Grant allows Cobblestone Museum to double donations

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 11 September 2020 at 7:54 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Rachel Lockhart of Rochester portrayed a teacher in the Cobblestone School during a Ghost Walk at the museum last October. The museum has had to cancel most in-person events and fundraisers this year due to Covid-19.

CHILDS – After receiving notification the Cobblestone Museum is one of 21 history-related organizations selected to participate in a matching grant program from the Pomeroy Foundation, Museum director Doug Farley has issued a plea for donations to meet the two-for-one goal.

The grant program is geared toward raising funds to support safely reopening under New York state guidelines. Up to $50,000 in matching grants in total will be awarded.

Farley learned about the grant through the Museum Association of New York, a group of about 650 museums and historical societies in New York that work together for the betterment of New York state museums.

“The Cobblestone didn’t qualify to apply for the first grant due to the size of our budget,” Farley said. “The first grant was intended for very small museums only. The second and third rounds opened up to museums with slightly larger budgets, so we were able to apply. I felt we had a compelling grant proposal, but I knew there were more than 1,000 museums and historical societies in the state that could also apply, so the numbers game always troubled me.”

During the application process, Farley asked himself how the museum would handle the matching fund requirement, because they had recently conducted a very successful fundraiser for their 60th anniversary, that they called “Sixty for Sixty,” in which they asked supporters to donate $60 in honor of the museum’s 60th year.

“We had more than 100 individuals lend a hand with that effort which was very gratifying,” Farley added. “So when approached the Pomeroy Challenge Grant, I was a little worried about how the same people would react to a second request so quickly on the heels of the first campaign. In the end, we decided to hem the Pomeroy event around our annual campaign, which we usually conduct in November. We moved the timing of that request up to August/September to coincide with the Pomeroy Fund’s timeline and reminded our donors this will be the final fundraising campaign for 2020.”

The Pomeroy grant is a 2:1 match, meaning they will match $1 for every $2 the museum raises, to a limit of $6,000. Sept. 30 is the deadline to make a donation. Checks can be made payable to Cobblestone Society and mailed to P.O. Box 363, Albion, 14411. Donors may also use the online giving tab at Membership renewals made during this time will also apply to the matching grant.

“I hope the challenge is well accepted, and folks realize their donations can go a lot further to provide us with needed support, because of the Pomeroy Fund’s 2:1 match,” Farley said.

In spite of this being a challenging year, Farley said the Cobblestone Society is continuing to explore the Visitors’ Center concept.

“We feel it would be a win/win for us and for Orleans County tourism in general,” he said. “We would all benefit by having a long-term partnership with Orleans County to provide the traveling public with much needed information about tourism options in the county, including sport fishing, cobblestone architecture, the Medina Railroad Museum and much more. The Cobblestone Museum would be an ideal location to catch the ‘wave’ of travelers moving across the state to reach other tourist destinations, like Niagara Falls or New York City.”

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