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Fund being developed to help southern Jefferson County communities

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A small group of southern Jefferson County residents wants to make sure their neighbors’ needs are taken care of as they work with the Northern New York Community Foundation to establish a Six Town Community Fund.

Now in its initial stages, the fund would be used to award grants in the “Six Town” area of Jefferson County: Adams, Ellisburg, Henderson, Lorraine, Rodman and Worth.

“There are a lot of things we could do, and one way to make them happen is a fund that works on the region,” said J. David Stone, Adams resident. “In many ways, I’ve been somewhat surprised our region isn’t engaged as a region.”

Mr. Stone is spearheading the effort to form the fund, along with Adams Center resident Marlene A. Norfolk. A small group of residents from throughout the six towns recently met to discuss the fund’s development.

Community Foundation Executive Director Rande S. Richardson said there seems to be an energizing trend for geographic-specific funds. Ones administered by the foundation in Canton, and other parts of Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, have been successful, he said.

“Sometimes these types of funds can spur additional community pride,” Mr. Richardson said. “There are many meaningful projects that can’t be, or aren’t normally, funded through our competitive grant making.”

When groups go through the Community Foundation to help with the exploration of a fund, Mr. Richardson said, their members don’t have to worry about creating their own charitable entity.

“To have people know the area best prioritizing how those grants should be made will help this organization do its job better,” Mr. Richardson said. “Those residents in those communities know their community best. The long-term goal of this is other communities step forward and use this for their specific geographic area.”

He said the goal now is to have a formal Six Town Community Fund structure in place by year’s end. Meanwhile, Mr. Stone said, the group will work on how to start and replenish the fund.

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