Churches, cemetery associations get grants

Marjorie Rock

WATERTOWN — Six St. Lawrence County churches and cemetery associations were the recipients of nearly $100,000 from the Rock Charitable Fund of the Northern New York Community Foundation.

The funding will be used to preserve and maintain churches in the region.

The recipients included the Roman Catholic Church of St. Mary, Canton; St. John’s Episcopal Church, Massena; Gouverneur First United Methodist Church; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Waddington; Lisbon Cemetery Association; and Purmort Cemetery Corp., Depeyster.

A board of advisers in St. Lawrence County — Ruth McWilliams, South Colton; Sarah Maneely, Canton; Fred Hanss, Hannawa Falls; Keith Zimmerman, Canton; and Erik Backus, Potsdam reviewed the applications and made funding recommendations They worked in collaboration with the Northern New York Community Foundation, which administers the permanent charitable legacy fund.

The Roman Catholic Church of Saint Mary will use a $35,000 grant to support the first phase of its campaign to restore and protect its historical structure and property. The funding will support repairs to the bell tower, statue, trim and foundation.

In Massena, St. John’s Episcopal Church received a $23,775 grant that will be used to restore exterior brickwork and repair windows and landscaping. Deteriorating brick in areas on the east side of the church will be replaced along with other repairs.

The Gouverneur First United Methodist Church will be able to restore two stained-glass windows included in a multi-year restoration with $17,475 in grant funding. The building is veneered with native Gouverneur marble and the trimmings of Potsdam sandstone.

The $14,000 grant received by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Waddington will be used to restore its prominent stained glass window behind the altar. The church was established in 1818, making it the oldest Episcopal church north of the Mohawk River. The native stone structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Waddington Historic District.

The Lisbon Cemetery Association received an $8,315 grant to support restoration and replacement of more than 100 damaged stones. Monuments will be cleaned, restored and preserved using the funding.

The Purmort Cemetery Corp. will use its $650 grant to remove a dying maple tree. Its removal will prevent damage that would be caused should the tree be left to fall on its own.

This was the first round of competitive grants from the Rock Charitable Fund, which was established at the Northern New York Community Foundation in 2019 through a bequest from St. Lawrence County resident and retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Marjorie Rock, who died in February 2017 at the age of 96.

Community Foundation Executive Director Rande Richardson said that because of Ms. Rock’s foresight and generosity, her desire to support St. Lawrence County will be perpetuated for generations to come.

“The response to the first round of competitive grants was impressive. It is clear that Marjorie’s legacy is addressing areas of great need in St. Lawrence County,” Mr. Richardson said in a statement.

“Historic preservation and cemetery grants are not always easy to find, but this fund can help get a project off the ground or see it to completion. In future years we hope to also assist veterans as one of Marjorie’s three focus areas. We are grateful for the opportunity to help improve and strengthen the region in these meaningful and enduring ways forever,” he said.

Grant applications for 2021 funding will be accepted this fall, with up to $100,000 available to qualified organizations whose missions and efforts align with the funds charitable purposes — for the maintenance and preservation of churches and cemeteries in St. Lawrence County; for the preservation and maintenance of places of legitimate historical significance in the county; and to benefit and/or assist veterans of the United States military who reside in St. Lawrence County for their medical and/or recreational needs.

Grants in support of veterans will only be awarded to qualified organizations and cannot be made directly to individuals.

Contact Community Foundation Director of Stewardship and Programs Kraig Everard at or 315-782-7110 to obtain a grant application or learn more about this funding opportunity.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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