Gift Doubles Impact

Elise and Woody Widlund at Bar Vino in North Creek.

The Samwise Fund at Adirondack Foundation has received a major gift of $300,000 from its founders, Elise and Woody Widlund.  The gift doubles the size of the fund, which will mean larger annual grants to the charitable organizations the Widlunds care most about.

“Our goal is to make sure each of these organizations receives a reliable and significant grant from the Samwise Fund every year,” said Elise Widlund, who serves on Adirondack Foundation's Advisory Council and has until recently been an advisor of the Community Fund for the Gore Mountain Region (CFGMR), a component fund of Adirondack Foundation.

The Samwise Fund is an endowment that is pooled and invested with the other funds at Adirondack Foundation to generate income for grantmaking.  “We like the idea that the Samwise Fund will keep on giving for the long term,” said Woody Widlund. “These organizations are doing work we want to see continue.”

The Widlunds have devoted their lives to community service and philanthropy. Their Adirondack footprint includes the Tannery Pond Community Center in Johnsburg, public access to 13th Lake in North River, a renovated house donated to the Adirondack Housing Trust, CFGMR, and the Adirondack Trek program that motivates local young people to get outside and leave their electronics behind.

Designated nonprofit organizations will receive Samwise grants:  Crane Mountain Valley Horse Rescue of Westport is dedicated to equine rescue and rehabilitation and to restoring horsemanship, the heritage and humane treatment of the horse. Nancy and Eddie Mrozik take in horses that have been abused, abandoned or are otherwise in need, bring them back to health and wellbeing, and, in time, find forever adoptive homes for them.

Community Fund for the Gore Mountain Region, was established in 2005 to ensure that Johnsburg, Chestertown, Minerva, Schroon Lake and Horicon have permanent charitable resources, raised and allocated by local people, to address local needs. Seventy grants have already been made to support community beautification, education, culture and the arts, youth & senior programs and historic preservation. 

Hudson Headwaters Health Network Foundation, whose mission is to provide the best and accessible health care for everyone in the communities it serves, has 14 primary and urgent health care centers in 4 counties, covering an area spanning Moreau to Moriah, Ticonderoga to Indian Lake. By partnering with host communities and finding outside support, Hudson Headwaters makes care affordable for individuals and families with limited means.

Adirondack Community Outreach Center in North Creek, “Neighbors helping Neighbors,” is an all-volunteer community center and service organization providing support and physical space for human and social services (  The Johnsburg Food Pantry, community garden, GED classes and family clothing center are all housed here.  Community and private use of the building is welcomed.

Adirondack Theater Festival produces annual summer professional theater at the Charles R. Wood Theater in Glens Falls (  What makes ATF unusual is that their six week season presents new original musicals and plays crafted specifically for ATF that are never more than five years old, instead of big name musicals and lighter fare more typically offered by summer theaters.