Chautauqua Institution Donates To Veterans Endowment Fund

Pictured from the left are: Maureen Rovegno, associate director of the Department of Religion; Megan Sorenson, Chautauqua Foundation; George Murphy, vice president of marketing; Vanessa Weinert, marketing manager; Greg Carlson, county Veterans’ Services Agency director; Karen Williams, director of guest experience; James Freay, office services; and Erin Ackerman, assistant manager of marketing. P-J photo by Jimmy McCarthy

CHAUTAUQUA — A generous donation by Chautauqua Institution is going to help local veterans who are in need of a little financial assistance.

Chautauqua Institution officials gathered at Bestor Plaza earlier this week to present the Chautauqua County Veterans’ Services Agency and Greg Carlson, director, with a $1,200 check. The money donated by Chautauqua Institution will go to the Veterans Endowment Fund, which helps veterans pay bills if they don’t have the means.

The donation came after Chautauqua Institution held a week during the season themed “Contemporary Voices of War and Its Warriors.” The week put veterans on a platform as various veterans including David Petraeus, Wes Moore and others came to speak about modern warfare.

“We thought how do we take this platform and translate that to our local community and help veterans here,” said Vanessa Weinert, marketing manager. “One thing we decided was throughout the week, for every gate pass that was sold, a single ticket, we’ll donate $1 to the Veterans Endowment Fund.”

Throughout that week, 1,200 single tickets were sold.

“We wanted to do something tangible for the community on top of providing the platform for vets to talk about their experiences. We’re really excited,” Weinert said.

Carlson thanked Chautauqua Institution for their support as he said the funds will go to help out many veterans. Carlson said the Veterans Endowment Fund helps in instances when veterans can’t pay a gas bill if their heat was turned off or a security deposit if they’re homeless.

“Whatever the circumstance may be, we take the veteran and say if it’s a worthy situation, we can give them up to $500 to help them out,” he said. “Sometimes when people get back on their feet they’ll donate back to the endowment fund. It’s something that’s run locally and it’s to help veterans in need.”

Carlson said the agency’s council thoroughly examines requests to ensure applicants need the funds.

Maureen Rovegno, associate director for Department of Religion, said she’s grateful Chautauqua Institution could present the gift to the Veterans Endowment Fund as a tangible representation of the honoring and caring of veterans that went into programming.

“We looked hard at the ethical and consequential realities that our veterans face, and our appreciation for them grew exponentially,” she said. “As we always say, we thank them for their service, but we also thank them for who they are.”