$45,000 Infused into Cortland County through New Grant Program

Cortland, NY (April 4, 2018) – The Central New York Community Foundation awarded its first-ever Cortland County Bright Ideas grants to nine nonprofit organizations. Each received a $5,000 grant toward a program enhancement.

The grants were awarded through the Fenstermacher Fund, which was established at the Community Foundation in 2001 to broadly support causes in Cortland County. Last year, a group of Cortland-area residents stepped up to amplify the available funds and launch Bright Ideas.

In January, applicants were invited to submit a ‘bright idea’ for enhancing their nonprofit and explain how that idea will help the organization to better serve its community. Eight donors and community representatives met last month to discuss the applications. Each submission was evaluated based on community impact and sustainability.

“We received applications from a variety of organizations that had bright ideas ranging across the spectrum,” said Nick Renzi, a Bright Ideas grants program donor and committee member. “I was proud to support this; the experience has provided me a wealth of information on the impact being made by organizations in Cortland County.”

Ted Fenstermacher was a prominent attorney that served as a chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg war crimes trials following World War II. The Fenstermacher Fund, established through a bequest from Mr. Fenstermacher, has supported the general needs of the community for more than 15 years, largely through the funding of a lecture series. Now, it is serving as a catalyst for other community members to provide funding for Cortland area nonprofits.

“We work to steward donors’ intentions and it is our mission to bring together people with common interests to make a bigger impact,” said Peter Dunn, president & CEO of the Central New York Community Foundation. “We are pleased that the generosity of Mr. Fenstermacher and the other donors will support these important needs in Cortland County.”

The selection committee was comprised of the following organizations and community members, some of whom also contributed to the fund: United Way for Cortland County, Cortland Community Foundation, Linda Dickerson Hartsock, Nicholas A. Renzi, Sr., The Yaman Foundation, Catherine Bertini, Fragnoli Family Fund and Leslee Fragnoli-Garrison.


Awardees Included

Cortland Chenango Rural Services received $5,000 to deliver lunches on Fridays to schoolchildren in the Cincinnatus School District to ensure they have a healthy meal to take home for the weekend.

Homer Cortland Community Agency received $5,000 to replace its aging theater audio visual system so that visitors can continue to enjoy movies, presentations and other special events.

Cortland County Family YMCA received $5,000 to launch a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) program to encourage youth to become engaged and involved in lessons, while having fun in a safe and welcoming environment.

Lime Hollow Nature Center received $5,000 to resurface its “Trail for All” with durable, wheelchair-accessible materials to allow people of all abilities access to nature.

Cortland County Historical Society received $5,000 to restore access to its microfilm collection by purchasing a digital microfilm reader and the necessary computer equipment to operate it.

The Salvation Army – Cortland received $5,000 to purchase new appliances for the kitchen used to prepare its hot meal service.

McGraw Central School received $5,000 to establish a designated area for community members to access computers and technology.

Cortland Free Library received $5,000 to create a public mobile library that connects community members with reading materials.

CAPCO Head Start/Early Head Start received $5,000 to provide vision screenings for children birth to age 5 to ensure they are ready for school.

To learn more about the Cortland County Bright Ideas grants program, including how to make a contribution, visit www.cnycf.org/cortland.


Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of permanent charitable endowments for the betterment of the region.  The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of more than $226 million. It awarded $14 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations. Since its inception, it has invested nearly $170 million in the community. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and businesses through the administration of more than 700 funds. The organization also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen local nonprofits and address the region’s most pressing challenges.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s