Almanack Contributor Cali Brooks

Cali Brooks

Cali Brooks is president & CEO of Adirondack Foundation. After working with nonprofit organizations in Southeast Asia, Central America, and the United States, Cali returned home to the Adirondacks and worked for the HKH Foundation where she conducted a survey to assess the economic, social, cultural, and environmental strengths of the Adirondack region. She then joined the Public Affairs office of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and co-founded the Wildlife Conservation Society's Adirondack Communities and Conservation Program. She and her family live in and love the Adirondacks.


Thursday, October 21, 2021

Smart Philanthropy in 2021: Strategic Giving as Tax Rules Change

Adirondack Foundation logoPhilanthropy drives so much good in the Adirondack region. Join Adirondack Foundation on Thursday, November 4 at 10 am for “Smart Philanthropy in 2021,” a special webinar that will highlight charitable giving strategies and expected tax law changes ahead. During the session, you’ll hear from the following experts:
  • Lea Paine Highet, Adirondack Foundation Trustee, CFP® professional and Principal, Douglas Winthrop Advisors, LLC
  • Jeff Hamond, Vice President at Van Scoyoc Associates, a government relations practice focused on philanthropy
  • Jill Beier, Attorney, Founder of Beier and Associates – Estate Planning, Tax Matters, Charitable Giving
Here are three reasons to attend:

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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Spirit of Generosity: Let’s Show Our Community Support

tupper lake adirondack foundation

The Adirondack region embodies the Spirit of Generosity. From volunteering to making gifts that empower nonprofit organizations to do their best work, it’s clear community is what makes this a special place.

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Saturday, September 11, 2021

Spirit of Generosity: Great Futures

Akwesasne Boys & Girls Club

“Your future is created by what you do today.”

This simple message appears in the entryway of the Akwesasne Boys & Girls Club — it’s also a through-line of our summer-long Spirit of Generosity series: making the decision to give back, even in a small way, has ripple effects that can last for generations.

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Saturday, September 4, 2021

Spirit of Generosity: Lesser-Known Nonprofits Have a Big Impact

North Country Association for the Visually ImpairedThe Adirondack region is fortunate to have a robust nonprofit sector that focuses on a range of issues and needs, from environmental protection and education to support for the business sector, social services, and much more. Many of these organizations are well-known, but we must not overlook the big impact that some of the more off-the-radar groups have in strengthening their communities and maintaining and improving quality of life for all. These community organizations embody the Spirit of Generosity, working in a smaller geographic area or with a more targeted demographic to serve the unique needs of individuals or families. They tend to be the kind of organizations that people don’t know about until they have a reason to find them.

The North Country Association for the Visually Impaired (NCAVI), for example, provides free assistance to people of all ages who suffer from a visual impairment. And while the needs of the people they serve may be more targeted, their scope is broad, reaching more than 200 people per year across a 7,550 square mile territory that includes Clinton, Essex, Franklin, and St. Lawrence counties.

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Saturday, August 28, 2021

Spirit of Generosity: Giving for the Greater Good

givingFor some folks, the Spirit of Generosity means supporting the things that matter to them in the present, and making sure their communities continue to have support in perpetuity.

Janice Marchut Conrad and Dr. Peter Conrad, retired scientists and plant biologists who live in Beekmantown, spent much of their lives and distinguished careers on university campuses across the country – from New Hampshire and Massachusetts to Wisconsin and Texas, before returning to the Northeast for positions at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Along the way, they’ve served their country and community in a variety of ways: Peter in the United States Army, and both through higher education and research, as well as stints on zoning boards and nonprofit boards, including Mountain Lake PBS and Literacy Volunteers, and volunteering at local animal shelters.

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Saturday, August 21, 2021

Spirit of Generosity: Helping Seniors Age in Place

minerva seniors

Earlier this summer, we highlighted the ways in which the Spirit of Generosity is working to uplift early child care services across the Adirondack region — it’s also helping aging adults improve physical and social health outcomes.

There’s good work happening in senior care everywhere, but in particular the Sleeping Giants program — established in Minerva in 1969 — provides meaningful connections for seniors living in this remote town with a population of approximately 800.

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Saturday, August 14, 2021

Spirit of Generosity: Doing Business, for Good

nancy monette

Nancy Monette. Photo by Erika Bailey, provided by Adirondack Foundation

For Malone residents Bruce and Nancy Monette, their businesses are inextricably tied to the people in the Adirondack region who they have had long connections to as neighbors, employees, or customers. With their business growth came their Spirit of Generosity.

Nancy — who, in the interest of full disclosure, is a trustee of Adirondack Foundation — always finds time for a visit at her Malone office, a tiny command center tucked into a corner of one of her family’s businesses, a Mountain Mart gas station, Dunkin’ Donuts franchise, and convenience store on Route 11. The store happens to be on what was once the site of the Monette dairy farm owned by Bruce’s family. Entrepreneurial and community oriented, she and Bruce have developed with his brothers a multifaceted company that started with Adirondack Energy, a fuel oil delivery business Bruce began in the late 1980s.

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Saturday, August 7, 2021

Spirit of Generosity: Investing in Our Food Systems

north country creamery

Steven Googin and Ashlee Kleinhammer of North Country Creamery in Keeseville. Erika Bailey photo, provided by Adirondack Foundation

It started with Emergency Food Packages spearheaded by AdkAction. These packages, filled with local food  –  including organic yogurt, apples, granola, carrots, greens, eggs, and more  –  were assembled at Hub on the Hill in Essex and delivered to the doorsteps of people who were experiencing economic hardship as far away as Tupper Lake and Malone. The packages came at a time when local farmers were losing wholesale business revenue as schools and restaurants paused for health and safety reasons.The quantities needed for the packages compensated for these losses and helped to keep farmers in business.

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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Spirit of Generosity: Supporting Child Care

Child Care issues

Katie Falzetta and her family. Photo by Erika Bailey, provided by Adirondack Foundation

Across the Adirondack region, individuals, businesses, organizations, and communities have continuously demonstrated their Spirit of Generosity by investing in one of our most pressing needs: early childhood education. But there’s still much to be done.

Finding affordable child care is a challenge for nearly everyone, but especially so for single-parent households and working families with mid to low-wage jobs. Adirondack Foundation, through its Birth to Three Alliance,  has heard countless stories of parents who struggle to balance work with raising their children — and in many cases, the two things are inseparable.

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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Spirit of Generosity: Offering a Hand of Hope

brant lake food pantryEvery day,  there are local individuals and families working hard to make ends meet. With limited or low-income, they are often forced to make difficult decisions — unexpected expenses, such as fixing a vehicle to get to and from work, can mean deciding between paying for rent, food, or even medical care. Across the Adirondack region, grassroots organizations like North Country Ministry are stepping up to make these decisions a little easier.

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Saturday, July 17, 2021

Celebrating the Spirit of Generosity

giveAcross the Adirondack region, life is returning to something resembling normal. Communities are beginning to host events, businesses are welcoming customers, and neighbors are opening their doors to each other — in short, we’re all coming back together. It’s for this reason that Adirondack Foundation is celebrating the Spirit of Generosity all summer long by sharing stories about the people and places that make our home so special.

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Saturday, December 26, 2020

What ‘Being in Community’ Means to Adirondack Foundation

adirondack foundation logoAs Adirondack Foundation and our partners continue to respond to the impacts of the pandemic, our work is guided by meaningful participation from business, faith, nonprofit, education, and civic leaders who understand that we all must join together to build a better tomorrow.

Since March, we have awarded $1.1 million through 175 grants specifically supporting COVID-19 response and relief efforts. This portion of our overall grantmaking is thanks to more than 500 donations from people deeply concerned about the social, emotional, health, and economic toll this pandemic is taking on our region.

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Cali Brooks: Working Together For Our Community

In the town of Minerva, Suzanne Crouse and Carol Frazier help to lead the Sleeping Giants Senior Program, which supports community members who are aging in place. This program provides social and emotional connections that also help alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation. A recent grant from Adirondack Foundation – made through its Community Fund for the Gore Mountain Region – is helping to offset the cost of educational field trips that would be beyond the logistical and financial means for some of the group’s members.

This story, along with countless others like it, demonstrates how community foundations are uniquely positioned to improve their regions by harnessing the power of giving to support people and communities. This week, November 12 – 18, is Community Foundation Week, and Thursday, November 15, is National Philanthropy Day – making it a good time to reflect on the ways community foundations bring people together around common values. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Cali Brooks: Report Highlights Importance of Nonprofits

Visitors at the Wild Center. Courtesy Adirondack Foundation. The nonprofit sector is vital to the economic health of our communities.  A 2013 report, conducted by Adirondack Foundation and the Adirondack Nonprofit Network, showed that just 36 local nonprofits generated a $422 million annual economic impact to the region.

On Dec. 7, 2016, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released his “Profile of Nonprofit Organizations,” which reinforces the research we conducted three years ago. His findings show: » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Cali Brooks: Feel Good About Giving

Adirondack GivesThe Adirondack region has over 750 nonprofit organizations listed with New York’s Department of State. This group, as a whole, does a number of things daily that touch all of our lives. Some organizations are protecting our life-sustaining environment for the future; many others are helping our youth grow up to be strong, responsible, contributing members of our community; some deal with the horrors of domestic abuse of women and children; and several agencies help those near the end of their lives.

In the small towns that make up most of the Adirondack region, the nonprofit sector is best represented by the people. When you give to a charity, an organization, or even an institution, what you’re really doing is supporting the people that make it tick. » Continue Reading.