Community Foundation welcomes partnership with Heather A. Freeman Foundation

WATERTOWN, NY — The Northern New York Community Foundation welcomes a new partnership to its family as an affiliate charitable foundation.

The Heather A. Freeman Foundation (HAFF) board of directors recently approved consolidation of operations as a Community Foundation affiliate. The move strengthens efforts to continue all that HAFF donors, supporters and board members have spent more than a decade working to accomplish in Heather’s memory.

Karla Stefanini, HAFF board president, said the move leverages additional resources and expertise while preserving the mission and spirit of all that the organization embodies.

“When Heather walked into a room, she lit it up. She was a person everyone would want to have as a friend; kindness, empathy and understanding came naturally to her spirit,” Mrs. Stefanini said. “Everything Heather did was with passion and grace, from her sense of community to her love for her family and friends. This partnership builds on her legacy to inspire the best in others.”

Not long after her untimely passing in 2007, friends and family established the Heather A. Freeman Foundation, “to empower others to do the best they can in the pursuit of happiness.”

Since it organized more than 10 years ago, reception from the community and those who loved Heather has been monumental for the work that the foundation does in her name, said Lynn Pietroski, a HAFF board vice president and Heather’s best friend.

“We realized how influential Heather was to so many people and knew we needed to continue in sharing Heather’s spirit,” Mrs. Pietroski said. “Many generous donors and dedicated volunteers graciously support HAFF and its mission.”

While HAFF’s efforts have grown, those who manage its operations turned to the Community Foundation earlier this year to explore how it could reach new success and ensure that its work would continue in perpetuity. For HAFF board members, the solution was clear and exciting as a new partnership brings it to the Community Foundation as a component charitable fund.

“The Community Foundation complements the HAFF and a partnership like this makes our effort completely sustainable,” Mrs. Pietroski said. “Why not align with an organization that does many of the things that we do, but on a much larger scale and with great success? This will be the next best thing for the HAFF and take it to a level we couldn’t alone.”

As HAFF marks a new milestone, it is excited to continue its mission and support for many worthy charitable causes and local community-based programs. The Community Foundation is proud to have the Heather A. Freeman Foundation Fund as a new partner and member of its charitable family. The North Country communities will see the good works of HAFF for years to come.

Rande Richardson, Northern New York Community Foundation executive director, said the new affiliation comes at a time when HAFF board members were seeking an innovative way to leverage assets with an organization that can provide operational support and promote growth.

“We feel incredibly humbled and honored to partner in this next chapter of Heather’s legacy continuing to make our community a better place,” Mr. Richardson said. “Through this collaboration, together, we build upon all that has been done and can reach even higher while providing a permanent home for their work and mission.”

About the Heather A. Freeman Foundation

The Heather A. Freeman Foundation is dedicated to sharing values that make a difference in our communities. It creates public service campaigns that model the benefits of a life lived by positive values. In turn, it hopes to inspire people to make these values a part of their own lives and communicate the resulting benefits to others.

As the individual it honors and is so named, the Heather A. Freeman Foundation: Embraces the realistic values of all that is good in improving the lives of all mankind; encourages people to open their minds and hearts to new possibilities by demonstrating that collectively and individually they are capable of doing more than they thought possible and enhances the positive quality of individual, family and community life by providing services that are consistently available, accessible and responsive to the needs of those seeking assistance, and to work with the community to contribute, facilitate and promote solutions for the enrichment of all.

About the Northern New York Community Foundation

Since 1929, the Northern New York Community Foundation has invested in improving and enriching the quality of life in communities across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

Through partnerships with businesses and organizations, generous individual donors and families, and charitable foundations, the Community Foundation awards grants and scholarships from an endowment and collection of funds that benefit the region. Its commitment to donors helps individuals achieve their charitable objectives now and for generations to come by preserving enduring legacies of community philanthropy while inspiring others.

The Community Foundation is a resource for donors, local charitable organizations, and professional advisors. It also works to bring people together at its permanent home in the Northern New York Philanthropy Center to discuss challenges our communities face and find creative solutions that strengthen the region and make it a great place to live, work, and play.