The original purpose of the Karl Peterson Funds were to “benefit of such religious, educational, charitable, and scientific purposes as, in the judgment of the (committee) shall be in furtherance of the public welfare and tend to assist, encourage and promote the well-doing or well-being of mankind or of the inhabitants of any community.” Since acquiring the Karl Peterson Funds in the early 90s, the Community Foundation has remained true to this purpose and, each year, continues to award organizations in the name of Karl Peterson. This past April the Foundation Board of Directors approved the 2006 Karl Peterson Grants.
All of the Community Foundation grant processes are different in their own right, but the Karl Peterson Grants process is probably the most unique, largely because of the purpose previously stated. While Karl Peterson Grants do focus on educational and scientific programs, it is the religious aspect that is the most distinctive of these grants. The Karl Peterson Grants process is the only Foundation grant process that focuses on assisting area churches, and one of the only grant programs in the entire area that does so.
This year 23 area churches received Karl Peterson Grant monies for a variety of different projects. These projects include preschool programs, facility improvements, audio/visual upgrades, and office equipment. A few of the 23 churches that received an award are: Ashville United Methodist Church, Cherry Creek/Leon United Methodist Church, Forestville Wesleyan Church, Gerry Free Methodist Church, Kennedy First United Methodist Church, Mt. Zion Assembly, and the Randolph United Presbyterian Church. Overall, this grant process has become critical to all churches that receive funding county-wide, as many of these churches do not have the monies needed for these types of projects in their budgets.
However, Karl Peterson Grants are not solely restricted to providing monies for religious institutions. Any organization or project that is furthering the well-being of the community and its citizens is also eligible for Karl Peterson Grant funding. Some such organizations, other than churches, to receive a 2006 grant include: Chautauqua County Water Emergency Team, Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet, Drama Enrichment Program, Joint Neighborhood Project, Lakeview Cemetery Association, and the James Prendergast Library, among others.
In total, 38 organizations, both churches and other non-profits, received Karl Peterson Grant funding in 2006. The total amount of awards was over $18,000. While this grant process is not as large as others, the impact is certainly felt by every organization that receives a grant. Congratulations to all the 2006 recipients!
Karl Peterson firmly believed in giving back to the community and doing everything he could to improve the well-being of the community’s citizens. This ideal lives on at the Community Foundation. As long as this grant process continues, the Foundation Board and staff will do all that is possible to fulfill Karl Peterson’s original intent. You, too, can help by contributing to the Karl Peterson Funds by calling 661-3390. Each dollar added to these funds will enable the Foundation to grant more monies to churches and other organizations in the name of Karl Peterson. This will not only help keep Karl Peterson’s legacy intact but will also create a better community he envisioned many years ago.
Published in the May 14th edition of The Post-Journal