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Hinchey Announces $74,985 Federal Grant for the Gerry Foundation’s Sullivan Renaissance Program

December 18, 2007

LIBERTY Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) announced Monday a $74,985 federal grant for the Gerry Foundation's Sullivan Renaissance Program to provide community development training and technical assistance to six communities and four non-profit organizations. The grant was given priority consideration by the USDA due to Sullivan County's designation as a Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) Zone, which Hinchey obtained for the area eight years ago.  The funds come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development through the Rural Community Development Initiative Grant program.

"I have personally worked with and witnessed the tangible results of the Sullivan Renaissance program," Hinchey said, “Sullivan Renaissance has impressed me as an effective and innovative grassroots effort that has successfully assisted beautification and community development projects.  These federal funds will assist the Gerry Foundation in continuing and expanding their critical work throughout Sullivan County."

The technical assistance funded under this grant will increase the capacity of local communities and non-profit organizations to undertake community and economic development projects.  Sullivan Renaissance staff and hired specialists will offer educational seminars, relevant information, referrals, and technical and financial assistance to recipient communities and non-profit organizations.  The recipients will, in turn, train volunteers in their own communities and increase the pool of trained leaders and community builders.  The federal funding provided by USDA will be matched by a $75,000 state grant.

In 1999, Hinchey successfully convinced the USDA to designate Sullivan County and the Town of Wawarsing in Ulster County as a federal REAP Zone in order to assist the County's revitalization efforts.  In his letter of support for the grant application by Sullivan Renaissance, Hinchey highlighted that the program strongly complements the economic and community redevelopment goals of the REAP Zone program by helping to build community pride and leverage volunteer resources and donations to improve the county.

Established in 1996, the Gerry Foundation is an organization whose mission is to improve the lives of residents of Sullivan County.  Under the auspices of the Gerry Foundation, the Sullivan Renaissance program began in 2001 with the mission to enhance the appearance of Sullivan County while awakening community pride.  Over the past seven years, Sullivan Renaissance has administered a range of activities to improve the aesthetics and the economic opportunities for Sullivan County residents in the Catskill region of New York State.  During this time, Sullivan Renaissance has provided over $1 million dollars in grants and technical assistance for over 300 eligible community beautification and economic development projects in all fifteen towns and six villages in Sullivan County.

The communities that will participate in this initiative include the towns of Fallsburg and Liberty and the villages of Jeffersonville, Liberty, Monticello and Woodridge.  The participating community groups include Jeffersonville Enhances More of Sullivan (JEMS), Liberty Community Development Corporation, Monticello Housing Authority and Rural Sullivan Housing Corp.