Generosity road trip

August 31, 2017

There's nothing quite like seeing the results of philanthropy in person.

All summer long, Adirondack Foundation donors, trustees, and staff have been meeting with nonprofit and community organizations, listening and learning about how our grants are making a difference.

In July, we traveled through Essex and Clinton counties to meet with grant recipients.

On Aug. 3, we hosted a meeting here at Heaven Hill Farm with donors and grantees, where we heard how generosity is helping elevate the work of the Adirondack Mountain Club's Summit Steward Program by supporting educators atop our highest peaks throughout the hiking season, helping hikers protect the rare alpine flora of the alpine zone. We also heard from: Mercy Care's Friendship Volunteer Program, which is enhancing the fullness of life for elders, particularly those aging in place, and empowering our communities to become more elder-friendly; John Brown Lives, which is teaming up with downstate partners to create a positive and welcoming experience for visiting friends and loved ones of people incarcerated in North Country prisons and jails; Frame Your Story, which is bringing photo journalism to refugee children in Berlin and will use it to create a conversation with children at local schools; local historic societies that are collaborating to promote memory making for seniors through history, art, and storytelling; and the Northern Forest Atlas, a ground-breaking, multi-media natural history of the northern forest, the product of five decades of field work by renowned ecologist Jerry Jenkins and Ed’s own aerial photography.

On Aug. 23, we hit the road once again, this time traveling south. First stop was the YMCA's Adirondack Outreach Center in Brant Lake. This brand-new facility will reach residents in the more rural communities of northern Warren County and southern Essex County.  Our Generous Acts Fund awarded a grant to the Outeach Center to support summer literacy programming for youth.

Next stop on our philanthropy tour was the Ticonderoga Armory, home of the Silver Bay YMCA's Ticonderoga Teen Center and Ticonderoga Area Seniors -- both recipients of Generous Acts Fund grants in 2017.

The Ticonderoga Teen Center serves 200 at-risk teens, grades 6-12. Our grant is supporting a new pilot program, a peer group meal, for teens who lack adequate food at home. The center's director,  Jackie Palandrani, explained that the program is designed to have teenagers cook meals in the center's kitchen, for other teens to eat.

"It empowers them to cook food for themselves and others, and builds community with their peers," she said.

We were then joined by Sharon Reynolds from PRIDE of Ticonderoga, a nonprofit that works with organizations in the community to assist with projects and grantwriting. Reynolds gave us a tour of the senior center, located in the basement of the armory, and showed off the new exercise equipment, purchased with funding from Generous Acts.

After a quick lunch, we travled to the other side of town to visit the Head Start, which operates under the umbrella of Adirondack Community Action Progams in Essex County -- a partner of our Adirondack Birth to Three Alliance. We visited with staff and families involved with their Early Head Start program, which serves infants and toddlers under the age of 3.

With support from our donors, programs like Early Head Start are bolstering and enhancing the services they provide to families with young children, which will ultimately benefit communities across the region both socially and economically. The Schroon Lake Public Library, our next visit, is working toward the same goal with its new children's wing.

The children's room -- and the library in general -- are getting a big makeover thanks in part to our Generous Acts Fund as well as other funders like the Lake Placid Education Foundation, the Charles R. Wood Foundation, and private donors.

The day's last stop took us to Crane Mountain Valley Horse Rescue, where Nancy Van Wie introduced us to some of the horses her nonprofit has saved and rehabilitated over the years. Funds at Adirondack Foundation support her work, including programs designed to help veterans and recovering addicts rehabilitate through connections with rescued horses.

In one day, we saw the astounding breadth of what your generosity can do -- it can help seniors stay active, teens stay out of trouble, young children grow, and connect horses and humans in need of healing. That's just one day in the life of philanthropy across the Adirondack region -- imagine the impact of your generosity over a week, a month, a year, a decade?

Contact us to learn how you can join a movement of Generous Acts: call (518) 523-9904 or email mel@adkfoundation.org.

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