Sterling Foundation giving $50,000 to downtown Cobleskill businesses


By Jim Poole

The Sterling Foundation is giving downtown Cobleskill businesses a huge boost during the pandemic.
Formed by the Sterling Insurance Company, the Foundation is providing $50,000 to help businesses survive the steep economic downturn.
The Foundation gave the money to Cobleskill Partnership Inc., which will present funds to businesses in a way still to be determined.
“We can’t fix all the communities in the state,” Sterling President Steve Harris said, “but we can help ours.”
The Foundation can donate only to non-profits like CPI; Sterling Insurance formed the Foundation in 2013 to make such donations. (See related story.)
The money goes to CPI with no strings attached.
“We want you to do as you see fit,” Mr. Harris said.
“Every day counts. We’d like to see the money pushed into our local economy as soon as possible.”
CPI formed more than 20 years ago to make downtown Cobleskill a better place to work, live and visit. It’s had several projects to help and improve downtown. . .but nothing like the Foundation’s donation.
Then again, there haven’t been times like this, either.
“During these unprecedented times, some are casting light in the darkness,” said CPI President Lucas Fiedler. “Sterling is one of those.”
He pointed to Sterling’s long history of charity and praised the “generosity towards the local business community during the current economic crisis resulting from the pandemic.
“Thank you, Sterling Foundation.”
Since Mr. Harris announced the $50,000 donation last Wednesday, CPI’s board of directors has met three times––via emails and Zoom––to develop parameters to get the money to businesses.
Any Cobleskill business may apply for a grant of up to $5,000. The application form is on Cobleskill Partnership Inc.’s website and Facebook page. Hard copies will also be available at the village office on Mineral Springs Road.
A CPI committee will begin reviewing applications May 9; the deadline to apply is May 15.
CPI will award the grants until the $50,000 is exhausted.
Aware that many Cobleskill businesses are struggling or even closed, board members considered setting up a revolving loan fund.
But board members felt loans would be too difficult to administer, and it would be distasteful to come down on a neighboring business that couldn’t repay.

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The $50,000 for downtown businesses isn’t the only help the Foundation’s offered during the pandemic.
The Foundation recently bought lunch at the Bull’s Head Inn for 115 employees at Cobleskill Regional Hospital.
The price? $1,750.
“We wanted to help the Bull’s Head and recognize our health-care workers,” Mr. Harris said. “We’re just trying to do what we can.”