Massena Central School board urged to use NNY Community Foundation to handle, seek out financial donations
Saturday, February 8, 2014 - 8:44 am

By ANDY GARDNER

MASSENA -- The Board of Education seemed to like what they heard on Thursday night from Rande Richardson, executive director of the Northern New York Community Foundation.

He told the board that his non-profit organization can not only act as a gateway for the school to receive donations, but also make sure the money goes where the donor wants and seek out other sources of funding. They also work with attorneys to deal with any tax issues.

“We are a conduit, we are a donor service organization,” Richardson said.

He came at the request of board member William Sommerfield, who has mentioned at recent board meetings that he feels the school needs an alternate way to bring in charitable donations.

If the board signs on with the NNYCF, they will have to sign a contract where they agree to accept every donation they are offered and to pay three-quarters of 1 percent, in administrative fees. They will also need an initial bequest, but it doesn’t matter how much or how little.

“It can be fifty dollars, it can be a hundred dollars,” Richardson said.

He said once the money is in, they not only work with financial planners but cultivate relationships with donors that he says go further than their bequest.

“We can deal with issues of long-term donor intent … schools don’t have the infrastructure in place to make sure the money is there forever,” according to Richardson. “We make sure people are never forgotten and their legacies are preserved.”

He pointed to their recent success in securing a $400,000 gift to the Madrid-Waddington Central School District.

“I’m not sure what would happen if we didn’t have the confluence of a financial planner, attorneys and the community foundation,” Richardson told the board.

The district currently receives funds through NNYCF – the Massena Music Friends partners with them to send financial gifts to the music department.

“We’re small potatoes … [Richardson] makes us feel very, very important,” Paul Haggett of Massena Music Friends said during a public comment period.