A $2,550 Growing the Grassroots grant from PTNY has made a major difference in the visibility and energy of the Friends of Letchworth State Park. The grant funds were just the catalyst needed to dramatically increase memberships, donations, website hits, Facebook members and additional grants for the western New York park friends group.
In-kind donations were critical to the Friends of Letchworth State Park’s ability to accomplish multiple projects with the PTNY grant. A professional nature photographer helped the group create membership rack cards that have been distributed in key places within and outside the park. The same photographer donated park images to be used on the organization’s cargo trailer, creating an attractive presence at park events. Park photos were also an important element of the banners, now located at the Visitor Center and park museum, which the Friends created to showcase past, present, and future projects.
The efforts to promote the group are reaping results. In the last year, membership grew by 30% and donations went from $2,700 to more than $18,000. The Friends also credit PTNY’s grant for helping them receive a $3,000 Every Day Capacity Building Grant from the National Environmental Education Foundation and a $16,200 state grant through the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council.
“These are all certainly wonderful accomplishments for us in themselves, but perhaps the greatest achievement we have seen as a result of PTNY’s grant has occurred within our group itself. The size of our Board has increased from 8 to 16 members. The enthusiasm, interest, involvement, and momentum has increased substantially as we have realized more and more that we are positively affecting our beloved park with the projects we are taking on. We are so excited to see how far we’ve come and what we have been able to accomplish.” Carol Rathbun, President, Friends of Letchworth State Park