health and safety regulations.

• Dundee Central School District ($5,000) — To help the district’s families in crisis with paying utilities, rent, mortgages and other necessities that existing community resources don’t address.

• Dundee Library ($1,935) — To purchase protection and sanitizing equipment for when the library reopens.

• Finger Lakes Health Foundation ($3,000) — For the purchase of personal protective equipment.

• Finger Lakes Museum ($5,000) — To support ongoing operational costs so the museum can continue offering experiential events related to the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the Finger Lakes region.

• Finger Lakes Economic Development Center of Yates County ($2,500) — To bolster support for local retail businesses through the “Be Local, Buy Local” gift certificate program by adding 20 percent to certificates’ value for purchases of $25 or more.

• Friendship House of Middlesex Inc. ($2,500) — Support for the organization’s food pantry.

• Legal Assistance of Western New York ($5,000) — To support the Housing and Public Benefits Hotline and Advocacy Project for local residents.

• The Living Well ($5,000) — To assist households with paying utilities (electrical, propane, fuel oil, coal, wood, and kerosene).

• ProAction of Steuben and Yates, Inc. ($5,000) — To allow the Hope Center Keuka Food Pantry to continue to help residents dealing with food insecurity during the pandemic.

• Yates Cultural & Recreational Resources, Inc. ($5,000) — To continue operations of the fitness center, ELEVATE Youth, Core Adult programming at the Yates Community Center and its trails and fields.

To donate 

Any individual, family, business or organization can make a contribution to the Emergency Relief Fund. Donations can be made online using a credit card at “http://www.racf.org/YatesRelief” www.racf.org/YatesRelief; or mail a check payable to Yates Emergency Relief Fund, c/o Yates Community Endowment, 500 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607.

To apply for a grant 

Nonprofit organizations serving Yates County are eligible to apply based on the three areas of funding — immediate needs, recovery, and resiliency. Applications can be submitted immediately by logging into the Community Foundation’s grant portal, which can be found at “https://bit.ly/YatesRelief” https://bit.ly/YatesRelief. Grants will be reviewed by the Yates Community Endowment on a rolling basis. 

The Yates Community Endowment is under the guidance of an all-volunteer, all-local Advisory Board. Since its beginning in 2011, Yates Community Endowment has distributed more than $600,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations serving Yates County.