The Chautauqua region was very fortunate to have a forward-thinking group of individuals who saw the need for a community foundation. These individuals gave their gifts of time, dedication, and leadership, in seemingly endless amounts and are the very reason CRCF exists today.
Marion A. Panzarella
Richard W. Parker
Samuel P. Price, Sr.
John L. Sellstrom
Kenneth W. Strickler
In 1978, Eugene Struckoff, a national expert on community foundations, was invited by a group of concerned citizens to investigate the possibility of endowing a community foundation for Jamestown and the surrounding area. Mr. Struckoff concluded that, although the area was smaller than what was normally desired to support a community foundation, the resident’s support of existing charitable organizations led him to believe that such an effort would survive and grow.
Armed with Mr. Struckoff’s findings, the initial steering committee approached the Gebbie Foundation for assistance. After reviewing the facts, the Gebbie Foundation pledged $300,000 to seed the newest member of the Jamestown foundation family.
The new organization visited the trust departments of the various banks in Jamestown, convincing them to transfer a number of their existing funds, to the Community Foundation. Many of these funds were scholarships, establishing the Foundation as a leader for scholarship awards in Chautauqua County. To this day, the Community Foundation name is synonymous with educational aid in the Chautauqua Region.
Through hard work and dedication, the founders of the Community Foundation reached their goal of a $1,000,000 endowment in five years. What came next was a period of growth that marked it as one of the fastest growing community foundations in the United States.
In 2016, the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation awarded $3,513,956 to the community in the form of grants and scholarships.
Over 700 students received $1,041,984 for costs related to higher education and area nonprofit organizations received $1,498,819 through the Foundation’s Community Service, Special Project and Field of Interest grants process.
Money was also awarded from the Foundation’s Designated/Agency Funds which granted $973,153 to many area nonprofit organizations to provide ongoing support to their missions.
The Community Foundation extends its thanks to its founders for their tireless efforts, as well as the entire community for their support and confidence.