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OFA students to distribute $10,000 to local services organizations next year

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A student philanthropic board will be established at the Ogdensburg Free Academy next year with the purpose of giving away $10,000.

With $5,000 coming from both the Hammond-based Sweetgrass Foundation and the Northern New York Community Foundation, which manages endowments for several area schools, the program will give students a chance to learn firsthand about giving back to the community, Superintendent Timothy M. Vernsey said.

At Monday’s board of education meeting, Mr. Vernsey said local organizations that work to benefit the community “will apply for funds, and then the students will decide whether they are worthy.”

The student council responsible for determining where to spend the money will be handled like an extra-curricular organization, Mr. Vernsey said, and over the next several months, teachers and members of the administration will determine how to select members.

“We thought this was a great idea,” Mr. Vernsey said, speaking on behalf of the administration.

In particular, Mr. Vernsey said, it would give students a chance to learn about how grant money is allocated and allow them to get an insider’s look at the philanthropic process.

Once the students have made their selection, that recommendation will be passed along to the Northern New York Community Foundation for a final review, Mr. Vernsey said.

The $10,000 grant is specifically for next year, Mr. Vernsey said, with future grants remaining a possibility.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for our students to learn about the value of community service and giving,” Mr. Vernsey said, adding that he hopes it show students just how many service organizations there are in the community.

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