To the greatest extent possible, Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady County wants its money to go directly toward its homeownership program, executive director Madelyn Thorne said.
But at the same time, she said, the roof under which the agency sits is falling apart.
For that reason, Thorne said she appreciated the $5,000 grant her agency received Tuesday from an Albany credit union’s charitable arm.
In all, the CAP COM Federal Credit Union’s CAP COM Cares Foundation handed out 20 grants of $5,000 each to various nonprofit organizations in the Capital Region, with the city of Schenectady and Saratoga County programs well represented.
Habit for Humanity will use the $5,000 to help pay for the replacement of the aging roof on its Broadway building in Schenectady. The building houses its administrative offices, boardrooms, kitchen, two bathrooms, and a ReStore business, where volunteers work in public shops to support the agency’s mission.
“It’s a start,” Thorne said of the grant, “and it gets us going. It’s the beginning of our capital campaign that we are just initiating. We are a downtown merchant,” with ReStore, which she said creates sales tax revenue for Schenectady County while keeping millions of tons of items out of landfills annually.
“ReStore is a benefit to the whole community, but we need the place to be safe and right now, we need a little help with our old roof,” Thorne said.
Northern Rivers Family of Services will use its grant for upgrades to a residential program for children in Schenectady. The money will go toward maintaining an in-ground swimming pool, modernizing its outdoor cooking equipment and upgrading outdoor seating areas for students.
William Gettman, CEO of the Albany-based organization that offers a variety of services to children, adults, and families struggling from abuse, neglect, trauma, mental health, education, career training and employment, among other needs, said of the need for the money:
“The kids have been living in our programs since COVID began. We’re using the money to upgrade our summer pool and our picnic areas so the kids can begin to recreate, and their parents can come visit.”
Gettman thanked the credit union’s charitable arm for helping the agencies with infrastructure needs that government funding agencies and typical donors tend to overlook.
Grant awards also went to other Schenectady and Saratoga County agencies:
– Captain Community Human Services of Clifton Park will use the $5,000 for updates to its community center and emergency youth shelter. The money will be used to replace five computers in the community center, and a new security system and front door in the organization’s youth shelter.
– Crossroads Center for Children of Schenectady, a private nonprofit school serving about 120 children from 20 school districts who were diagnosed with autism, will use the money to increase the safety and health of the school by contributing to the creation of individual spaces for clinic students from a larger space that is currently shared, and a bathroom for the clinic.
– Rebuilding Together Saratoga County in Ballston Spa will use the money to improve accessibility to its building, which serves individuals who are disabled and older adults with limited mobility.
– Safe Inc., whose Project Safe and Safe House programs serve at-risk youth in Schenectady County, will use the donation to update its youth emergency housing shelter and hire contractors to install new flooring to enhance the space and make it more comfortable and welcoming.
– The Social Enterprise and Training (SEAT) Center, a workforce development Agency in Schenectady that serves underrepresented young people in Schenectady, Troy and Albany, also received a grant. It will use the money to hire a contractor to help explore how to get the most out of its database.
Executive Director Jennifer Lawrence explained that the company will help the agency learn how to better manage its data, to report information to funding sources, investors and community partners at the local, state and federal levels, and receive training on customizing reports and dashboards to optimize its ability to share and effectively articulate the agency’s impact in the community.
– Veterans Community Housing Coalition, a Ballston Spa-based organization that provides housing and support services to homeless military veterans and their families, will contribute to the building of a home for veteran mothers and their children who are homeless.
– The Charlton School of Burnt Hills, a nonprofit residential treatment center and special education school for students in the 8th to 12th grades, will use the money to update dorm facilities.
– Schenectady Inner City Mission will help build pavilions at its urban farm project. It’s a meeting place for farmers and a place to share meals, and a work and resting place for teaching and programming.
– Wellspring of Saratoga Springs, a domestic violence and sexual assault services resource for residents of Saratoga County, will use the money to create a podcast for awareness and education about the agency and the victims it serves.
The CAP COM Cares Foundation originally wanted to dedicate $50,000 for 10 organizations.
But after receiving more than 60 applications, its board of directors recommended doubling the program.
Chris McKenna, the credit union’s president and CEO, said the foundation was giving money to what the charitable arm calls “unsexy money initiatives” for which agencies don’t usually give tours.
He called the collection of 20 agencies “superstars” for their work in the community.
“Sometimes people will come to us and thank us so much for giving money,” said McKenna, the leader of the second-largest credit union in the Capital Region. “But we actually want to, in turn, thank you for everything that you do for the folks that live and work, and breathe every day in your community. Because you really are the heroes that can make a difference.”