Hamilton Town-Gown Fund Awards Record Grants

The Clinton Volunteer Fire Department was awarded a $20,000 grant.
The Clinton Volunteer Fire Department was awarded a $20,000 grant.

The Hamilton College Town-Gown Fund Committee has made its largest award ever -- $20,000 to the Clinton Fire Department to reconstruct the smoke/fire tower at the town garage in Franklin Springs.

The 40-year-old facility, which has trained generations of firefighters for Clinton and surrounding departments, was recently condemned and taken out of service by a structural engineer. Construction to repair the facility is expected to begin in the spring.

“We are happy to support our volunteer firefighters and the priorities of the other organizations that received grants this year,” said Hamilton College President Joan Hinde Stewart who chairs the Town-Gown Fund Committee. “These grants help organizations do work that enriches our community in meaningful and important ways. It is a pleasure to support their efforts.”

Six grants totaling a record $65,000 were awarded in 2012 by the Town-Gown Fund Committee. Since grants were first awarded in 2001, the Town-Gown Fund has provided over $445,000 to non-profit and public service agencies in the Town of Kirkland. The Clinton Central School District has been the largest beneficiary of grants, receiving more than $105,000 to support district initiatives.

The school district and the ABC Program of Clinton and the Mohawk Valley, also received grants in excess of $10,000 in 2012. The district, which has been awarded three previous gifts of at least $10,000, received $15,000 to purchase 20 laptop computers for use by teachers and students in the elementary school. The gift will help the district prepare for state-mandated computer-based testing beginning with the 2014-15 academic year and complements an $18,331 town-gown grant a year ago to make the Clinton campus wireless.

The ABC Program, currently celebrating its 40th anniversary in Clinton, will use its $13,300 grant to upgrade the technology and furnishings in the ABC house and to support general operations of the program.

Additional grants awarded in 2012 included $6,500 to the Clinton Central School Foundation annual campaign, $6,000 to the Clinton Youth Foundation to sandblast and paint the Boynton Pool, and $4,200 to the Central Oneida County Volunteer Ambulance Corps (COCVAC) to equip four vehicles with mobile data connections.

The Hamilton College Town-Gown Fund was created in 2001 by anonymous donors to foster goodwill and better communication among the college and residents of the Town of Kirkland and the Village of Clinton. Since its founding, the endowed fund has received more than $1 million in gifts. Each year, the income earned from investing the donations is used to make grants to organizations in the Town of Kirkland.

In addition to Stewart, members of the Town-Gown Committee include local businesspeople John Fehlner of the Clinton Cider Mill, Tom Owens of ACCESS Federal Credit Union and Linda McHarris of the Artists Corner; Clinton Mayor and Clinton Shoe Center owner Jack Lane; Clinton Central Schools Superintendent Matt Reilly; Hamilton Professor of French John O’Neal; Hamilton College alumnus and Hamilton Point Investment Advisors President Andrew Burns '78; electrical contractor and Town of Kirkland Councilman Mike O’Neill; and Hamilton trustees Amy Owens Goodfriend '82 and Jack Withiam '71. Goodfriend is a native of Clinton.

Hamilton Vice President for Communications and Development Dick Tantillo and Assistant Vice President of Communications Mike Debraggio sit on the committee as ex officio members. Donations to the fund can be made by contacting Tantillo or Debraggio.

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