LEAD Council launches giving fund challenge

WATERTOWN — The LEAD Council of the Northern New York Community Foundation has launched its year-end LEAD Philanthropy Challenge to support the tri-county region. The council is restarting its LEAD Holiday Giving Fund at the Foundation and providing a matching challenge, so each gift to the fund will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $5,000.

LEAD members will also collect new toys, which will be donated to help brighten the holidays for local children in need. The challenge started Monday, and will run through Dec. 1. Last year, the LEAD Council raised $6,000 to support local holiday initiatives and distributed hundreds more in material donations.

“This challenge is something our members look forward to every year,” Erin Simser, LEAD Council chair, said in a statement. “As we get closer to the holiday season, it brings great joy to our members to see the community come together to support those in need.”

The LEAD Council is comprised of 24 young professionals who live and work in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties and is empowered to develop creative initiatives that directly benefit the community and to award strategic grants to tri-county nonprofit organizations that enhance the quality of life in the region.

“We always strive to make a positive impact on our communities,” said Jennifer Voss, LEAD Holiday Giving Fund executive committee member. “Being able to provide toys to children who may not otherwise receive any at Christmas fills our buckets, and we encourage community members to join us and donate new toys that we will distribute across the North Country.”

The LEAD Council program is made possible through the Hyde-Stone Charitable Foundation, Carthage Savings and Loan Association, Morgia Wealth Management, and donors to the Friends of the Foundation Annual Community Betterment Fund.

Total gifts contributed to the LEAD Holiday Giving Fund will be evenly distributed to the following community initiatives and nonprofit partner organizations:

— Christmas Crusade for Kids: Led by Tunes 92.5/104.5 FM, this collaborative effort with the CAPC, Watertown Urban Mission and Salvation Army of Watertown provides holiday gifts to children and families across Northern New York.

— Christmas Sharing Holiday Assistance: This program of the Lowville Food Pantry distributes gifts, toys, food boxes and more to children, families and seniors in need across Lewis County.

— Potsdam Holiday Fund: This nonprofit provides annual support to St. Lawrence County individuals and families in need with gifts, food baskets and winter clothing.

Those looking to support LEAD’s efforts may make gifts to the Northern New York Community Foundation, 131 Washington St., Watertown, NY 13601, or online at nnycf.org with the designation of LEAD Holiday Fund. To learn more about LEAD and its work, contact Max DelSignore, Community Foundation assistant director, at 315-782-7110 or max@nnycf.org.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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