Long-Time Skaneateles Resident Leaves Nearly $900K Bequest to Community Foundation

Seven of the region’s nonprofit organizations will now be receiving additional annual support thanks to the forethought of long-time Skaneateles resident and business owner, Juliette Klein Sharpe, before her passing. With the help of her estate attorney, Sharpe designated a provision in her will to establish a fund at the Central New York Community Foundation before she passed away last year.

A portion of Sharpe’s estate established what the Community Foundation terms a “designated fund”, which is designed to provide annual funding to one or more nonprofit organizations named by the donor.  The Foundation expects more than $850,000 to be deposited in the fund when the estate is fully settled. The Juliette Klein Sharpe Fund is intended to provide perpetual support to the following organizations: Sarah House, Matthew House, Hospice of the Finger Lakes, Skaneateles Festival, Vera House, Skaneateles Historical Society and Baltimore Woods Nature Center.

Sharpe spent 30 years working for New York Telephone before retiring at age 50. In 1977, she moved to Skaneateles and considered herself lucky to have found a home on the lake where she also maintained a small business – Lakeside Massage Therapy. In 2013, she began a battle with brain cancer that quickly affected her body but not her caring and giving spirit.

Sharpe passed away in February 2014 at the age of 72, but while still alive she wrote how pleased she was to be able to give back to the community by establishing her fund.

“I am pleased to know that the funds directed to the Community Foundation will be used to help people who live in the region I have called home,” she wrote. “This fund will serve as a vehicle that reflects my deep appreciation for what the people of this area have meant in my life.”

Sharpe’s early age of retirement had afforded her the opportunity to pursue many volunteer activities, some of which related to her passion for the healing art of massage. In her meetings with Jennifer Owens, Community Foundation Vice President, Julie recalled the joy she felt when she was able to use massage to assist those suffering from illness and disease at organizations like Matthew House and Hospice of the Finger Lakes.

“Her cancer diagnosis spurred Julie to think critically about the ways that she wanted to honor her close friends and show appreciation for the organizations that impacted her so deeply,” said Owens. “Julie’s many interests and passion for her Skaneateles community came through the breadth of organizations that were selected to receive support from her fund. From hospice care to history, she took care to reflect on the many places she had volunteered or benefited from service to make sure that those places were included.”

Sharpe’s fund began sending annual support to the designated charities this year. As the endowment grows utilizing the Community Foundation’s spending policy and investment strategy, it is expected that the amount of annual support available to each charity will continue to increase over time.

About the Central New York Community Foundation

Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of permanent charitable endowments for the betterment of the region.  The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of nearly $190 million. It awarded $9.9 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations and since its inception has invested more than $135 million in the community. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and businesses through the administration of nearly 700 funds. The organization also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen local nonprofits and address the region’s most pressing challenges. cnycf.org

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