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Community Fund provides $9,000 in support for youth development, elder services, more

Thu, Jun 17th 2021 12:00 pm

Nine agencies recently received grants, together totaling, $9,0000, from the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation’s Community Fund for special projects and programs that support youth development, elder services, an area emergency health care organization and more.

The Chautauqua Cattaraugus Library System received $2,500 in support of the summer reading program at its 13 Cattaraugus County libraries.

Programs throughout the county include story times, educational activities, crafts, and access to all formats of reading materials, according to LJ Martin, coordinator of outreach and special projects.

According to Martin, the library system’s reading program plays an important role for Cattaraugus County youth development.

“Children and families who continue reading outside of the school year continue to develop reading skills as well as foster a love of reading,” Martin said.  “The summer reading programs also provide families different actives and a fun way to engage in the library community.”

Brookside Community, an Olean senior living facility, received $1,600 towards a renovation of the facility’s outdoor spaces, including a new pergola, gazebo and sidewalk to the facility's gazebo and back yard.

The grant will offset the increased cost of lumber and allow the project, which also received a Community Fund grant towards the project and security upgrades at the community in 2020.

Cattaraugus Area Ambulance Service Inc., received $1,500 to help offset expenses related to the maintenance of a power stretcher/cot that allows the ambulance service to transport obese patients and limits the risks of doing so for the agency’s all-volunteer EMT staff.

Healthy Community Alliance received $1,000 in support of the establishment of a new nonprofit communication hub, a need that according to Healthy Community Alliance CEO Ann Battaglia, was dramatically exposed by the public health crisis.

“The communication hub will initially focus on providing resources on funding, racial equity, and technology, including features like a directory of funders and do-it-yourself audit tools for racial equity and technology,” said Battaglia. “Nonprofits will be able to filter information by needs and geographies. This hub will also provide a solution for intermediaries to store, manage, and share resources.”

CRCF Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit echoed Battaglia’s assessment of nonprofit needs in the region.

“Over the last year and a half the Foundation has placed much of its focus on leading the philanthropic and charitable response to the pandemic,” said Buchheit. “One of the things we quickly learned is that there is significant need for increased communication and collaboration among our nonprofits in order to provide for the community’s greatest needs, especially in a time of crisis.”

Girl Scouts of WNY Inc., received $500 for the Badge in a Box program, which will provide 25 area girl scouts the necessary materials and resources to complete a badge program from home.

According to Tricia Skwieralski, director of foundation and United Way relations for the Girl Scouts of WNY, the program allows Cattaraugus County girls unique youth development experience that helps them grow, explore their interests, learn new skills; with multiple ways to participate in girl scouting.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie, Niagara and the Southern Tier also received $500 to support mentoring programming and activities through the agency’s Be a Friend program in Cattaraugus County.

The grant will help the program offset increased costs of program operation due to COVID-19 safety protocols and allow the program to continue its work with Cattaraugus County youth.

The Reach out and Read program also received $500 to purchase books for three pediatric care sites in Cattaraugus County – two in Salamanca and one in Olean.

The program provides books to low-income families who visit the pediatric care sites, in order to encourage parents to read to their children at home.

Theresa Egan, corporate and foundation relations officer, children from low-income families often lag 12-14 months behind their peers in early literacy readiness skills by the time they enter kindergarten. The program’s intention is to provide early intervention to reverse that trend.

The Ashford Historical Society received $500 as well, to help the organization purchase a new furnace for their building so that the organization can safely preserve historical items and documents.

“The Foundation’s board of directors is happy to be able to provide this diverse support from the Community Fund,” said Buchheit. “In particular, we know from our work throughout the pandemic that youth and elderly were the populations that were most impacted. It is essential to provide support for organizations that can help those populations begin to recover.”

Donations can be made to the Community Fund at CRCF, 301 North Union St., Olean, NY 14760 or online at cattfoundation.org

The Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation is the area’s supportive, responsive and trusted community foundation. Established in 1994, CRCF is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in the region. Grants from the foundation support many areas, including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service, and youth development. To learn more, call (716) 301-CRCF (2723), email [email protected], or visit online at www.cattfoundation.org. CRCF is also on Facebook (facebook.com/cattfoundation) and Twitter (@CattFoundation).