Ironman benefits local nonprofits

SARANAC LAKE - Thanks to the Lake Placid Ironman triathlon and the Adirondack Community Trust, a few lucky nonprofits are getting a helping hand.

High Peaks Hospice & Palliative Care, Families First of Essex County, and the Town of Jay were all among the dozens of recipients of grants from the North America Sports Community Fund at Adirondack Community Trust.

Also known as the Ironman Community Fund, the collection of donations goes to help the many nonprofit organizations who support Ironman events, with a heavy emphasis on providing sports opportunities for children.

The fund has given away more than $1 million over the past seven years to nonprofit groups in the various communities throughout the U.S. and Canada that host Ironman events.

In partnership with North America Sports, Inc., ACT manages the fund as it pertains to the Lake Placid region, which has hosted the Ironman event for the past nine years.

Darsie Townsend of High Peaks Hospice & Palliative Care said High Peaks Hospice was pleased to be awarded a $750 grant from the fund, which she said will be used for direct patient care.

"High Peaks Hospice & Palliative Care receives no regular funds from either the state or federal governments," said Townsend. "Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance providers reimburse approximately 85% of actual costs and Medicare is threatening a 6.6% decrease in funding as of October 2009."

Townsend said the hospice turns no one away, regardless of their ability to pay. As a result, they rely on generosity such as that displayed by the Ironman fund.

In Elizabethtown, Families First of Essex County received a similar grant. Executive director JoAnne Caswell said the money will be used to fund a week-long day camp for children with emotional or behavioral challenges.

The town of Jay received $5,000 from the North America Sports Community Fund, which will be used to offset the cost of new soccer fields in Au Sable Forks' Grove Park, said town supervisor Randy Douglas.

"Due to the growth of participants in our youth soccer program, we currently do not have the facilities to accomodate their needs," he said. "The grant from the Adirondack Community Trust will give us additional resources to offset the cost of obtaining items such as top soil, grass seed, bleachers, a scoreboard, and other necessities."

The North America Sports Community Fund is supplied by donations, which are tax deductible through the Adirondack Community Trust. For more information on how to contribute to the fund, contact Andrea Grout at the ACT office at Andrea@GenerousACT.org or 523-9904.

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