OLEAN — Five organizations that support local children and youth will receive grants this November from the Kaleigh Wilday Endowment Fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation.
The grants, totaling $5,000, will be made to remember Kaleigh Wilday and her birthday, Nov. 10, said CRCF Executive Director, Karen Niemic Buchheit.
Skip and Greta Wilday established the fund in September of 2002 in memory of their daughter, Kaleigh, after her tragic passing.
This year’s grant recipients, each receiving $1,000, include: Cuba-Rushford PTA; Dresser-Rand Challenger Learning Center; Cuba-Rushford Central School Alaska Field Trip Fund (for CRCS Outdoors); Cuba Circulating Library; and the YMCA of the Twin Tiers (Y’s Kaleigh Wilday Fund).
These grants help provide programming that enrich the lives of area youth.
According to Fred Welch, Challenger Learning Center executive director, annual grants from the Wilday fund support the center’s outreach programs with area schools, especially Cuba-Rushford Central School.
“Each year a grant of $1,000 is awarded to the Challenger Learning Center to help support our outreach efforts to schools,” Welch said. “Because of Skip and Greta's connection with Cuba-Rushford school, I reach out to them to discount their missions to our Center. The grant is open to all, however, the first offer goes to Cuba-Rushford.
“The students of Cuba experience a STEM day with us. Our simulator allows students to be in a mission, Halley’s Comet. Once in the mission teams of students need to solve problems and work together towards the completion of a successful mission,” Welch said of the students’ experience at the center. “Students also experience our EVA (Extra Venue Activity) area, engineering a paper rocket that we launch using compressed air.”
Grants from the Wilday fund have helped the center provide its services to more than 600 students from Allegany County, Welch said.
The fund also gives two annual scholarships to local students, one to a student attending Jamestown Community College in Olean and one to a graduating Cuba-Rushford Central School scholar athlete. Those were awarded earlier this year.
Since 2002 the fund has made possible nearly $100,000 in grants to support youth enrichment opportunities in the area.
Donations can be made to the Kaleigh Wilday Endowment Fund at CRCF, 301 N. Union St., Suite 203, Olean, NY 14770 or online at cattfoundation.org.