By Rich Kroes
Giving back to the people and places we love is one of the most sustainable and reliable ways we can strengthen communities in the Adirondack region. When we support our friends and neighbors through generosity, we can leverage opportunities to improve quality of life and create resiliency that helps us get through the hard times.
Adirondack Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and it embodies that spirit of giving back. From providing emergency relief to investing in long-term strategies, the Foundation has worked tirelessly to become a lasting source of philanthropy for our region.
Over the last decade, I’ve had the privilege to serve our communities on Adirondack Foundation’s Board of Trustees, including five years as its chair. It seems like yesterday that I was sitting in one of the locker rooms at the 1980 Olympic Rink with former Trustee Vinny McClelland when he encouraged me to join. He told me then that he thought I would like it, and he was right — I have loved it.
In my 10 years with the Foundation, we’ve tripled our total assets, which has quadrupled our total grantmaking power and provided us with the resources to better understand the most pressing needs in our communities. Our Generous Acts program is now generating nearly $1 million in grants annually. We’ve done meaningful and actionable strategic planning that has led us, amongst other things, to our Strong Community Framework — a roadmap for supporting basic needs, educational pathways, economic vitality and civic engagement, arts and culture, and the environment. All of this just scratches the surface of what we’ve accomplished, not just as an organization, but as an entire community of donors, nonprofits, community leaders and individuals. And for me, that’s what my time with the Foundation boils down to: the people.
Having raised our kids here, having been part of a business here, I’ve seen that the key to both is the great people in our communities. The people here are special — they make living in the Adirondacks what it is. They are proud, resourceful and concerned for their neighbors. I can think of nothing more rewarding than working to help them thrive; Adirondack Foundation gave me the opportunity to serve them holistically. I am deeply grateful.
As we enter the holiday season, I hope you will find a way to give back, whatever form that takes. And remember that Adirondack Foundation will be here — always — to help you give back in a way that’s meaningful and impactful, because there’s nothing more powerful than using our generosity to make this place the best it can be, for all of us.
Rich Kroes lives in Lake Placid. He served on Adirondack Foundation’s Board of Trustees for 10 years, the last five as its chair.