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Chamber presents awards

P-J photo by Dennis Phillips From left, Diane Hannum, Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation executive director, Amy Rohler, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County executive director, Adam Dolce, United Way of Northern Chautauqua County executive director, and Tory Irgang, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation executive director, who all received the Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award for starting the Chautauqua County Response Fund, which raised funds to help community-based organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A collaborative effort to help community organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic has received an award.

On Friday, during the 2021 Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce annual meeting, the chamber presented its Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation, United Way of Northern Chautauqua County and United Way of Southern Chautauqua County for the creation of the Chautauqua County Response Fund, which raised funds to help community-based organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The response fund provided funding to help meet immediate, emergency and basic human needs in Chautauqua County. Grants were awarded to frontline organizations providing basic human needs, health and safety, and helping vulnerable populations access essential resources. Additionally, micro-grants were also awarded to organizations to assist with costs related to reopening.

The fund is administered by the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County on behalf of a coalition of philanthropy, government and business partners, including the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation and United Way of Northern Chautauqua County.

“This was a tremendous effort to raise a lot of money and do a lot of good,” said Daniel Heitzenrater, Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce president and CEO.

Diane Hannum, Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation executive director, who spoke for the recipients, which also included Amy Rohler, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County executive director, Adam Dolce, United Way of Northern Chautauqua County executive director, and Tory Irgang, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation executive director, said the collaboration of the four nonprofit entities came together quickly after the COVID-19 pandemic started. She said together the four community-based organizations were able to provide a lot of assistance.

“We have a better impact when we work together as one,” she said.

In other business, Dr. Stephen Kolison, State University of New York at Fredonia president, and Dr. Daniel DeMarte, Jamestown Community College president, announced a partnership between the two schools to start two, four-year degree programs in Jamestown. Kolison said students who attend JCC should have the opportunity for a four-year degree.

“That’s a gap,” Kolison said about the fact that no four-year programs are currently offered at JCC. “This is a game-changer and a no-brainer.”

Kolison said the two colleges will start with the first two programs, with the hopes of adding more four-year programs in the future. Kolison and DeMarte didn’t say exactly what two programs will be the first to offer a four-year degree at JCC. Dr. David Starrett, State University of New York at Fredonia executive vice president and provost, said the programs will be associated with business and education.

DeMarte said the chamber event was the first time the two presidents of Chautauqua County’s higher learning institutions have given a keynote address together.

“A good sign of the things to come,” he said.

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