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Community Foundation to grant $200,000 for Lewis youth development

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LOWVILLE — The Northern New York Community Foundation is seeking applications for $200,000 in grant funds dedicated to supporting child and youth development in Lewis County over the next two years.

“We are looking for projects that really can make a profound difference in the lives of young people and prevent larger investments down the road,” said Rande S. Richardson, the Watertown-based foundation’s executive director.

Nonprofit agencies, school districts and other government entities may apply for money to support specific initiatives. Applicants must be located in Lewis County or provide services to county residents.

Considerable preference will be given to proposals that include one or more of the following elements: a focus on broadening awareness of educational and career opportunities, positive mentorship, knowledge enhancement, a focus on youth who may “fall between the cracks,” promotion of self-confidence and self-esteem and a collaborative, multi-agency approach.

“It’s about trying to break the cycle,” Mr. Richardson said.

Qualified proposals will be reviewed by the Community Foundation’s Lewis County advisory committee, which will make funding recommendations to the foundation’s board of directors.

“We wanted a cross-section of people who know the county well,” Mr. Richardson said.

Members of the advisory committee are Penny Demo, Doreen Garrett, Douglas Hanno, Michele Ledoux, Kenneth McAuliffe, Linda Merrell, James Randall, Timothy Reagan, JoAnne Rhubart, Randall Schell, Michael Young, Eric Virkler and Thomas Yousey.

Committee members are tentatively looking to award about 80 percent of the funding to one or two large projects, possibly collaborations among two or more entities, that would likely have a “transformative effect” on area youth, Mr. Richardson said. Such major initiatives, if proven successful over a two-year period, likely would be able to leverage future funding to keep them going, he said.

“We don’t want to create a program that can’t be sustained,” Mr. Richardson said.

The remaining 20 percent could then go to smaller projects, possibly ones that target specific areas of the county to spread the money out geographically, he said.

The Community Foundation is using a $100,000 matching grant from the Dyson Foundation to help fund the new grant program.

The Millbrook private family foundation also recently awarded a $236,000 grant to the North Country Prenatal/Perinatal Council to develop an 18-month initiative to address an increase in adolescent pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections throughout Lewis County, as well as a $75,000 grant to Transitional Living Services of Northern New York to be spent over the next three years to supplement funding for the Advantage After School Program at Harrisville Central School.

Lewis County youth development funding through the Community Foundation will be considered on a semiannual basis until all funds have been allocated. The 2012 submission deadline is Aug. 1, with award notifications anticipated by October.

For details, call the foundation at 782-7110 or visit its website at www.nnycf.org.

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