Alexander Gardner’s “Portrait of Abraham Lincoln, 8 November 1863.” Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. (photo courtesy of The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History)
ALBANY Abraham Lincoln is all the talk in Albany, but it’s not just because the film about his final months in office has been nominated for seven 2013 Golden Globe awards.
America’s 16th president is also making news because of a letter he wrote in 1863 that has ties to the area.
The letter was recently auctioned off by Sotheby’s, and a significant portion of the proceeds from its sale have been dedicated to a fund that will benefit the residents of Albany’s South End and Mansion neighborhoods.
How to apply
Institutions actively engaged in improving and supporting the life of the residents of Albany’s South End and Mansion neighborhoods can apply for Lincoln Fund grant money by contacting Jackie Mahoney at The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region at 446-9638.
The donor, who asked to remain anonymous, is an Albany resident who is well-connected to nonprofit organizations in the South End, according to Siobhan Kent, communications manager for The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, the organization that will distribute the funds.
“He viewed it as the perfect opportunity to marry his family’s history of caring about the community with his own personal love and support of the South End. It’s an amazing act of generosity,” she said.
The letter signed by Lincoln was written to the donor’s great-great grandfather and was kept by his family for 150 years.
In the three-page document, Lincoln refuses to comply with a request to restore a reverend’s ecclesiastical rights, declaring, “I will not have control of any church on any side.”
The donor requested that the amount of money he dedicated to the fund that will benefit Albany’s South End and Mansion neighborhoods remain private.
“He’s actually hoping that the publicity from the fund itself will help direct other donors to invest in that fund,” Kent said.
“The Lincoln Fund” will be used to provide grants to institutions that are actively engaged in improving and supporting the life of the residents of the South End and Mansion neighborhoods, including, but not limited to, organizations that focus on education, the arts, housing, community development, the natural environment and employment. The funds dispersed must be designated for specific purposes, like capital campaigns and building funds.
“It is directed toward that specific neighborhood, and there are few times that people who contribute to The Community Foundation will narrow their focus that much, which means we’ll be able to give larger grants with more focus, which, of course, leads to a greater impact,” noted Karen Bilowith, president and CEO of The Community Foundation, which assists donors with charitable giving.
The specificity of The Lincoln Fund also offers smaller, lesser-known community-based organizations an opportunity to apply for funding, she said.
The Community Foundation will begin distributing grant money this year.