Reminder: LEAF grant application deadline is in 2 weeks

Work was continuing on the new beach volleyball and pickleball courts next to the North Elba Athletic Fields in Lake Placid when this photo was taken on July 29. The town of North Elba received a Local Enhancement and Advancement Fund grant of $48,000 in November 2022 to go toward new fencing to separate the beach volleyball and pickleball courts from the lacrosse fields and to install new gates to keep the town’s landfill and construction and debris pit areas more secure. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

The town of North Elba’s Local Enhancement and Advancement Fund — LEAF — has distributed more than $3 million for more than 80 local projects since April 2021, and the application deadline for Round 6 of the grants is Friday, Sept. 1.

This fund — created by redistributing 2% of the county’s 5% occupancy tax — is responsible for helping many worthwhile projects throughout the town, which spans from the village of Lake Placid, west through the hamlet of Ray Brook and into the village of Saranac Lake. We encourage groups to get their applications in on time.

The North Elba LEAF program — and other local enhancement funds for towns throughout the county — are the result of a vision from Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism officials, led by CEO Jim McKenna. A few years ago, they suggested the county increase its 3% “bed” tax to 5% so tourist dollars could help local communities. The Essex County Board of Supervisors approved the proposal in June 2020.

ROOST continues to use 3% of the tax for marketing purposes as the destination marketing and management organization for Hamilton and Essex counties and the villages of Lake Placid, Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake.

The tax is collected when people stay at a resort, hotel, motel, bed and breakfast or short-term rental property within the county. The funds are distributed to the 18 Essex County towns and used to benefit residents and the experience of visitors.

From idea to sales pitch to reality, the North Elba LEAF program now has a track record that shows incredible results that affect residents’ lives. These grants have helped local government bodies and nonprofit organizations pay for projects that might otherwise not have been funded.

Groups at the heart of our community that have been helped include the Lake Placid Public Library, Mirror Lake Watershed Association, Barkeater Trails Alliance, Lake Placid Community Beautification Association, North Elba Park District, Adirondack Medical Center, Homestead Development Corporation, Shipman Youth Center, John Brown Lives!, Lake Placid Central School District, Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Service, American Legion Post 326, Adirondack Mountain Club, Cornell University Uihlein Maple Research Forest, Lake Placid Sinfonietta, Lake Placid Horse Show Association, Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department, Ecumenical Charity Program, Educational Opportunity Fund for the LPCSD, St. Agnes School, New York Ski Educational Foundation, Adirondack Film Society, Adirondack Rail Trail Association and the Ausable River Association.

We know more work needs to be done — it never ends — and more groups can benefit from the LEAF program. That’s why we’re reminding readers of this important deadline.

LEAF grant funding is awarded after a full review of applications by the LEAF committee, which presents recommendations to the North Elba Town Council for final approval. Grants for Round 6 will be announced in November.

LEAF grants are available for nonprofits (any 501c organization serving the social, cultural, or economic interests of our community); municipalities; public sector organizations; and regional agencies.


The program project:

– will positively impact the community and its visitors;

– address a significant need of the community;

– will be executed by an organization that demonstrates sound administration and financial management;

– entails an initiative that will not depend on ongoing funding from LEAF;

– will be completed within a defined timeline; and

– must clearly be in North Elba or benefit North Elba residents.

Applicants requesting $10,000 or more will be required to provide additional information as requested by the committee.

Not typically funded

– Grants for individuals

– Capital campaigns

– Deficit financing

– Endowments

– Political organizations or campaigns

– Lobbying legislators or influencing elections

– Fundraising events

– Core operating expenses for public sector, government or nonprofits

– Projects that are typically the funding responsibility of federal, state or local governments

– Scholarship programs; however, exceptions are made for summer camp or afterschool program scholarships

– Projects that have already taken place

– Expenses already incurred

– Religious activities, including, but not limited to, religious services, promotion of religious beliefs, or activities that are restricted to church or religious group membership

Details on how to apply are available online at www.roostadk.com/leaf.

Starting at $1.44/week.

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