October 25, 2021

$55K infused into Cortland

Joe McIntyre/file photo

Victoria Riccardi of Cortland, owner of Vickie’s Hair Fashion, styles Breanna Wing’s hair during a Believers’ Chapel Back to School Party in this file photo. The event provided free backpacks, hair cuts and school supplies to children.

CORTLAND — The Central New York Community Foundation has awarded $55,000 in the second year of its Cortland County Bright Ideas grants to 11 nonprofit organizations.

This is the most awarded so far in Cortland Bright Ideas history, states a release from the foundation.

“We have a number of donors that care about Cortland,” said Tom Griffith, vice president of development at the foundation.

The grants were made possible by contributions from the Fenstermacher Fund, Cortland Community Foundation, Yaman Foundation, Bertini Family Foundation, Roland Fragnoli Family Fund and Nicholas A. Renzi Sr., as well as several anonymous donors.

Applicants were invited to submit a “bright idea” for enhancing their nonprofit and explain how that idea will help the organization better serve the community.

The 23 submissions were evaluated on community effect, collaboration and sustainability.

“We were pleased with the success of the first year of this program and were excited to have again received a number of proposals for some really great projects,” said Nick Renzi, a Bright Ideas grants program donor and committee member.

“We are really excited about having the grant money. It’s giving us the opportunity to move into the technology field,” said Pam Miller, aging services coordinator at the county Area Agency on Aging.

Miller is working with the nonprofit Coalition of Center Councils of Cortland County, which obtained the grant for special tools.

Now, caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia will be able to access a Reminder Rosie alarm clock to set reminders for their loved ones with impaired memory, such as to take medication or check blood pressure.

“The caregiver gets to record the message in their own voice. It’s like a 1980s alarm clock. It’s easy to use,” Miller said. And it can help seniors live independently longer. The coalition got funds for 30 clocks and 40 automatic blood pressure cuffs.

“It’s one more thing to offer caregivers to relieve stress,” Miller said.

The Fenstermacher Fund, administered by the Central New York Community Foundation, serves as a catalyst for the Bright Ideas program. Ted Fenstermacher was a Cortland lawyer who served as a chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg war crimes trials following World War II. The Fenstermacher Fund, established through his bequest in 2001, has supported the community needs for more than 15 years, largely through the funding of a lecture series, before the launch of Bright Ideas.

“It is our mission to steward donors’ intentions and bring together people with common interests to make a bigger impact,” said Peter Dunn, president & CEO of the Central New York Community Foundation. Other recipient of grants:

• 1890 House Museum to expand its concert series to showcase additional local and regional artists.

• Believer’s Chapel Cortland to buy 500 backpacks, 100 haircuts and school supplies for its Back 2 School Event, which provides underserved children with basic necessities at the beginning of each school year.

• Cincinnatus Area Heritage Society to buy new pew cushions for its A Cushy Job program in Heritage Hall, a community center for education and cultural events.

• Cooperative Extension of Cortland County to buy laptops, digital cameras, 3-D printers and robotics kits for its 4-H STEM Initiative, which provides youth programming in science, technology, engineering and math.

• Cortland Repertory Theatre for its Art for Lunch program, which provides hands-on arts experiences during Catholic Charities’ free summer lunches in the park.

• Seven Valleys Health Coalition to buy a new Mighty costume for its Mighty Molar program, which teaches kids about dental health.

• YWCA Cortland to launch its Be the Change You Wish to See in the World project, which will teach children about tolerance.

• Puzzler Solvers to create a monthly autism family support group for families affected by autism spectrum disorder.

• Pajama Program to buy pajamas and books for children.

• New Ministries to support its Easing Stress for Our Elderly project, which provides housekeeping support for rural elders and transportation to shop for food and other needs.

To learn more about the Cortland County Bright Ideas grants program, including how to contribute, visit www.cnycf.org/cortland.