The Value of the Unrestricted (Broadly Specific) Gift

Rande Richardson

“The great use of a life is to spend it for something that outlives it.” — William James, American philosopher 

I’m often asked what I see in trends in charitable giving. It has become evident over the past decade that the interest in unrestricted giving has been trending downward. Donors have been expressing their interest in being more directed in their support of their communities. 

    When the Community Foundation was incorporated 90 years ago it was done with the premise that making communities better belongs to everyone and that a donor in 1929 could not possibly fully anticipate the needs of the community nearly a century later. Their founding gifts were made with only one restriction —geography. Because of the foresight of these donors, their support has enabled: 

    ▪ Start-up grants to help establish Hospice of Jefferson County, North Country Children’s Clinic, Watertown Teen Center, Thousand Islands Performing Arts Fund (Clayton Opera House), Volunteer Transportation Center, and the North Country Children’s Museum.  

    ▪ Transformational grants to advance the work of Watertown Family YMCA, Samaritan Medical Center, Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library, Thompson Park Conservancy, Lewis County General Hospital, Carthage Area Hospital, River Hospital, Gouverneur Hospital, Clifton-Fine Hospital, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, Thousand Islands Land Trust, Children’s Home of Jefferson County, Disabled Persons Action Organization, and Jefferson Rehabilitation Center. 

    ▪ Ongoing support of organizations such as the Orchestra of Northern New York, Jefferson Community College, Jefferson County Historical Society, Frederic Remington Art Museum, Thousand Islands Arts Center, SPCA of Jefferson County, and WPBS. Support is provided each year to food pantries, soup kitchens and school programs across the three counties. 

    Many of the grants have come at pivotal points in the evolution of these organizations when there might not have been other resources available. They would not have been possible without the trust of an unrestricted gift. They were enabled by the willingness of community-minded donors who saw an avenue to focus their generosity in the broadest way with the highest degree of impact. Unrestricted giving remains the cornerstone of the ability to respond with flexibility to emerging needs at times when they are most needed. 

    This type of giving requires a deeper level of trust between the donor and the organization. While it is easy to resist the notion of leaving a gift at the discretion of an organization’s board, unrestricted giving is critical to almost every nonprofit organization. Even if a donor is supporting a specific program, those programs cannot thrive without the underlying health and supporting structure unrestricted giving provides. Full commitment to an organization helps ensure its health so the things donors care about most can be ably implemented. 

    For those unable to overcome the thought of a totally unrestricted gift, some Community Foundation donors have taken a hybrid approach. “Broadly specific” giving has seen the number of donor-directed funds at the Foundation grow substantially. Many of these funds support certain fields-of-interest (education, health care, environment, children and youth, history, arts and culture, animal welfare). There has also been a trend toward geographic-specific giving. A donor can restrict the use of the gift to a certain city, town or village, or county. Recently, six separate charitable funds have been established at the Community Foundation to benefit St. Lawrence County, including specific provisions for Gouverneur, Canton, Massena, Potsdam and the CliftonFine region. These join other funds that focus on specific communities such as Lowville, Boonville, Constableville and Westernville, Clayton, Cape Vincent, Alexandria Bay and the Six Towns of Southern Jefferson County. Some of those geographic-specific funds also have directives within them for certain focus areas. 

    Many donors have created endowments to benefit multiple nonprofit organizations in perpetuity in the spirit of an unrestricted gift with the accountability of a directed gift. These funds also contain field of interest language in the event a specific organization ceases operation. This certainly proves the point and has helped provide middle ground. 

    Whether it is unrestricted giving or broadly specific giving there are mechanisms available to help ensure the gifts are good for both the donor and community and are enduring and relevant far into the future. 

    While causes may come and go, we need strong charitable organizations to be nimble enough to meet the changing needs of a region bolstered with undesignated gifts. They provide both the fuel for growth and the proper execution of specific programs, projects and endeavors. Knowing the variety of options to support the work of nonprofits and affect change ultimately helps ensure that whatever way you choose to see your values and interests perpetuated, there are a variety of options to better guarantee lasting energy and actions with stewardship both broadly and specifically. In this way, every gift goes further. 

Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge

Rande Richardson

“Love is at the root of everything…all learning, all relationships…love or the lack of it. A great gift of any adult to a child is to love what you do in front of them. Let them catch the attitude.” –Fred Rogers

American treasure, children’s television icon and everyone’s favorite neighbor, Fred Rogers, is being honored with documentaries and on postage stamps in this year when he would have turned 90 and as Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood commemorates its 50th anniversary. Mister Rogers showed us all how a little compassion, kindness and love can make a world of difference in every neighborhood.

    Recently, the Northern New York Community Foundation, in partnership with Stage Notes, announced the results of the first “Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge.” This competition was an invitation for area middle school students to talk about the things they love about their community. They were competing to award a total of $10,000 to area charitable organizations. Whether they realized it or not, they were really exploring, thinking, and reflecting on the importance of love of community, love of the place where they live, and making it better for them and their neighbors.

    What does an ideal community look like through the eyes of our young people? Of the 62 essays submitted from 9 school districts, there were several common themes including love, kindness, joy, caring, connecting, safety, support, helping, togetherness, diversity, belonging, neighbors, beauty, happiness, betterment, belonging, sharing and respect. These young adults also recognized that it takes all different types of organizations to help create and sustain their best vision of their community as they nominated charities that they felt help supported their love of community.

    These young minds demonstrated an awareness that quality of life includes addressing the most basic of needs as well as the enhancement of quality of life. Sackets Harbor Central School student Adelyne Jareo, wrote an essay that won a $1,000 grant for Meals on Wheels of Greater Watertown. “To me, community means living through both good and bad times with people who love and support you,” she said. “Community is about connection and brightening someone’s day and making it better even in the smallest way possible.” I can assure you that if you were able to read every essay submitted, you would be inspired.

    Other organizations receiving grants include: Croghan Free Library, Lewis County Humane Society, Credo Community Center, Jefferson County SPCA, Carthage YMCA, Orchestra of Northern New York, Thousand Islands Emergency Rescue Service, PIVOT, Children’s Home of Jefferson County, Children’s Miracle Network, Croghan Volunteer Fire Department, Historical Association of South Jefferson, Cape Vincent Community Library, Clayton Figure Skating Club, Clayton Youth Commission, Hawn Memorial Library, Relay for Life of Jefferson County, and Thousands Islands Area Habitat for Humanity.

    As generational shifts continue, programs like this not only provide insight into how those who will inherit our communities think, they also are a proactive way to instill concepts of civic engagement and nurture the importance of giving of oneself to maintain a vibrant community. It is easy at times to cast doubt upon our community’s future. Indeed, recent generations relate differently, communicate in new ways and find relevancy in contrast to their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.

    I asked my 14-year-old son if he knew who Mister Rogers was. He did not. While the 1970’s me was stunned, I suspect if he watched the first broadcast of Mister Rogers’ neighborhood, the messages delivered would apply even more today. We all must find ways to continue to do all we can to pass along to our community’s children an affirmation of love. Our world needs it now more than ever. Every participant in the inaugural Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge gives us all reason to be hopeful and confident.

                We must not stop there. We must look for all the ways to present positive role models for our children and introducing them to ways to make a difference in expressions that are meaningful to them. We must show them how much we love our community. We must encourage and challenge them to carry the torch forward.  With your help, the Community Foundation will remain vigilant in providing pathways that will make all of our neighborhoods, and the organizations that enhance them, better. Our greatest gift to those who have come before us is to make sure those who come after see our example and love it enough to “catch” the attitude to perpetuate it.

rande richardson is executive director of the Northern New York Community Foundation. He is a lifelong Northern New York resident and former funeral director. Contact him at

Twenty young professionals are encouraged to use potential to better the north country

AMANDA MORRISON / WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES Shane Simser poses with his parents at the conclusion of the 20 under 40 luncheon, at which he was one of the honorees.

Shane Simser poses with his parents at the conclusion of the 20 under 40 luncheon, at which he was one of the honorees.


Keynote speaker Ruth A. Doyle encouraged emerging young leaders to embrace their potential and use it to improve the north country at the 20 under 40 luncheon Wednesday at the Hilton Garden Inn.

The St. Lawrence County administrator stressed the importance of remaining humble and sharing knowledge with the aspiring leaders at a time when the idea of the traditional workplace is “being challenged.” She said the young leaders should “maintain perspective” and accept the opportunities that were meant for them whether they involve their current organizations or other careers.

“It is no surprise that you have chosen fields that impact the world around you,” she said.

Family, coworkers, employers and industry leaders applauded as 20 emerging leaders under the age of 40 were honored with awards at the sixth annual 20 under 40 luncheon, hosted by NNY Business, a magazine owned by the Johnson Newspaper Corp.

The 20 were selected from 62 nominees with nearly 100 nominations and reviewed by a committee of Watertown Daily Times and NNY Business personnel, Michelle L. Capone, director of regional development for the Development Authority of the North Country, and Timothy P. Sweeney, general manager for Tunes 92.5/104.5 FM WBLH Radio and a member of NNY Business magazine’s 20 under 40 Class of 2012.

Mrs. Doyle said the 2016 class and its “depth of professionalism” showcased how small businesses, health care providers and municipal governments throughout the north country help young workers develop their abilities. She complimented organizations like BOCES and DANC, the banking industry and school districts in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties for fostering leadership and talent among young professionals.

“I must say, you are a mightily impressive group,” she said. “Indeed, a class to be proud of.”

Several members of the 20 under 40 class of 2016 said they were able to achieve success within the region by seeking out opportunities and communicating with local industry leaders.

Emily Hermon, 24, manager of the Scrub Hub and the youngest member of this year’s class, said the professors she had while attending Jefferson Community College helped her thrive in the local economy. Jake Moser, 38, who owns Moser’s Maple, Croghan, said that the north country’s ideals and virtues and the importance of tradition and family ties provide a support system for emerging leaders to develop their talents.

“Young people should look to get actively involved and give back to their community,” said Nathan P. Hunter, 36, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Northern Credit Union.

Also honored were David Adsit, 38, Kinney Drugs; Jennifer A. Barlow, 35, Children’s Home of Jefferson County; Todd J Burker, 36, Carthage Central School District; AmberLee Clement, 32, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County; Shawna Cutuli, 39, Watertown Family YMCA; Daniel D. Daugherty, 33, City of Watertown Fire Department; Rebekah L. Grim, 26, St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES; Kyle R. Hayes, 29, Gram’s Diner; Erica A. Leonard, 36, University Suites.

Also, Dr. Matthew Maynard D.O., 31, of North Country Emergency Medicine Consultants; Ashley E. Meade, 32, Community Bank N.A.; Sarah Parker-Ada, 29, Indian River High School; Korin Scheible, 39, Mental Health Association of Jefferson County; Melissa C. Schmitt, 28, Samaritan Medical Center Wound Care Center; Hartley Bonisteel Schweitzer, 29, DANC; Shane Simser, 33, the Morgia Group at HighTower Advisors, and Katy E. Troester-Trate, 36, of Jefferson Community College.

In six years, NNY Business Magazine has honored 123 emerging leaders who made an impact as rising stars in their professions and communities. The Times also honored 40 leaders younger than 40 in its 2009 Progress Edition.

In addition to the Morgia Group at HighTower Advisors, the presenting sponsor, event sponsors were the Northern New York Community Foundation, Watertown Savings Bank, New York Air Brake, RBC Wealth Management, Jefferson County Economic Development, Slack Chemical Co., Thousand Islands Young Leaders Organizations, the YMCA, Association of the United States Army NNY-Fort Drum Chapter, Timeless Frames, Decor and Expressions, Hilton Garden Inn, Watertown/Thousand Islands, Tunes 92.5/104.5 FM WBLH Radio, WBLH Radio and the Watertown Daily Times.

[Read more…]

October 2016: Business Briefcase


Optometrist hosts foster family day on the river

St. Lawrence County optometrist Dr. Robert Saidel hosted nearly 140 foster children and their foster families for a day of damily fun on the St. Lawrence River Sept. 25. family-day-on-the-river

Dr. Saidel has offices in Canton and Gouverneur. The event was held in conjunction with Uncle Sam’s Boat Tours, Alexandria Bay. The children and families were treated to a “Two Nation Tour” on the boat line. Dr. Saidel also provided snacks and beverages for all attending.

The event was made possible through Ryan’s Wish Foundation, founded by Dr. Saidel’s to honor the memory of his son. According to the foundation’s website, “Ryan Saidel was only 19 years old when he lost his battle with cancer. During his five-year struggle, Ryan touched the lives of countless people. To those around him, Ryan defined the word courage, as he lived his life inspiring others to make the best of each and every day.”

The Children’s Home of Jefferson County foster care program provides temporary care for children unable to live with their birth families or guardians. It allows children who may have been abused or neglected or have behavioral challenges and special needs the opportunity to live in a family setting, attend public school and be an active member of the community. Extensive training is offered to all foster parents.

Call Kim Hierholzer, 229-3481, or email to learn more about the Children’s Home foster parenting programs.



Longtime Massena retail store sets plan to close

After nearly 115 years serving the Massena area, Smith’s True Value Hardware will close its doors for the last time.

“We are going to keep operating this week as normal. Then next week, we are only going to be open on Thursdays and Fridays for a month, maybe a little bit longer,” said vice president Bill Hutchison. “We are just trying to sell off as much merchandise as we can.”

The reason for closing, according to Owner Bob Silmser, is simple.

“We are all retiring,” he said. “Our staff is an older staff and everybody is getting to retirement age. We have had people retire already and that is what it’s turning into.”

The hardware store has been in business in Massena since 1902. It occupied three different storefronts on Main Street before moving to its present location at 50 E. Orvis St. in 1979. Mr. Silmser, 61, who has worked at the store since he was 12, said his father and great-grandfather previously operated the store. He said the patrons have made working at the business a pleasurable experience.

“We have had lots and lots of good customers over the years. We appreciate all the good customers,” Mr. Silmser said. “We haven’t got a firm date or anything yet. Once it gets a little closer, we will be figuring out what we are going to do. It is just one of those things. When it’s time, it’s time.”



Tax cap crimps Jefferson County’s 2017 budget

With public discussions on the Jefferson County budget weeks away, Board of Legislators Chairman Scott A. Gray said devising the county’s tentative 2017 budget will be tough.

“We have some challenges, there’s no question,” he said.

With the state’s 2017 property tax cap at an all-time low of 0.68, this year’s cap was 0.73 percent. First instilled in 2012, the cap limits tax levy increases to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.

The low cap does not bode well for the county’s finances, as Mr. Gray said its tax revenue streams have not been able to keep pace with natural cost increases.

The Jefferson County Board of Legislators Finance Committee has passed a resolution designating the time and place for its 2017 tentative budget public hearing. The hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Historic Courthouse at 195 Arsenal St.

A tentative budget will be released sometime at the end of October.


October 2016: People on the Move

Child psychiatrist joins Children’s Home

Dr. B. Harrison Levine, M.D.

Dr. B. Harrison Levine, M.D.

Dr. B. Harrison Levine, M.D., has joined the staff at the Children’s Home of Jefferson County. Dr. Levine is a board-certified psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of children, adolescents, teens and young adults.

Dr. Levine’s expertise is in anxiety and mood and psychotic disorders with a focus on clarifying diagnoses and treating debilitating symptoms. Most recently, Dr. Levine was in private practice in Denver, Colo. He has also served as medical director, psychiatric consultation/liaison and emergency services, Bridge Clinic, and Med/Psych Clinic — all at The Children’s Hospital, University of Colorado at Denver.

For the past five years, Dr. Levine has been selected a “Top Doc” by Denver’s 5280 Magazine. In 2010, he was honored by The Children’s Hospital, University of Colorado at Denver, for the “Development and Implementation of the Behavioral Assistance Resource Team.”

Dr. Levine is a graduate of Columbia University Medical School for International Health, Beersheva, Israel, as well as the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, Pa. He completed residency in general Adult psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Mich., and held a child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at New York Presbyterian Hospital of Columbia and Cornell universities, New York City.


New provider at Carthage Family Health Center

Kelsey Mollura

Kelsey Mollura

Kelsey Mollura, PA, has joined Carthage Area Hospital as the latest primary care provider at the Carthage Family Health Center, Carthage.

Ms. Mollura earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pa., and a master’s degree in physician assistant studies from Arcadia University, Glenside, Pa.

Previously, Ms. Mollura worked in an internal medicine/geriatric office in Pittsburgh and in an ENT/sleep medicine office in Greenbelt, Md.




Named general manager at Watertown Olive Garden

North country native Tim Yoder was recently named general manager of the Watertown Olive Garden restaurant.

Mr. Yoder began his career with Olive Garden in 2004 as a line cook in State College, Pa. During the past 12 years, he has used his industry knowledge and leadership skills to advance with the company.

Mr. Yoder will lead 80 team members as general manager of the Watertown restaurant, 20988 Salmon Run Mall Loop West.

Before he was named general manager, Mr. Yoder worked in all areas of restaurant management at the Rochester, Big Flats and Watertown Olive Garden locations.


Carthage Area Hospital hires physical therapist

Karlye R. Eastman

Karlye R. Eastman

Carthage Area Hospital recently welcomed physical therapist Karlye R. Eastman to its Carthage Therapy Services staff.

Ms. Eastman completed her education at Clarkson University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in 2013 and received an Innovation and entrepreneurship degree with a concentration in pre-physical therapy. She completed a doctor of physical therapy in 2016.

She is an avid reader and enjoys incorporating evidence-based practice into her daily treatment sessions. Ms. Eastman has clinical experience with workers compensation, the military population, school-based pediatrics and acute care.



Historical Society appoints new director

The Jefferson County Historical Society Board of Trustees recently appointed Jordan B. Walker as executive director.

Jordan Walker

Jordan Walker

Ms. Walker will continue the transition begun under the leadership of interim executive director Peter J. Whitmore, who served in the position since mid-July, following the resignation of former executive director Diana Page Jordan.

Ms. Walker, a 2011 St. Lawrence University graduate brings more than five years managerial and curatorial experience after serving as manager of collections, archives and exhibits for the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority, Boldt Castle, Heart Island, Alexandria Bay.

Ms. Walker holds a bachelor’s degree in history. She is also the Jefferson County Branch secretary of the American Association of University Women and a member of the EMERGE Professionals Group of Northern New York.



Antique Boat Museum names new curator

Claire Wakefield

Claire Wakefield

Claire Wakefield has been named permanent curator at the Antique Boat Museum, Clayton, a role she had filled on an interim basis since March.

As curator, she is responsible for building and guiding the course of the museum’s artifact, library and archival collections and for directing and developing content for exhibitions and public programs related to collections.

Ms. Wakefield joined the museum staff in 2010 as membership and marketing coordinator. In 2013 she became the assistant curator.

As assistant curator she worked on a variety of projects, including recent exhibitions such as the Antique Raceboat Regatta poster art installation, the history of the Matthews Boat Company, and The National Motor Boat Show. She has also led the first digitization efforts of the museum’s archives leading to the broader availability of important research materials to the general public.

“Claire brings a positive attitude and an eye for the details,” ABM Executive Director Rebecca Hopfinger said. “She will be a strong steward for the museum’s vast collection and I am proud to name her to the position of curator.”

An alumna of Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pa., with a degree in museum studies, Ms. Wakefield began her career as assistant registrar at the Juniata College Museum of Art, and also held a previous post at the Albany Institute of History and Art.  Ms. Wakefield lives in Clayton.

The Antique Boat Mueseum is open to visitors seasonally, May through October.


Robbins Family Grain/North Harbor Dairy names business manager

Robbins Family Grain Co. and North Harbor Dairy have hired Jennifer L. Hunter as the farm’s business manager.

Jennifer Hunter

Jennifer Hunter

In her new position, Ms. Hunter will be responsible for monitoring financial details of the businesses, acting as a business advisor, providing consultation to the dairy and assisting with labor management.

Ms. Hunter was most recently assistant branch manager of Farm Credit East’s Potsdam office. She was with Farm Credit for four years. She previously served as a dairy specialist with Cargill Animal Nutrition.

“I’m excited for this new opportunity where I can put my passion for agriculture and my experience in business and finance to work,” Ms. Hunter said.

“The Robbins family has built a successful, innovative business over the years,
and I’m looking forward to helping their operations continue to prosper into the future.”

Ms. Hunter holds an associate degree from SUNY Cobleskill in animal science, a bachelor’s from SUNY Cobleskill in agriculture business and a master of agricultural education from SUNY Oswego.

August 2016 Feature Story: Children’s Miracle Network

A new ‘miracle’ worker

Kristin M. Stockwell was named development manager for Samaritan Medical Center’s Children’s Miracle Network program in June. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Kristin M. Stockwell was named development manager for Samaritan Medical Center’s Children’s Miracle Network program in June. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Personal experience motivates CMN development manager

By Joleene Moody, NNY Business

The north country is about to experience the Children’s Miracle Network like never before. In June, Samaritan Medical Center appointed Kristin M. Stockwell as its CMN development manager. [Read more…]

August 2016 Feature Story: Community Clinic of Jefferson County

Celebrating a milestone

Jennifer Earl is director of clinical operations at the Community Clinic of Jefferson County, an affiliate of the Children’s Home of Jefferson County. The clinic marks its fifth anniversary this year. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Jennifer Earl is director of clinical operations at the Community Clinic of Jefferson County, an affiliate of the Children’s Home of Jefferson County. The clinic marks its fifth anniversary this year. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Community Clinic of Jefferson County marks its fifth year

By Joleene Moody, NNY Business

When Mercy Behavioral Health and Wellness closed its doors as a mental health provider in June 2011, officials blamed poor Medicaid reimbursement as the culprit. The shuttered clinic left a gaping hole in the community for severely mentally ill patients. So when the Community Services Board in Watertown opened a bid for proposals for a county entity to acquire the operation, the Children’s Home of Jefferson County applied. They were humbly selected. [Read more…]

June 2016: People on the Move

Children’s Home director certified as human resources professional



Jesse Roshia, Children’s Home of Jefferson County director of human resources, recently passed the Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional Exam. [Read more…]

April 2016: People on the Move

Named RBC branch director of the year

B_POM_CyrilMouaikel_0416 WEBCyril Mouaikel, branch director for the Watertown office of RBC Wealth Management, was recently named Branch Director of the Year for RBC Wealth Management – U.S., CEO John Taft announced in a letter to clients. [Read more…]

Business of the Year award recipients honored by Watertown chamber

Krafft Cleaning services’ Lynn E. Krafft, left, and Justin Krafft receive the For Profit, Fifty or Fewer Employees Business of the Year Award Thursday from Kylie Peck, president of Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce at Savory Downtown. Photo by Justin Sorensen, Watertown Daily Times.

Krafft Cleaning Services’ Lynn E. Krafft, left, and Justin Krafft receive the For Profit, Fifty or Fewer Employees Business of the Year Award Thursday from Kylie Peck, president of Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce at Savory Downtown. Photo by Justin Sorensen, Watertown Daily Times.

With roots in the city that go back to 1915, RBC Wealth Management was among the 2015 Business of the Year award recipients honored Thursday by the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce. [Read more…]