This is the final installment of our 40 For 40 series commemorating the Foundation’s 40th anniversary. To read all of the stories from throughout the year, click here.
What if you could do something to change the future? Impact the lives of hundreds, of thousands of people?
What if you could do it today?
Bonnie Larkin did.
Larkin is one of roughly 700 individuals who have established a permanent endowment fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to make a difference in the lives of people in her community.
After the untimely death of her husband, Larkin established The Donald E. Larkin Scholarship Fund in 2005.
“We didn’t have children,” Larkin said. “But (Donald and I) liked children and knew there could be some financial stress if they wanted to further their education.”
Over the past 13 years, 14 scholarships have been awarded to support undergraduate students with valid New York State sportsman and big game licenses. Something Donald, an avid outdoorsman, hunter and fisherman, would have loved.
“Donald would be so proud of the students receiving his scholarship,” Larkin said. “I am happy to be able to keep my husband’s memory alive.”
Larkin also expressed her pride in being a part of helping students pursue their dreams.
One student Larkin is helping is Kasey Crandall, who received her husband’s scholarship in 2017.
A Cassadaga Central School graduate, Crandall is studying geology at SUNY Fredonia and hopes to start a career in water resource management.
“I have a great passion for the Earth and its resources and I would like to do my part to protect it for future generations,” Crandall said.
Since 1978, the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation has worked with individuals, like Larkin, who want to see future generations thrive in school, in the workplace and in the community.
“I knew that if I created a fund with the Community Foundation that it would continue to grow and award scholarships to students forever,” Larkin explained. “CRCF is qualified to oversee the growth and awards long after I have passed.”
With assets close to $100 million, the Community Foundation has grown substantially from its initial investment of $300,000 in 1978. It has awarded nearly $55 million to support local nonprofit organizations, community initiatives and projects, and students of all ages with its nearly 900 funds.
And it shows no sign of slowing down.
For 40 years, the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation has worked together with its inspiring donors, selfless volunteers and grateful community organizations to share their stories for enriching the quality of life for all who live here.