Fulton County

Gloversville Senior Center having money trouble

Although the Gloversville Senior Center fell far short of the $100,000 fundraising goal it set last

Although the Gloversville Senior Center fell far short of the $100,000 fundraising goal it set last month, its leaders say it has raised enough to stay open for the near future while it builds a more sustainable financial model.

In December, the center launched a GoFundMe page seeking $100,000 to pay, among other things, a $57,000 mortgage.

More than a month later, that fundraiser has not hit $1,000.

But Tom Thompson, president of the senior center board, said the center has raised between $10,000 and $15,000 in other fundraising efforts, including a letter campaign.

That’s enough to keep it going for several months, he said.

“We’re better than we’ve been in a couple years, but we’re not out of the woods yet,” he said. “People were betting last October that we wouldn’t even make it to the end of the year.”

He said the money came mostly from many small donations, people who pledged to donate $5 a month or so, as well as the fundraising efforts of Senior Center Director Ellen DiScioscia and an increase in the funding provided by the city of Gloversville.

“All that little stuff adds up,” he said. “There’s not a lot of well-heeled people left here anymore. The ‘Big Glove people’ are long gone, and that’s where the money was. But it’s a lot of people that have stepped up and given some unexpected help.”

He said he does not expect to be able to pay off the mortgage any time soon, but is working on more sustainable funding solutions, like grant-writing and community partnerships.

For the past few years, he said, the center has rented about a third of its space to FulMont Community Action, and has recently begun negotiating partnerships with the Lexington Center and St. Mary’s Hospital that would generate some revenue.

“We’ve got to work on a way past the Band-Aid approach — when you need money, you scream and people will help you out,” he said. “We can’t do that.”

He said the center is also looking for a grant writer, to bring in more regular funding.

The city increased its contribution to $12,000 in 2016 from $9,000 in 2015. Mayor Dayton King said in December he was willing to discuss other possibilities for the center, such as bringing it under the city’s recreation committee, but he was wary of further increasing the city’s contribution.

The senior center offers a variety of services in the community well beyond the senior population, Thompson said, hosting meetings for groups like Little League and Girl Scouts as well as offering art classes, open mic events, community breakfasts and other activities.

“We’re becoming more than just a senior center, more like a community service center,” he said.

Wally Truesdell, who has organized the Writers Circle at the senior center for more than 20 years, said the group would likely have no place to meet without the center.

On Thursday, he said he’d like to see the Gloversville community support the center more, given all the services it provides.

“I think the Gloversville Senior Center is an asset to the community and the surrounding area and it would be a shame for citizens to not have this venue,” he said.

Reach Gazette reporter Kyle Adams at 723-081, [email protected] or @KyleRAdams on Twitter.

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