Cloudsplitter foundation


As it seems relevant we will publish information here that is affecting how we look at opportunities to help.

Cash awards for early childcare educators

The Cloudsplitter Foundation today announced the availability of Childcare Excellence Awards to promote participation in the QUALITYstarsNY initiative, a program that trains and rates childcare professionals as they progress through a proven five-step program. 

Participants are eligible for multiple $2,000 cash awards as they progress through the QUALITYstarsNY program.

Click here for the complete press release.

Our New Trustee

Cloudsplitter Foundation has added Holly Wolff to our board.  Holly has been serving as our volunteer Director of Special Projects. After a 34-year IBM career she chaired the board of Pendragon Theatre, serves as a trustee and Secretary of Adirondack Foundation, and is Chair of Berkshire Choral International. Holly was a trustee and Board Chair of United Way of Connecticut before she and husband Dave moved permanently to Saranac Lake.

Adirondack Benefits of the American Rescue Plan

Cloudsplitter Foundation maintains a list of financial benefits of the recent Rescue Plan, found here.

Rapid Response Fund

Cloudsplitter Foundation has created a Rapid Response Fund (RRF) to provide expeditious assistance to area nonprofits with Covid-related and other urgent needs.  The RRF is a responsive granting resource that can be accessed quickly to assist during times of crisis.

Grants of up to $5,000 are limited to Adirondack not-for-profits with, or sponsored by, organizations with 501c3 status.  We are not able to fund individuals or businesses directly.

Applicants will work directly with Cloudsplitter’s Director who has rapid-response grant authority. Grant recipients will be asked to submit a follow-up report that demonstrates the use of this grant and its effectiveness.

To initiate an RRF grant application, please contact Chenelle at or 518.992.4900


Foundation Results, 2020

Increasing Impact

  • Contributed a quarter million dollars along with staff and trustee time to partner with Adirondack Foundation and their Special and Urgent Needs (SUN) Fund for Covid-related rapid response

  • Created Emergency Sustenance Grants to support nonprofit organizations in danger of failure because of the pandemic

  • Won the Appeals Court case to save the historic St. Gabriel's Church for Paul Smith's College

  • Our Grants Advisor assisted 11 not-for-profits in raising $827,879 in new grants, $474,116 of which Cloudsplitter Foundation is directly responsible for

  • Added a Special Projects Coordinator to address infrastructure needs exposed by the pandemic

Financial Results

  • Made 127 gifts and grants to organizations, totaling $1,321,873

  • Started 2020 with $24.9M in assets and ended with $26M

  • 100% of the Foundation's expenses and distributions were program related

  • Reported $11,264,232 in ten-year grants (2011-2020) with 9.7% average annual investment returns over that period


St Gabriel's Church Saved

For over a decade The Cloudsplitter Foundation has been working with Paul Smith’s College (PSC) and the diocese of Ogdensburg to secure the abandoned and beautiful St. Gabriel’s church that sits next to the PSC campus. 

The property on which the church sits was deeded to the diocese in 1896 by Paul Smith himself so his catholic employees would have a place of worship.  The deed specified that if the property should cease to be used for religious purposes it would revert to Paul Smith’s.  The diocese removed all religious materials and stopped using the church in 2015. 

Negotiations to secure the church as a non-denominational retreat for PSC students then were unsuccessful. The diocese insisted that the building could never be used for even non-denominational religious or quasi-religious purposes, such as student weddings or memorial services, which was exactly the use that PSC planned.

 In 2017 when we learned that the Diocese of Ogdensburg was planning to destroy the building, the Cloudsplitter Foundation entered a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with PSC giving the Foundation permission to act on PSC’s behalf.  We believed that under the 1896 deed the property had reverted to PSC ownership and offered to take on this fight to save the church.

The diocese rejected our attempt to secure the title and we ended up in court.  The NY Supreme Court (the second-highest court in NY) ruled against us and for the diocese, so we authorized our law firm, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna in Albany, to file an appeal.  Whiteman Osterman & Hanna’s Appeals Court specialist, Rob Rosborough, filed that appeal last February.  Oral arguments took place this past August, and the video of that testimony is linked here. On September 17th, New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled unanimously in our favor. A link to the court’s ruling is attached here.  

On October 27th Cloudsplitter Foundation's Chair, Lee Keet, turned the keys to the church over to Dr. Jon Strauss, PSC's President. Key transfer

We will now work closely with PSC to devise a plan to convert the building for student use.

Holly Wolff named Director of Special Projects

Holly Wolff has agreed to take on the volunteer role of Director of Special Projects for the Cloudsplitter Foundation, with the objective of looking at information providers across the North Country including 2-1-1, Adirondack Wellness Connections, and the various agencies who directly provide information to residents, to identify best practices here and across the country, and to work with other philanthropists, government agencies, and non-profits to improve information retrieval across the North Country before the next crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed faults in many aspects of social services, including both capacity and communications.  It is our residents who feel the ultimate brunt, and our providers who carry the burden. At the same time as we work to respond to emergency needs, we need to look forward at the infrastructure changes required.

Holly most recently chaired the board of Pendragon Theatre. She is also a trustee of Adirondack Foundation, where she serves as Secretary, and Vice Chair of Berkshire Choral International. Prior to coming to the Adirondacks full time, in 2013 after her retirement from a 34-year IBM career, she held volunteer leadership roles in a number of non-profits.  Holly was a trustee of United Way of SW Connecticut as well as Board Chair of UW of CT, which manages the state-wide 2-1-1 network there.

Solving a problem of this magnitude will require time, coordination, and government support, both political and financial.  Interim solutions or smaller smaller scope may be required to start.  Holly will report back to us regularly on issues and opportunities.

Please join us in welcoming Holly.

Covid-19 Notice

During February through May of the Coronavirus pandemic the Cloudsplitter Foundation restricted grants to emergency awards related to the pandemic.  We transferred $250,000 to the jointly managed (with the Adirondack Foundation) Special and Urgent Needs (SUN) Fund.  This fund still exists for emergency grants occasioned by Covid-19 of up to $10,000.  Applications and information are linked here.

Effective June 1, 2020 the Cloudsplitter Foundation will again accept grant requests for quarterly review. The next cycle will be for grants submitted by June 30th for review and award in July.  In response to the pandemic and the associated stresses on our local food supply, healthcare, childcare, and small businesses, we will prioritize grants that address those needs first. 

We have also added a new category of grant to our Mission Support awards. The current annually recurring mission support awards can be up to $5,000 for operational needs.  New one-time Emergency Sustenance Awards will have no cap.  These ESAs are special-purpose grants to rescue mission-critical local not-for-profits rendered financially unstable or at risk of failure by the pandemic.   

We will also prioritize project grants based on the ability of such grants to effect long-term systemic change.  Examples would be innovative ways to improve our emergency response, communication, transportation, or food distribution networks.  “Brick and mortar” grants will continue to be given low priority unless part of an larger strategic project.  Endowment grants will continue to be denied.

Covid-19 Financial aids are linked here


Foundation Results, 2019

Increasing Impact

  • Created a Human Well-Being advisory panel to initiate projects that could improve the lives of our fellow Adirondack citizens
  • Hired a Grants Advisor to help Adirondack not-for-profits find funding
  • Created recurring mission support grants
  • Supported the Adirondack Funders' Collaborative
  • Funded, with the Adirondack Foundation, a vertical study of improved day care opportunities


Financial Results

  • Made gifts and grants to 128 different organizations totaling $1,155,000
  • Started 2019 with $21.4 million in assets and ended with $25.2 million
  • Portfolio earnings of $4.8 million represented a 22.5% appreciation, and a 32% increase in the non-cash portion
  • 100% of the Foundation’s expenses and distributions were program-related


Cloudsplitter Grants Advisor Named

The Cloudsplitter Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Kara Page to the new role of Grants Advisor. 

Kara Page

Ms. Page comes to the Foundation with 28 years of experience, having worked with non-profits, government and international institutions, and the private sector, in environment, the arts, and community development.  The role of Grants Advisor has been created to allow the Cloudsplitter Foundation to offer free advice and support to local not-for-profits who are seeking increased funding from new grant-making sources. 

Ms. Page will solicit support invitations from selected Cloudsplitter grantees and prospective grantees who possess the necessary capabilities to use such support productively. Her charter at the Foundation is to improve local grant-writing capabilities, increase net funding for local not-for-profits, and to increase the in-flow of grants to the Adirondacks.

Kara will work with the Cloudsplitter Foundation Board, the Foundation’s Human Wellness Advisors, and existing grantees to identify the best opportunities for use of her skills.  She will also welcome new requests for assistance from prospective grantees.  She can be reached as


Foundation results, 2018

  • Distributed $1,260,707, 5.2% of assets, to 113 grantees
  • Lost $1,059,818 on investments (-4.37%) vs. DJIA loss of -5.2%  [N.B: All of the December losses were recouped in January]

  • Year-end assets totaled $21,801,222

  • Spent 0.39% of assets on administration


Bonnie Keet completes term as trustee

Bonnie KeetAt its January 6th board meeting the Cloudsplitter Trustees thanked Bonnie Keet for her many years of service.  Bonnie will continue as an adviser to the Foundation, concentrating on projects that involve human well-being, including health & health services, pre-K child services, family support, youth services and support, elder housing and support, aid for people with disabilities, and food & food security.

Ellen Rocco joins as Cloudsplitter Trustee Ellen Rocco

Ellen Rocco is the station manager at North Country Public Radio, where she has worked since 1980. She has served on the board of NPR and on panels for many media and community organizations, including those of CPB, NY Humanities Council, NYS Council on the Arts, and several Adirondack North Country groups. She has lived on a farm in St. Lawrence County since 1971.


Melissa Eisinger is the recently retired VP of Adirondack Foundation, serving donors and nonprofit organizations to enhance the region's communities through philanthropy.  For twenty years prior, she was with the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and Adirondack Land Trust.  Current and former board service includes the Northern Forest Atlas Foundation, the Bruce L. Crary Foundation, and High Peaks Education Foundation.  She is a friendship volunteer for Mercy Care of the Adirondacks.


Foundation results, 2017

  • Distributed $1,496,908, 6.55% of assets, to 112 grantees
  • Earned $2,841,155 on investments (12.77%)
  • Year-end assets totaled $23,489,253
  • Spent 0.36% of assets on administration

Foundation results, 2016

  • The Foundation’s investments earned $1,234,438 in 2016, a net investment return of 5.52%. 
  • Grants made totaled $1,188,721 or 5.32% of starting assets.
  • Administrative expenses were 0.15% of assets.

Foundation results, 2015

  • Due to market weakness the Foundation portfolio contracted 12.9% in 2015 and dispensed $909,159 in grants and direct contributions to 501c3 organizations.

Foundation results, 2014

  • The Foundation earned 10.1% on its portfolio in 2014 and dispensed $1.54 million in grants and direct contributions to 501c3 organizations.

Foundation results, 2013

  • The Foundation earned 29.1% on its portfolio in 2013 and dispensed $1.1 million in grants and direct contributions to 501c3 organizations.