$150K in Funds Available; First Deadline is June 15
As of March 1, the Community Foundation of Otsego County is accepting applications for its 2023 Awards Cycle. According to a recent press release, this year’s cycle includes the following new features:
$150,000.00 total to be allocated.
There are three categories—“Strengthening Our Community,” “Strengthening Our Nonprofits” and “Addressing Immediate Needs.”
Deadlines: The first-round closes June 15, 2023 and the second round closes October 15, 2023.
FAQs—A list of questions and answers to help applicants through the process are found on cfotsego.org under “Get Funding.” More FAQs will be added as questions come in.
In three short years, $500,000.00 in grants and awards from the Community Foundation of Otsego County have gone to Otsego County nonprofits. This major milestone was marked by a $15,000.00 award to Catholic Charities of Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties for the Oneonta Warming Station. The Community Foundation of Otsego County was founded in 2019 by a group of 15 local citizens who share a vision and believe in the potential of a community foundation. CFOC is dedicated to enriching opportunities for all residents of Otsego County.
While in the midst of the initial $2 million Founders fundraising campaign, COVID struck. CFOC rose to the immediate challenge, gathering and distributing more than $200,000.00 to county nonprofits and businesses hit with unexpected and unbudgeted costs related to the pandemic.
By TED MEBUST COOPERSTOWN The Community Foundation of Otsego County announced its largest, most recent and final donation of the organization’s 2022 award cycle, giving $25,000.00 to help Catholic Charities of Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties support the Oneonta Warming Station. This is the second award the Oneonta Warming Station has received from CFOC, the first to the tune of $10,000.00 at the end of the 2021 award cycle.
“Homelessness, as a rising problem, is all around us…clearly there’s an ongoing need and we wanted to help them [Catholic Charities] out again,” said Jeff Katz, CFOC president.
On November 9, the Community Foundation of Otsego County, in collaboration with SUNY-Oneonta, brought 50 nonprofit organizations together in one room for its first “Nonprofit Breakfast” networking opportunity. The goal of the breakfast was to engage a diverse group in conversation about the future of Otsego County.
After an introduction from SUNY President Alberto Cardelle that highlighted the significance of our countywide charitable organizations—and an update from Danielle McMullen, chief of staff to the president, on microcredential programs at the college and how they can benefit nonprofits—CFOC Executive Director Jeff Katz explained to the enthusiastic audience what the goals were for the morning session.
If you’re from White Plains or Scarsdale and someone asks you, “Where are you from?” you’d likely answer “Westchester County.” If you’re from Hauppauge or Port Jefferson and the same question is posed, you’d probably say “Suffolk County.” But if you live in Otsego County, what do you say?
Due to the prominence of Oneonta (regionally) and Cooperstown (nationally and internationally), we all tend to answer, “Where are you from?” using either Oneonta or Cooperstown as our reference point. Yet we all know every village and town in Otsego County has its own unique and special history. Why not start answering “Otsego County?”
Otsego County often feels disconnected. The distance between Cherry Valley and Unadilla is large, geographically and psychically. Edmeston doesn’t feel any shared sense of place with Worcester. Cooperstown and Oneonta are, as stated, dominant in name recognition.
The midterm elections are over, or mostly over, as tight returns leave many state and federal races close and uncertain. I, for one, am very glad that pre-election coverage and political mailings have ceased and we have voted.
We can now get back to our jobs, our community, and our lives, where real things happen, where we can make a difference to a person and to our community.
Encouraging philanthropy throughout Otsego County is a major goal for the Community Foundation of Otsego County. What better way to spark that interest than by engaging our youth? Our first-ever Student Voices, Student Choices Awards (SCSV) is a new competition for high school students to sharpen their focus on local needs and issues and encourage them to become leaders in their communities.
Four teams from participating high schools — Cherry Valley-Springfield, Edmeston, Gilbertsville-Mount Upton, and Richfield Springs — will identify the greatest needs in their communities, research organizations that address the needs, then present their causes to a panel of local leaders, educators, and perhaps, a celebrity or two.
As the Cooperstown Food Pantry marks 45 years of addressing food insecurity and poverty in the region, a new partnership with the Community Foundation of Otsego County will allow the organization to focus more on its core mission rather than investment management.
CFOC Executive Director Jeff Katz said the new Cooperstown Food Pantry Fund “will allow CFOC to help the Pantry with financial oversight, and also create a new way to donate through the CFOC website, including processing stock transfers, bequests, and other complex gifts.”
The Pantry program is part of CFOC’s Nonprofit Partner Investment Fund, a special service offered to 501(c)(3) organizations operating in Otsego County. The plan assists local nonprofits with investment management, accepts gifts from supporters, and monitors investment activities. With the program, CFOC can invest, account, and acknowledge gifts so a nonprofit can focus on its mission.
ST. PADDY’S DINNER – Noon. Celebrate St. Patrick’s day, support local fire department, and enjoy a corned beef and cabbage dinner. Dine-in or take-out available. Mount Vision Fire Department, 179 Co. Hwy. 11B, Mount Vision. 607-433-0997 or visit www.facebook.com/MountVisionFireDepartment
The Community Foundation of Otsego County is up and running and wants you to join us as one of our Founders.
We are OF the community, FOR the community, and want to do everything in our power to improve the quality of life for all residents of Otsego County. We also want to live by our values which include taking direction from the community we serve.
The concept of forming a philanthropic organization to serve one’s community is not new. There are over 750 community foundations across the nation. Successful foundations exist in New York counties to our north, east, south and west. The essential difference between a community foundation and a more common private foundation is that we are a public enterprise. Our funding is from our public and our responsibility is to our public – our friends and neighbors.
Many of the successful community foundations in our region of New York have taken decades to grow to the level where they are able to make a difference. Small but sure steps. One dollar at a time, invested so that spending was limited to earnings at the rate of 4 or 5% per year. The early emphasis was on asset building.
This is an important strategy and one that we are working on too. But we want to make a difference NOW. How can we do that?
Our approach is to raise seed capital that we are willing to invest in our community instead of in the stock market. Thus, our Founders Campaign is to secure $2 million. These funds will be used over the next five years, while our other strategy (accumulating investment assets) is pursued to secure our future sustainability.
Ours is a modern model. It borrows from the world of venture capital and private equity. It is founded on the bedrock confidence that our community will support our work. It is responsive to today’s needs.
The formation of Community Foundation of Otsego County is a vitally important step in the health of our county. It is an opportunity for neighbors and friends to join together to work smartly to address issues that need addressing.
We hope that many of you decide to join us as Founders. The amount of your support is up to you. We want broad participation. We have made it easy to join us. Send us a check. Make a five-year pledge (to match our five-year business plan). Donate appreciated stock or real estate. Use your credit card or Pay Pal.
Set up a monthly or annual payment program. Go to our website to get more information (cfotsego.org). Or simply mail us a check to P.O. Box 55, Springfield Center, NY 13468.
How are we doing so far, you ask? Well, our goal is $2 million. Today, we are 90% of the way to that target. Our entire board has joined as Founders as well as more than 100 others.
And are we making a difference now? Absolutely yes!
Our COVID Emergency Fund disbursed $200,000 in 27 awards. We have helped families put food on their tables, provided shelter to homeless individuals, supported over 100 small businesses and much more.
In 2021, we have allocated another $200,000 to meet challenges facing our community.
Please visit our website for details on our award programs.
Will you join us as a Founder? This is a once only opportunity to be part of a group of like-minded friends and neighbors dedicated to creating a force for good in our community.
We deeply believe that caring together makes us stronger together.
The Community Foundation of Otsego County announced Tuesday, May 11, that it is launching a new funding campaign to raise $2 million and has already taken in most of that money in pledges.
The 16-member board was formed about two years ago to help solve issues of business and poverty that are affecting Otsego County. When the coronavirus pandemic hit not long after the board formed, it rededicated its mission to help county residents and businesses survive the pandemic.
Board President Harry Levine said the group gave out more than $225,000 in pandemic funds and has been fundraising behind the scenes to ensure there is a financial base for the next half decade.
“You have got to show that you have gotten some primary support at the beginning and to show people that you are for real,” Levine said in an interview Saturday, May 8. “We are for real.”
This past weekend Bassett performed an amazing feat of vaccinating a large group of people, more than 1,100 over two days. The confirmation of vaccine availability only came though on Wednesday, March 3, leaving but two full days to prepare. Nevertheless, I visited on Sunday and it had the appearance of a military operation (which in a sense it was).
The Bassett community, from Dr. Tommy Ibrahim on down should be proud, as should the staff of the Clark Sports Center, which hosted the event.
I want to especially commend the Bassett Director of Network Pharmacy, Kelly Rudd, Pharm.D., who was in command of the clinic from planning through implementation.
She worked from the list of patients from the state, a list of patients from Bassett’s own scheduling system, and an ad hoc group of volunteers who worked to contact and track down people qualified to be vaccinated, but for whom the computer-driven scheduling system was difficult or even impossible to use.
Also, many thanks are due to the Bassett staff who took the time to make hundreds of calls to help schedule seniors 65+.
There are many reports of computer-savvy individuals signing up friends, family members, and neighbors for vaccine appointments. To see this community spirit and kindness is a great thing.
The clinic was also able to smoothly access the waiting list to make sure no dose went unused. The volunteer group – which went out and identified about 175 people who had difficulty finding appointments on their own – included church members, other faith-based organizations, philanthropic NGOs (non-government organizations) including the Community Foundation of Otsego County, and additional individuals.
Many had been working on an individual basis, but recognized the synergy of working together.
We have only one week left in 2020, a remarkable year that hit us with surprises and painful disease. We lost jobs, got sick, and even died due to COVID-19.
But the year had its bright spots too.
One of them was the extraordinary efforts by all the front-line medical professionals and other essential workers who risked their own health to serve us.
Another is the amazing generosity that poured out from members of our community to help those in need.
A third was the extraordinary efforts of our nonprofit sector that rose to meet many challenges with fewer resources.
As the year draws to a close, there are a few days remaining when you might consider gifts to those very nonprofits which performed so well for us all.
Our tax policy rewards those who make charitable donations by allowing donors to reduce their taxable income and save on taxes.
But there is a hard deadline of Dec. 31 for taking advantage of some good ideas for 2020.
Here are a few of those ideas:
• Taxpayers who do not itemize deductions are entitled to reduce their taxable income by up to $300 by simply making gifts before the end of the year to qualified charities.
• If you do itemize your deductions and want to donate at least $10,000 but are not yet ready to decide which organizations you want to support, you can establish a donor-advised fund and benefit from the tax deduction this year, while deciding later how to allocate your gift.
• Those with IRAs who are at least 70½ can make gifts to charities (up to $100,000) directly from an IRA and the distribution comes out tax-free instead of taxable. Be careful, however, as 2020 is a year in which there is no required minimum distribution and the age for starting RMDs has been extended to 72.
• For 2020 only (thanks to the CARES Act), donors are permitted to deduct charitable gifts equal to 100 percent of their adjusted gross income (compared to the usual 60 percent for cash gifts and 30 percent for gifts of appreciated stock).
• Speaking of appreciated stock, this week may be a good time to donate highly appreciated stock (owned for at least one year) and save having to pay capital gains tax. But you will need to get any transfer in motion quickly as the year is running to its end.
• A charitable gift annuity is another way to generate a tax deduction in 2020 while securing a fixed annual income. At death, the funds in the annuity go to your designated charity. The charitable deduction is relatively high right now as interest rates used to calculate the amount of the deduction are very low.
Please consult your own tax advisers for specifics on these ideas.
Regardless of whether tax considerations are important to you, this is a great time to show your appreciation for those nonprofits in our community that work tirelessly to help us and our neighbors.
Donating today and supporting those organizations would be a very nice way to say thanks for being there for us.
The Community Foundation of Otsego County is here to help you invest in your community. For additional information, contact us a email@example.com.
COOPERSTOWN – Our COVID Fund has now secured $220,000 to address many needs arising out of the pandemic. We issued 25 awards to date and have about $40,000 remaining to distribute.
Next Up is our plan for 2021. Our board has authorized allocation of $200,000 to the 2021 Awards Round. “We need community input on how to focus our investing these funds,” said Harry Levine, foundation board president.
Twenty-five non-profits have received funding so far, beginning with a $5,000 grant on May 5 to Helios Care, the successor to Catskill Area Hospice, for PPE equipment.
“COVID awards used funds to address issues ranging from rewarding first line health professionals with gift cards to buy food from local restaurants to extending working capital grants (not loans) to small businesses to help them get back on their feet after shuttering this spring,” Levine said.
“…Over 300 donors supported this Fund demonstrating the we live in a caring community.”