Yates Community Endowment surpasses halfway mark to its goal of raising $1 million by 2017

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

The Yates Community Endowment is pleased to announce that it has surpassed the halfway mark to its goal of raising $1 million by 2017. The addition of the Willie J. Taaffe Memorial Fund, in memory of a founding advisory board member of the Endowment, helped to push the total to more than $542,000.

The Endowment was created in 2011 by a group of citizens committed to securing the future of Yates County. A $100,000 challenge grant from the family foundation of Katie Nord Peterson of Penn Yan launched the endowment-building effort, and matching gifts were made within six months.

The Endowment is a permanent fund, which means that the principal is never spent and the accumulated interest over time generates money for grants to Yates County nonprofits. All money raised stays in Yates County.

“The earnings from the Endowment are meant to help address needs in our Yates County, now and in the future. Donating allows the Endowment to have an ever-increasing amount of funding annually to further help support identified needs in our Yates County,” said Advisory Board Member Taylor Fitch.

Though grants in the first few years have been relatively small — ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 — they are making a real difference to the people who benefit from them.

In 2012 and 2013, the Endowment awarded grants to support the work of the following nonprofits:  Safe Harbors; Arts Center of Yates County; Milly’s Pantry; S2AY Rural Health Network; ARC/Keuka Lake School; Finger Lakes Cultural and Natural History Museum; Child and Family Resources; and the Pennsylvania-Yankee Theatre Company for Sampson Theatre renovations.

Applications for 2014 grants are now being accepted from Yates County nonprofits. Go to  www.racf.org/Yates to find a grant application and more details. All applications must be postmarked no later than June 2.

The Endowment and its affiliate funds are housed at Rochester Area Community Foundation, which has provided grants to Yates County initiatives, including the Vision 20/20 efforts and the Finger Lakes Museum.

Advisory Board Member Sue Andersen is very happy with the work of the Endowment. “Part of my job at Lyons National Bank is community outreach. I can’t think of a better way to support local efforts than to give to this Endowment. ‘They’ are really ‘us’ helping each other. And that’s what it’s all about.”

Keeping his sights set on the future, Advisory Board Member Frank Strong encourages all who can to become involved in the Endowment.  “While it is very gratifying to see the Yates Community Endowment continuing to grow and build momentum in service to the community, we still have a long way to go and continue to need widespread support.”

If you are interested in making a contribution, you can mail a check payable to Yates Community Endowment (with RACF in the memo line) to P.O. Box 311, Penn Yan, N.Y. 14527.

For more information, visit www.racf.org/Yates or contact Regional Coordinator Joy Benson at (585) 341-4412 or jbenson@racf.org.