2019 Grant Awards




The Association for Vision Rehabilitation and Employment (A.V.R.E.) provides employment and rehabilitation services to people in the Southern Tier who are blind or visually impaired. One of its services is orientation and mobility training, teaching people who are legally blind to navigate at home, at work or in school, and to move safely from one of those places to another. A Hoyt Foundation grant of $58,000 will help A.V.R.E. build an outdoor orientation and mobility training space in downtown Binghamton, where consumers can practice skills they need to travel in the city or suburbs. Using a long white cane in this controlled environment, individuals will gain experience traveling on sidewalks and streets, on surfaces made of grass, gravel, brick stone, cement or blacktop, among others.



In its latest strategic plan, the Binghamton Zoo names sustainability, and an emphasis on green initiatives, among its important focus areas. With that in mind, the Zoo plans to develop an onsite facility to transform waste from herbivore animals into compost. The compost will then nourish gardens operated by local organizations such as VINES and Cornell Cooperative Extension. Thanks to this project, the Zoo will send less waste to the landfill, save thousands of dollars a year on trash removal, provide a safe alternative to chemical fertilizers and earn money through the sale of compost. The Zoo also plans to develop a rainwater harvesting system, which will cut the amount of city water used at the Zoo. The Hoyt Foundation has supported this program with an $87,000 grant.



The Broome Community College (BCC) Foundation raises money to help Broome County residents further their educations. The main vehicle for that help is the grants-in-aid program, which awards scholarships based on factors such as a student’s income and family situation. Seventy-five percent of students at SUNY Broome Community College receive scholarships through this program. Hoyt has supported grants-in-aid with an annual gift since 1987. A typical Hoyt scholarship provides $1,000 per year to a student who maintains a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Hoyt recently made a one-time grant of $200,000 to establish a designated fund, set up in perpetuity. The BCC Foundation will invest this principal and use the interest to provide annual scholarships.



The United Cultural Fund (UCF) of the Broome County Arts Council (BCAC) supports the arts in Broome County in two ways. It provides unrestricted general operating funds to established nonprofit arts organizations that enrich the community’s cultural life, and it makes grants for projects by individual arts and arts organizations. BCAC conducts a campaign each year to raise money for the UCF. As it does every year, Hoyt contributed $100,000 grant to the UCF in 2019.



The food pantries operated by Catholic Charities of Broome County help people in need not only with groceries, but also with other basic necessities when possible, such as diapers, adult diapers, feminine care products and toilet paper. The Hoyt Foundation will provide $7,745 to purchase those non-food items.



The Chenango Arts Council (CAC) administers the Decentralization Re-Grant Program of the New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA) for Broome, Chenango and Otsego County. Under that program, CAC receives funding from NYSCA and uses it to make grants to small arts organizations throughout each county. The grants have fostered cultural development in even the furthest reaches of those counties. In recent years, Hoyt has provided additional funds to supplement the Decentralization Re-Grant program in Broome County. Hoyt’s most recent award was $16,000 to support grants in 2020.



Part of the SUNY system, Empire State College provides an alternative to campus-based college education to more than 17,000 students each year. Since 1993, the Hoyt Foundation has made an annual grant to the Empire State College Foundation (ESCF), funding scholarships to students from Broome County. Two to five local students each year have received Hoyt Scholarships, with typical awards of $1,500 each. In 2019, the Hoyt Foundation guaranteed the future of those awards with a one-time, $112,000 grant. ESCF will use this money to create a designated fund. It will use $6,000 of the grant to fund scholarships in 2020 and do the same in 2021. The remaining $100,000 will serve as principal, which ESCF will invest, using the interest to support annual scholarships from 2022 onward.



The Family Enrichment Network (FEN) provides a wide range of services for families, with programs aimed at preschool and special education, childcare, housing, nutrition and many other needs. Headquartered in Johnson City, FEN also operates in several other locations, including one on Fayette Street in Binghamton. Hoyt’s grant of $4,409 will help FEN buy and install a wheelchair lift at that location.



For almost 90 years, the Fenton Free Library (FFL) has served its community not only as a source of reading material, but as a gathering place for residents, who go there to enjoy a variety of resources and programs. More than 270 people participated in the library’s summer reading program in 2018, and holiday events at FFL draw such large crowds that the library must hold them outdoors, no matter the weather. To support its role as a community center, FFL is adding a large Community Space Addition, which will let the library accommodate larger groups. The new space will include two gender-neutral restrooms that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a kitchenette and an ADA-compliant entrance. To help construct this new space, the Hoyt Foundation has awarded FFL a capital/capacity building grant of $85,000.



Part of the historical Goodwill Theatre complex in Johnson City, the Schorr Family Firehouse Stage (SFFHS) has hosted performances in its 150/175-seat space since 2006. Goodwill Theatre, Inc. (GWT) has drawn large crowds to this venue, used the space to showcase programming, built a solid audience and provided forms of entertainment that audience members can’t find elsewhere in the community. With a capacity building/program grant of $45,000, Hoyt will provide $15,000 to support programming at the SFFHS for each of three years. These funds will let GWT offer more programs, of a wider variety, aimed at a broader array of audiences. The money will also let GWT secure programs further in advance, forming cost-effective routing and block booking partnerships with other presenters in the Northeast.



An important piece of Binghamton’s history, the Jonas Kilmer Mansion today houses the Temple Concord religious school and Hanukkah House Museum and offers a venue for many public programs. The Hoyt Foundation will provide the Kilmer Mansion $20,070 for an organizational assessment and feasibility study to help determine whether the mansion can operate as an independent organization. Coordinated by the New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON), the study will focus on governance and board development, fiscal policies and internal controls, resource development and policies and procedures. NYCON will also help the organization develop a short-term plan to prioritize and implement suggestions that emerge from the study.


LUMA Festival

Since 2015, the LUMA Festival has brought tens of thousands of people to the streets of downtown Binghamton in September to enjoy storytelling through projection mapping, a technology that turns urban buildings into 3D animated canvases. Past festivals have featured the work of artists based everywhere from Binghamton, Ithaca and New York City to Barcelona, Budapest and Istanbul. A grant of $5,000 from the Hoyt Foundation will let the LUMA Festival and its fiscal sponsor, the Binghamton Local Development Corporation, buy permanent equipment for the festival.



Hoyt has granted the Roberson Museum and Science Center $2,850 for the purchase of four important family quilts for the Roberson Museum Folk Art collection.


S.P.E.A.K. Animal Hospital and Feline Sanctuary

The Society for the Promotion of Education in Animal Kindness (S.P.E.A.K.) in Binghamton operates a nonprofit veterinary hospital and a sanctuary for stray, abused, abandoned and injured cats. The Hoyt Foundation has awarded S.P.E.A.K. $8,000 to purchase a new ventilation system in the sanctuary’s small cat room.



The Tri-Cities Opera (TCO) will bring “Simply Streisand,” a performance by former TCO Resident Artist Carla DelVillaggio, to the Forum Theater on February 29, 2020. Hoyt will provide $8,000 to support this program.



Triple Cities Makerspace was founded in 2013 in Binghamton to promote creativity and public engagement in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). In its 3,200-square foot facility, community members take advantage of tools and educational opportunities in metal working, wood working, artistry, electronics and computer applications. With help from a $75,000 grant from Hoyt, Makerspace is developing pilot programs that will: train employees in skills needed by advanced manufacturing companies in Broome County, with an emphasis on training veterans; help staff at several local school districts or libraries enhance their STEAM curricula and activities; and create a mobile STEAM laboratory for use by under-funded school districts and other community educational venues.



The risk of gun violence in public places is an unfortunate feature of modern life. To protect its patrons, the YMCA of Broome County spent 18 months defining risks, developing policies and identifying measures it could take to increase safety in its two facilities, in Binghamton and Johnson City. As it implements its plan, the YMCA will use $27,246 from the Hoyt Foundation to buy and install an alarm and response system, reinforce vulnerable windows with bulletproof glass and add door locks to secure certain areas of the building during an active shooter incident.


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