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Yates relief fund delivers big for local businesses and organizations amid pandemic

The Yates Community Endowment’s Yates Emergency Relief Fund, launched in early May,   has distributed 23 grants totaling $106,035 to nonprofit organizations supporting Yates County residents and businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launched in early May, the fund has raised more than $140,000 so far with contributions from individuals, businesses, family foundations, and organizations. Every dollar raised is being distributed to nonprofits providing critical services in Yates County.

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The Emergency Relief Fund is focused on supporting immediate and urgent needs, recovery as nonprofits return to normal operations, and resiliency relief to help nonprofits most crucial to communities’ ability to thrive. Since grant applications opened eight weeks ago, a committee has been meeting weekly to reviewing the newest requests for funding.

“With each passing week, the depth of the needs in our communities continues to be eye-opening,” says Ann McMullen, a member of the Yates Community Endowment Advisory Board and co-chair of the committee reviewing grants. “This crisis is affecting every person, every organization, and every business, and we are trying to do what we can to support the essential services that people need.”

The Yates Community Endowment’s relief efforts are by no means done. Grant applications from nonprofits continue to be submitted and reviewed on a rolling basis. Applications can be made by logging into the Community Foundation’s grant portal, which can be found at

More importantly, contributions to the Emergency Relief Fund are still needed, particularly as agencies in Yates County reopen and adapt to new ways of working. Donations can be made online using a credit card at or mail a check payable to Yates Emergency Relief Fund, c/o Yates Community Endowment, 500 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607.

The recipients of grants from the Emergency Relief Fund so far are:

  • Arts Center of Yates County ($5,000) — Helps to cover costs of compliance of local and state health and safety regulations.
  • Catholic Charities Community Services ($5,000) — For cleaning equipment upgrades for Yates County homes serving individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension-Yates County ($5,000) — To develop and print Yates Farm Update and other COVID-19 special edition newsletters.
  • Dundee Central School District ($5,000) — To help the district’s families in crisis with paying utilities, rent, mortgages and other necessities that existing community resources don’t address.
  • Dundee Children’s Center ($5,000) — Supports this nonprofit organization that provides child care and nursery school services.
  • Dundee Library ($1,935) — To purchase protection and sanitizing equipment for when the library reopens.
  • Finger Lakes Health Foundation ($3,000) — For the purchase of personal protective equipment.
  • Finger Lakes Museum ($5,000) — To support ongoing operational costs so the museum can continue offering experiential events related to the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the Finger Lakes region.
  • Finger Lakes Economic Development Center of Yates County ($2,500) — To bolster support for local retail businesses through the “Be Local, Buy Local” gift certificate program by adding 20 percent to certificates’ value for purchases of $25 or more.
  • Friendship House of Middlesex, Inc. ($7,500) — Two separate grants to support the organization’s food pantry and operations.
  • Legal Assistance of Western New York ($5,000) — To support the Housing and Public Benefits Hotline and Advocacy Project for local residents.
  • The Living Well ($15,000) — Two grants made to assist households with paying utilities (electrical, propane, fuel oil, coal, wood, and kerosene).
  • Mozaic, formerly Arc of Yates and Arc of Seneca Cayuga ($10,000) — Two separate grants to support Keuka Lake School in Penn Yan and the cost of adding employees at its residential facilities.
  • Penn Yan Central School District Family Support Services ($5,000) — Provides support for the extended school day and child care program in schools after state funding was eliminated.
  • Penn Yan Public Library ($6,100) — For equipment and technology upgrades to transition back into serving the public.
  • ProAction of Steuben and Yates, Inc. ($7,500) — Two grants made to allow the Hope Center Keuka Food Pantry to continue to help residents dealing with food insecurity during the pandemic.
  • Rainbow Junction Ltd. ($5,000) — For technology and classroom upgrades for children ages six weeks to age 12 in this Penn Yan educational childcare center.
  • Yates Cultural & Recreational Resources, Inc. ($5,000) — To continue operations of the fitness center, ELEVATE Youth, Core Adult programming at the Yates Community Center and its trails and fields.
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