Yates Community Endowment

The Yates Community Endowment is under the guidance of an all-volunteer, all-local advisory board chaired by Ann McMullen and Susan Priem. Since its beginning in 2011, Yates Community Endowment has distributed more than $700,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations serving Yates County. These grants have provided scholarships for Yates County youth to attend summer camp, helped with disaster relief efforts after the flood in 2014, assisted in the creation of the HOPE Center, and connected people in need with programs to help improve their lives.

The advisory board approved the Endowment’s ninth round of grants totaling $31,300 in the summer of 2020, and you can learn more about them in our 2023 Annual Report. Read about the Endowment’s previous grants awarded to nonprofits serving Yates County.

How We Got Started

In November 2010, Katie Nord Peterson of Penn Yan approached the Community Foundation about the possibility of expanding into Yates County with some assistance from her family’s foundation. The following June, 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 2011, 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.
  • In 2020, the Endowment established the Yates Emergency Relief Fund to support nonprofits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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. 

McMullen Family Fund (2013): Created by a Penn Yan couple to support issues related to children and youth in Yates County.

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.

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. 

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.

For More Information

If you would like to learn about creating a fund to support Yates County, donating to an existing fund, or creating a legacy to support our community, email Jeff Polino or call him at 585.341.4373. If you would like to learn more about grantmaking opportunities with the Yates Community Endowment or how to get involved with its efforts, email Sara Bukowiec or call her at 585.341.4371.

Through its annual grantmaking, Yates Community Endowment seeks to create long-term positive impact in Yates County. 

For more information about the Endowment’s grant criteria and annual cycle, click here.