(WATERTOWN, NY) – The Volunteer Transportation Center Foundation has been named the winner of a $25,000 State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant.
“Words cannot express how excited we were to learn we had won a $25,000 grant from our friends at State Farm,” said Jeremiah S. Papineau, the nonprofit organization’s Director of Communications and Foundation Director. “It was something to be named a finalist but above and beyond to actually win a grant to help folks here in the North Country.”
The VTC Foundation was one of only 200 finalists across the nation in the grant competition and the only nonprofit organization in the running in Jefferson, Lewis or St. Lawrence Counties. The competition allowed for members of the public to vote up to 10 times per day for their favorite finalist. Traditionally, the competition has awarded $25,000 grants to the top 40 vote-getters. However, this year, in observance of State Farm’s 100th anniversary, the top 100 finalists each receive $25,000. Voting was from April 27 to May 6.
“Every day, we were encouraging people to vote for the VTC Foundation,” said Mr. Papineau. “We were emailing, posting on social media, reaching out to local media. We did whatever we could to get the word out. And apparently it paid off.”
This marks the second time a nonprofit organization in the North Country has received a State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant. In 2017, the Lowville Food Pantry won a grant thanks to great support from the community, including their local State Farm agent, Tom Spaulding. Mr. Spaulding is credited with being instrumental in helping the VTC Foundation in its effort to successfully obtain a grant.
“We had help from State Farm agents across the North Country and we greatly thank them,” said Mr. Papineau. “However, Tom went above and beyond to make sure the community knew we were in the running. A day didn’t go by that Tom wasn’t right there alongside us trumpeting the news.”
“I’m thrilled, but not surprised, the Volunteer Transportation Center earned enough votes to win a State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant,” said Mr. Spaulding. “This accomplishment speaks to the amazing program, and the organization’s staff, volunteers and supporters. We, at State Farm, are proud to fund this program that helps neighbors in need get to important, and sometimes event life-saving, appointments.”
“We believe everyone deserves the support and resources needed to lead healthy, successful, fulfilling lives,” he continued. “At State Farm, our mission is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. Our financial support of the Volunteer Transportation Center can accomplish that mission by providing transportation services to neighbors in need.”
The funding secured by the VTC Foundation will mean $25,000 to help the Volunteer Transportation Center provide transportation to non-emergent medical appointments for those truly in need. The funding will be utilized for volunteer driver mileage reimbursement for the VTC’s charitable transportation programs – something for which there is greater need since the VTC Foundation applied to be in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist program.
When the VTC filed its application earlier this year, it was prior to a need for the VTC to increase its charitable transportation mileage reimbursement from $0.445 per mile to $0.50 per mile. The increase – which went into effect March 4 – means even more when paired with the fact the VTC provided 1,073,435 miles of charitable transportation last year. It’s the first time the organization surpassed the 1,000,000-mile mark.
“When we look at where we are already this year, in terms of miles of transportation provided, and where we expect to be by the end of the year, we only expect that number to increase,” said Mr. Papineau. “That means even more of an expense for mileage reimbursement. That’s why this grant from State Farm means so much.” T
hose interested in other ways to support the Volunteer Transportation Center and the work it does may visit www.volunteertransportationcenter.org. In addition to donations, volunteer drivers are always needed. More information is available at 315-788-0422.
ABOUT STATE FARM
For 100 years, the mission of State Farm has been, and continues to be, to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams.
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its more than 19,400 agents and approximately 53,400 employees serve over 87 million policies and accounts – which includes auto, fire, life, health, commercial policies and financial services accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available.
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 39 on the 2021 Fortune 500 list of largest companies.
For more information, visit www.statefarm.com.
ABOUT THE VOLUNTEER TRANSPORTATION CENTER
The Volunteer Transportation Center, Inc. (VTC), established in 1991, drives thousands of miles each year assisting community members in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties and beyond. Over the last 30 years, this essential non-profit organization has provided rides to health care appointments, food sources and other critical needs destinations for residents.
In 2021, VTC volunteer drivers provided 26,711 charitable trips over 1,073,435 miles in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence Counties. Of those miles, 470,002 helped those in Jefferson County, 151,954 in Lewis County, and 451,479 in St. Lawrence County. That equated to approximately $477,679 in mileage reimbursement for our volunteers.
The staff, boards of directors and volunteer drivers look forward to a time when transportation to community activities and services is accessible to all North Country residents regardless of economic or specialized needs. But for now the mission drives on — striving to provide transportation to health, wellness and critical needs destinations utilizing volunteers and mobility management for anyone who has barriers to transportation.
For more information about how you can help the Volunteer Transportation Center, about its upcoming events, or to become a volunteer driver, contact the agency in Jefferson and Lewis Counties at 315-788-0422, in St. Lawrence County at 315-714-2034, in Oswego County at 315-694-6644, or Western New York at 585-250-5030. Volunteers drive their own cars, set their own hours and receive mileage reimbursement but, more importantly, make a difference in the community. To learn more, visit www.volunteertransportationcenter.org.
To learn more, visit www.volunteertransportationcenter.org.