CRCF Asks Community To Give Thanks, Awards $5,000

This holiday season, the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation asked community members to give thanks to organizations making a difference in the region.

From Nov. 1-20, the Foundation hosted a #GiveThanks campaign and collected the community’s responses on their website. On Nov. 28, #GivingTuesday, the Foundation randomly selected five organizations and awarded them each $1,000.

“This year for Giving Tuesday, the Community Foundation wanted to recognize, and highlight, what is important to the people in our community,” said Randy Sweeney, Community Foundation executive director.

In total, 432 responses were collected representing nearly 60 local organizations.

The five organizations randomly selected to receive $1,000 were: Centaur Stride, Creche, Inc., Chautauqua County Humane Society, Mental Health Association of Chautauqua County, and Infinity Visual and Performing Arts.

Centaur Stride is a therapeutic riding facility that provides an inclusive environment of recreational enrichment for persons with and without disabilities.

According to Nancy Letersky, whose submission was selected, Centaur Stride is an incredible organization, thanks in part to its dedicated staff and volunteers.

“Claudia Monroe and staff provide a wonderful experience for children, adults, those with special needs and those who enjoy horses. Years ago, a local school district offered this after school program to students and I was the adult who accompanied the students. It was amazing to see students from the middle school, who struggled in school, ride, and handle horses and care for them. Claudia is an amazing person and I truly feel that this therapeutic program benefits so many and makes a great difference in the lives of many,” Letersky wrote.

Many in the region may know Creche, Inc. for collecting and distributing backpacks and school supplies to local students. The voluntarily run organization is comprised of a dedicated team of women devoted to providing basic needs of newborns through children 18 years of age in the greater Jamestown area.

Joan Erickson wanted to give thanks for Creche because, “This is an all volunteer agency that gives its all to children in need in our area.”

Even the furriest community members expressed their thanks to the Chautauqua County Humane Society, whose mission is to improve and save lives through compassionate care, advocacy for animals and commitment to community.

According to Heidi Maseduca, “(The Humane Society is) very caring and tries to give their animals to loving homes.”

The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County provides much needed peer support to men, women and families overcoming the effects of mental illness and drug addiction.

For Michelle Turner, she is grateful to the counselors and staff at MHA who devote their lives to helping others.

“(MHA) continues to help so many during this difficult epidemic,” Turner wrote. “Counselors and mentors are available 24/7 no matter who or when or where they are needed.”

Finally, Infinity Visual and Performing Arts engages children, and adults, of all ages in an innovative music and arts education program. From the traditional music lessons to poetry slam events, Infinity has something for every creative mind to enjoy.

An anonymous individual wanted to give thanks for Infinity this year because, “I’m thankful for the opportunity for kids in our city to be exposed to the arts. Infinity has fostered a love of music in my children. The instructors care about the kids, and the learning environment is awesome!”

For more information on the Community Foundation’s #GiveThanks campaign, or to read more about what the community is thankful for, visit