The Rockland Community Foundation Board of Directors presented grants to the Nyack Rotary Club on behalf of Nyack Schools and People To People for its Back to School with Dignity Program. The $500 grants will support these existing programs.
Patrick Byrne, president of the Foundation’s board, said giving out the grants was a rewarding experience.
Board Member Paul Orazio said the committee reviewed many applications for the grants. He said the members agreed unanimously on the value of the two programs.
Nyack Rotary Education Committee Chair Christopher Haera said their members work closely with the schools and support programs from pre-school through the grades. The Foundation's "Matching Community Response Grant" will cover a significant portion of the cost of providing the Junior Achievement for an entire grade in the middle school. The Foundation grant matched the amount of the Rotary's grant for the middle school.
People to People Vice President Stu Raskin said most people know the organization as a food pantry. But he said the Nanuet-based nonprofit also focuses on keeping children in school and the sends them to class with all the materials other students have.
“One of our goals is to break the chain of poverty,” he said, “Keeping them in school is one of the best way. Having them prepared for school keeps them in school.”
He said the recognition provided by the Foundation is important because it shows support. People To People received a "Community Response Grant" from the Foundation
“It’s important to realize the community is behind us,” said Raskin.
Beth Blecker, secretary of People to People, noted this is the 12th year the organization has been giving out school supplies. The program has evolved from distributing generic school supplies to grade appropriate materials.
“We have a small and mighty staff," said Blecker. "But it is small and we need all the help we can get.”