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Matching community fund, running and golfing events to benefit fund honoring late Lewis County planner


LOWVILLE — A community fund honoring a late Lewis County planner will get a boost from a matching fund and benefits planned by runners and golfers.

“When we started the Renee Beyer-United Way Fund last year, we knew the funding would start off pretty slow,” said Robert D. Gorman, chief executive officer of United Way of Northern New York. “But we’re seeing the community come together in creative ways to raise money for that endowment. The best part is knowing that the money coming out of the endowment will go to help Lewis County.”

The Northern New York Community Foundation, which administers the fund, offers up to a $10,000 match for any money raised over the next year, meaning donors will effectively double their gifts.

“This is a perfect example of two organizations doing more together than they could alone,” foundation Executive Director Rande S. Richardson said. “This particular partnership allows both organizations to provide an enduring reminder of the many ways citizens can help impact the world on a hyper-local level.”

Many Lewis County residents are doing their part to ensure that the matching funds will be fully expended.

Two seven-member teams — the BarkEater Brewery Boys and the Lowville Ladies — plan to participate in the Seneca 7, a 77-mile relay run around Seneca Lake April 27. Before that happens, they will solicit pledges — to be paid when the race is completed — that will go toward the fund.

“My goal for fundraising is not small,” said Eric J. Virkler, county director of economic development and planning and a member of the BarkEater squad. “I don’t have a dollar amount, but it’s not small.”

Mrs. Beyer died of injuries suffered in a two-vehicle crash last April in the town of Harrisburg that was caused by a driver later convicted of driving under the influence of drugs.

The fund was started in her memory in November with an initial $2,500 donation by the United Way. Once the fund reaches the $100,000 mark, the intent is to give out interest dividends as grants to county nonprofits.

Besides Mr. Virkler, the BarkEater team consists of Thomas Widrick, Jacob Steria, Franz Philippe, Andrew Rice, Douglas Domagala and Patrick Anderson. The Lowville Ladies team includes Christine Bach, Rebecca Dunckel-King, Marjorie Rush, Lori Freeman, Tracey Miller, Brigid Fayle and Stacy Eger.

The 14 participants will distribute pledge forms. Those forms will go to the United Way, which will send out payment requests following the run. Proceeds from a benefit hot dog lunch April 8 at the Lewis County office building will also go toward the fund-raising effort, Mr. Virkler said.

Those seeking more information or wishing to donate may speak with any of the participants or call the Lewis County Department of Economic Development and Planning at 376-5422 or the United Way at 788-5631.

Ken Gaylord at Turin Highlands Golf Course and Daniel Myers from Double Play Sports are organizing the Renee Beyer Building Your Community Golf Classic on May 31.

Contact Mr. Gaylord at 348-4327 or or Mr. Myers at 955-9936 or

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