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 an all-volunteer, all-local advisory board chaired by Katie Nord Peterson. The advisory board approved the Endowment's seventh round of grants totaling $41,653. The grants were awarded in June 2018 to the following nonprofits:

Arc of Yates, Inc.: Supports age-appropriate playground equipment at Keuka Lake School to be used in the toddler daycare program for young children with developmental delays ages 18 months to 3 years old. $3,038 (Fully funded by the Robert F. Flickinger Fund)

Art Center of Yates County: The Teen Engagement in Art program will involve teens in painting descriptive murals on public picnic tables during the summer. $1,800

Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Rochester: The Mentoring Youth for Educational Success project focuses on enrolling youth who are chronically truant, at high risk of educational failure, or whose families are affected by poverty or incarceration. $5,000 (Includes $2,500 from the Spring Hill Fund

Family Counseling Services of the Finger Lakes: Provides transportation for Yates County youth to attend You Are Not Alone meetings and LGBTQ community events, as well as materials to increase awareness and provide education and training to Yates County schools, businesses, and community providers. $2,100

Finger Lakes Health, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital: Staff will run the four-week Get Up and Going exercise class within the hospital’s Rehab Department for patients who have had an injury due to inactivity or improper body mechanics. Each participant will establish an appropriate exercise program and will receive a three-month membership to the Yates Community Center. $4,000 (Includes $1,976 from the Willie Taaffe Memorial Fund)

Finger Lakes Museum & Aquarium: Provides general support to the organization to advance its mission and goals and for programming this year. $5,000

Penn Yan Area Council of Churches Community Action Program, Inc.: Supports efforts of the Yates Christmas Program to purchase and distribute toys, electronics, gift cards, clothing, books, blankets, and food to people in need. $1,500

ProAction of Steuben and Yates, Inc.: Continued funding for the HOPE Center, which assists individuals and families living in poverty by offering support in meeting basic needs as well as providing a full assessment to identify other individual/family needs. Also will be used to support the Personal Hygiene Initiative. $17,500 (Includes $2,500 from the Robert F. Flickinger Fund, $5,000 from the McMullen Family Fund, and $10,000 from Rochester Area Community Foundation)

Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes, Inc.: To provide personal safety presentations and follow-up to Yates County youth in pre-school through 6th grade on how to keep themselves safe from sexual and domestic violence. $3,000

S2AY Rural Health Network, Inc.: For the purchase of age-appropriate books for the various Our Town Rocks and Reads programs. $2,500 (Fully funded by the Spring Hill Fund)

YMCA of Greater Rochester: Supports scholarships for 20 day-camp youth participants, ages 5 to 12, from Yates County to attend Camp Cory. $6,215 (Includes $1,500 from the McMullen Family Fund and $2,715 from the Spring Hill Fund)

Learn more recent work by the Yates Community Endowment in its 2018 Annual Report and about the Endowment's previous grants awarded to nonprofits serving Yates County.

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.