Tonawanda News

March 6, 2013

Foundation to tender $50K in grants

By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — The East Hill Foundation, which moved its multimillion dollar philanthropic organization to North Tonawanda last year, will give out $50,000 in grant money to two local non-profits as part of a five-year deal with the city. 

As part of the grant, Twin City Community Outreach will receive $38,000 for a partial roof replacement and the YWCA of the Tonawandas will use  $12,000 to replace kitchen equipment and replace its exterior doors, according to City Attorney Shawn Nickerson, who updated the council on the developments Tuesday evening.

“It’s the first year for this and it will be around for years to come,” he said. “And their work will certainly improve the quality of life in the city.”

The foundation, itself a nonprofit, is exempt from many of the taxes that would apply to private entities, though formed an agreement with the city for a payment in lieu of taxes, rather than take the issue to court. 

Nickerson said East Hill, which was started by North Tonawanda’s Greatbatch family, will actually pay significantly more in donations than it would in taxes under a non-profit classification.

“It’s really an agreement between the municipality and the organization,” Nickerson said. “They’re not paying their full assessed value but they’re paying an extra amount instead. And they can certainly do more, that’s just the number we’re working with. They could exceed $50,000.” 

North Tonawanda may also apply for the grants, according to Nickerson, who said if the city decides to apply it would be for the funding of things like improvements to local baseball diamonds. 

Council President Rich Andres, who also represents the second ward where the foundation is located at 17 Island St., said it was already a huge victory for the city when the group moved its offices to North Tonawanda last year. The donations are a bonus.

“This is exactly what the PILOT was designated to do,” he said. “For me, it’s seeing a good idea pay off.” 

East Hill is now soliciting applications for the next grant allotment, with a deadline for submissions of April 2. 

Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.