In Yates County

How We Got Started

Katie Nord Peterson of Penn Yan approached the Community Foundation in November 2010 about the possibility of expanding into Yates County with some assistance from her family's foundation.

In June 2011, the Nord Family Foundation of Amherst, Ohio, awarded a $100,000 challenge grant to the Yates Community Endowment to match dollar for dollar any contributions up to that amount designated for broad support of Yates County. In late August, the first two major gifts to the endowment and eligible for the matching dollars were announced — a $50,000 gift from Carolyn and Tom Argust of Rochester and the Town of Italy, and $20,000 from the Yunis family and two of their businesses. 

In addition to its annual competitive grantmaking, the Yates Community Endowment has had a great deal of impact. For example:

  • In 2014, when flash flooding devastated homes, businesses, and roads, the Endowment raised $177,000 in just a few months to assist those affected. 
  • In 2016, the Endowment surpassed a five-year goal it had set to raise $1 million in permanent funds to support Yates County.
  • In 2017, the  Endowment's Advisory board kicked off a goal to raise another $1 million in permanent funds. A $50,000 gift from Tom and Carolyn Argust jump-started that effort.

Major Funds

Yates Community Endowment Fund (2011): The goal of this endowment is to support local nonprofit organizations that are on the front lines dealing with the area's evolving needs now and in the future.  
Robert F. Flickinger Memorial Fund of the Yates County Endowment (2012): Created with gifts from friends, family, and others to honor this steadfast community supporter. 
Spring Hill Fund (1995): Established by descendants of Ontario County pioneers, this fund benefits youth in Yates and Ontario counties. 
Mitchell Family Community Leadership Fund (2010): A gift of a lakefront cottage created this fund to assist Yates County area charitable organizations. 
Willie Taaffe Memorial Fund of the Yates Community Endowment (2013): Created with gifts from friends, family, and others to honor this founding member of the Endowment's Advisory Board. Click here to contribute to this fund. 

What We Are Doing Today

The Yates Community Endowment is under the guidance of a 13-member, all-volunteer, all-local advisory board, co-chaired by Katie Nord Peterson and Lee Beaulac. The advisory board approved the Endowment's sixth round of grants totaling $34,022. The grants were awarded in June 2017 to the following nonprofits:

  • Arc of Yates, Inc.: Camp Week 2017 includes every one of the 400 individuals supported by the Arc of Yates — from the preschool to the DRIVE program, and all-day program participants. $5,000 (Includes $4,000 from the Spring Hill Fund)
  • Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Rochester: The Mentoring Youth for Educational Success project focuses on enrolling mentees who are chronically truant, at high risk of educational failure, reside in female-headed households in poverty and/or have parents who are incarcerated or affected by incarceration. $5,000 (Includes $1,800 from the Robert F. Flickinger Fund).
  • Friends of the Outlet: New “Welcome to the Outlet Trail” signs will give interpretive information and enhance visitors’ experience on the trail. Five initial signs will be posted. $4,500 (Includes $700 from the Robert F. Flickinger Fund and $1,300 from the Willie Taaffe Memorial Fund).
  • S2AY Rural Health Network, Inc.: Supports the purchase of age-appropriate books and supplies for the Fair-y Tale Festival and refreshments for the community reading nights and Back to School Community Gathering. $5,000 (Fully funded by $2,000 from the Robert F. Flickinger Fund and $3,000 from the Spring Hill Fund).
  • Yates Cultural & Recreational Resources, Inc.: The “You’re Welcome” program, in conjunction with several partners, creates a well-trained workforce in the tourism sector. The grant will allow the Yates County unemployed to access these trainings. $4,222
  • YMCA of Greater Rochester: Supports scholarships for Yates youth to attend Camp Cory — either four students in a three-week leadership program or contribute toward 25 students attending day camp. $3,300 (Includes $1,000 from the McMullen Family Fund).
  • ProAction of Steuben & Yates, Inc.: The proposed Hope Center will assist individuals and families living in poverty by offering support to meet basic needs and providing a full assessment to identify other individual/family needs. The Hope Center also will serve as the main food pantry for the county. Referrals for additional resources also will be provided, along with any other needed supports. $17,000 (Includes $10,000 from Rochester Area Community Foundation and $2,000 from the McMullen Family Fund).

Learn more recent work by the Yates Community Endowment in its 2017 Annual Report and about the Endowment's previous grants awarded to Yates County nonprofits.

Yates County Demographics

This county, named for New York Governor Joseph Yates, covers about 400 square miles and is in the heart of the Finger Lakes. The rolling hills and spectacular views also include 64 precious miles of shoreline on Canandaigua, Keuka, and Seneca lakes. 

A Transfer of Wealth report commissioned by the Community Foundation contains detailed information on each of its regional counties, including this overview of Yates County.

Get even more data on Yates County on the ACT Rochester website.

PHONE 585.271.4100 | FAX 585.271.4292 |
500 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607

PHONE 585.271.4100 | FAX 585.271.4292 |
500 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607


An initiative of the Community Foundation, ACT Rochester uses data to assess our region on key indicators of well-being.