A fund for a community and for the future
Above: Nick Muller, left, and Andrea Grout of Adirondack Foundation enjoy the scenery on Lake Champlain.
by Nick Muller
In 2003, encouraged by Adirondack Foundation with some prodding and a matching grant, a group of Essex residents formed the Essex Community Fund (ECF). After making a few grants totaling about $3,000 in 2004, it has since awarded over $160,000 in grants to Essex organizations and those that serve Essex.
The fund prefers to make grants that increase an organization’s capacity or that fund small capital projects. It has helped Lakeside School, youth reading programs, and a program for autistic children. It supports the arts, film and theater, and the lively Whallonsburg Grange. It has assisted Champlain Area Trails and the North Country SPCA—and over 20 other organizations.
When Tropical Storm Irene flooded homes along the Boquet River, ECF raised funds to assist victims. It served as the vessel for the beginning of the capital campaigns to restore the Whallonsburg Grange, build a children’s play area at Beggs Park, and renovate the Belden Noble Memorial Library. The generosity of Clint and Lawson Allen has established a meaningful scholarship that an Essex student may receive for up to four years of college.
With Adirondack Foundation, ECF has hosted popular capacitybuilding workshops on fundraising and governance for regional nonprofits. It has honored late contributors to the quality of life in Essex with endowed funds supporting grants in their memory, including the Charlie Goff Memorial Fund.
A group of us has worked for over a decade to build this truly community effort that lives up to its motto, “For Now and Forever.” To ensure the “Forever,” ECF has embarked on a planned-giving program and has met some early success. Now the founders have begun to relinquish the reins in an orderly succession, further assuring the “Forever.”
A true community effort led and funded by residents and seasonal visitors, the Essex Community Fund will continue to expand its support for Essex.
A founding member of ECF’s Advisory Council, Nick Muller has served as secretary since 2007 and treasurer from 2007 to 2014. He has created a personal legacy by supporting organizations like the Essex Community Fund that will carry on what he values.