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St. Lawrence Central School contemplates partnership with NNY Community Foundation

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BRASHER FALLS — St. Lawrence Central School Board of Education members are pondering whether to join the Northern New York Community Foundation following a presentation by that organization’s executive director last week.

If the district becomes affiliated, the foundation, which started in 1929, would handle donations to the school, including scholarship funding.

“We started out as an educational foundation,” Executive Director Rande S. Richardson told board members. “We take education very seriously. It’s part of our heritage.”

The foundation’s main purpose is to act as a philanthropic nonprofit organization, working with donors and groups, including educational institutions.

It raises, manages and administers an endowment and collection of money for the community’s benefit, built and added to by gifts from individuals and organizations committed to meeting Northern New York’s changing needs.

The group’s primary investment to the community is through scholarships, but it also provides grants. It has provided more than $11 million in scholarship funding since 1980 and, in 2011-12, it gave $740,662 to 352 students in St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Lewis counties for educational pursuits.

Mr. Richardson said foundation members work with donors and organizations to offer what schools already do or would like to do. That, he said, allows donors to better direct their gifts to the school, a benefit for the school and the donor.

“Donors want to be able to have a conduit to do that. It’s all about providing the best opportunity for you,” he said.

The foundation can also handle “more complex gifts” and provide a higher tax deduction for the donor, Mr. Richardson said.

Using its services also alleviates any problems that might crop up with changes in a school’s administration, staff or superintendency.

“They have consistency,” he said.

It would mean less paperwork for the district, too, according to the executive director.

The foundation already is working with some schools in the region, including Potsdam Central School, where it has set up the Potsdam Educational Opportunities Fund.

The Norwood-Norfolk Central School District also is considering a contract with the organization after hearing a presentation by Mr. Richardson in November.

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