Ten years after it was established in April 2001 with a $100,000 gift, the Hamilton College Town-Gown Fund has reached its $1 million goal.
As of June 15, the fund has received gifts from 450 individuals and businesses totaling $1,005,351. These contributions are invested as part of the Hamilton College endowment, bringing the market value of the fund to $1,279,395.
“I am grateful to the hundreds of donors whose generosity will be felt in this community for generations,” said Hamilton President Joan Hinde Stewart. “Even though we have reached our goal, I hope this fund will continue to grow through additional contributions and prudent investment.”
Stewart said the people of Clinton can always count on the income from the fund.
“The agreement that established this endowment stipulates that these funds be managed by Hamilton College and exist in perpetuity for the citizens of our community,” Stewart said. “As the endowment grows, so will the funds available each year, further strengthening the already strong ties among the college, the town and the village.”
The Town-Gown Fund was established in 2001 by anonymous donors to foster goodwill and better communication between the college, the Town of Kirkland and the Village of Clinton. Each year, income earned from investing the fund is used to make grants to educational, cultural and public safety organizations in the Town of Kirkland. It has now distributed more than $318,000 since the first five grants totaling $10,000 were awarded in 2001.
“I am not aware of any other endowment in higher education that has a similar purpose,” Stewart said. “The donors who established this fund are to be applauded for their vision and generosity.”
The Clinton Central School District has received 10 grants totaling $72,525, the Clinton Fire Department has been the beneficiary of nine grants worth $46,568, and the Kirkland Police Department has been awarded nine grants for $43,465.
Other organizations receiving grants include the Clinton Central School Foundation, St. Mary’s School, the Kirkland Art Center, COCVAC, the Clark Mills Fire Department, Clinton A Better Chance, the Kirkland Town Library, Kirkland Ventures, the Clinton Historical Society, The Clinton Youth Foundation, the Clinton Chamber of Commerce and the Clark Mills Historical Society.
Stewart said a committee of local officials and businesspeople meets twice each fall to invite proposals and make grants. “In addition to providing resources for worthwhile organizations, the Town-Gown Fund brings people together to better our community,” she said.
Current members of the Town-Gown Committee, in addition to Stewart, include local businesspeople John Fehlner of the Clinton Cider Mill, Tom Owens of ACCESS Federal Credit Union and Linda McHarris of the Artists Corner; Mayor of Clinton Jack Lane; Clinton Central Schools Superintendent Matt Reilly; Hamilton Professor of French John O’Neal; Hamilton alumnus, Clinton native and Hamilton Point Investment Advisors President Andrew Burns; businessman and Town of Kirkland Councilman Mike O’Neill; and Hamilton trustees Amy Owens Goodfriend and Jack Withiam. Goodfriend is a native of Clinton.
Hamilton Vice President for Communications and Development Dick Tantillo and Executive Director of Communications Mike Debraggio sit on the committee as ex officio members.