Argust lauded for ‘passionate philanthropy’

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
Tom Argust speaks at the Yates County Community Endowment Awards event in August.

Tom Argust, the co-founder and current co-chair of The Yates Community Endowment, has been honored by the Rochester Area Community Foundation during their 2014 Philanthropy Awards held at the Riverside Convention Center Sept. 17.

Argust received the Joe U. Posner Founders Award for his continued passionate philanthropy in Rochester and Yates County.

“The idea that citizens — you and me — can create change if we have a sense of empowerment, if we’re engaged, is very powerful,” said the former Community Foundation Board Chair.

Argust, a lifelong community organizer, was an early member of the planning initiative ACT Rochester, which provides free statistics for Monroe and eight surrounding counties on key economic indicators. “Being in a democracy means it compels us to know what’s going on and be mindful of our community. Data helps us do that.”

As co-chair of The Yates Community Endowment Advisory Board, Argust has inspired the group with commitment, levity, and optimism as they have worked to raise more than two-thirds of their $1 Million goal.

In receiving the award, Argust encouraged others to be generous, sharing his three lessons learned:

1. “If you have it… you owe it. Not own it. Owe it. None of us got here alone. Whatever talents, treasures and time we have are not ours to hoard or keep. They become our legacies to our present and future community.”

2. “When you share, you care. I don’t believe in giving. But I do believe in sharing. Whether it is our time, our talents or our money… to care, we are called to share.

3. “If you share it, you keep it.” By sharing with others, we get to keep and appreciate the good that comes from helping make a better community.”

Argust and his wife, Carolyn, created a named fund that supports neighborhood planning and activities, immigrant services at their church, and the Yates Community Endowment.

If you are interested in making a contribution, you can mail a check payable to Yates Community Endowment Disaster Relief Fund 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.