OLEAN, NY —  Area service clubs will be engaging in friendly competition to give back through the Service Above Self Challenge to raise funds for the COVID-19 Response Fund for Cattaraugus County.

The challenge, which began May 1, will join the Allegany American Legion, Olean Rotary Club, Enchanted Mountain Exchange Club, Olean Area Young Professionals, Allegany Lady Knights Council 1220 and Zonta Club in competition to see which groups can raise the most money and have the highest level of participation among its members donating to the fund.

In celebration of the spirit of service, the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation will match all donations to the fund up to $5,000. In addition, $500 will be donated in the name of the club with the highest level of participation.

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“The Olean Rotary Club came to us with the idea to hold this challenge, and we were so impressed with their idea to take the initiative that we decided to put in the matching and challenge money to encourage the effort,” Karen Niemic Buchheit, CRCF executive director, said. “During a challenging time like today, we see people stepping up to make a difference, and we know how important the idea of ‘service above self’ is.”

“We applaud the clubs’ decision to make service and philanthropy a priority, and that is why we decided to celebrate this challenge with an additional match,” Buchheit continued.

Established by CRCF, the United Way of Cattaraugus County and Dr. Lyle F. Renodin Foundation, the COVID-19 Response Fund for Cattaraugus County supports nonprofits working on the front lines to help those impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak by providing grants that support basic needs of Cattaraugus County residents such as access to food, housing, mental health services and more.

“This challenge comes at an important time as the fund made possible its first round of grants recently, totaling to $27,000 to 12 nonprofits,” Buchheit said. “What we found is that despite all of the hard fundraising work so far, the need is so great that requests far exceeded what we were able to fund.”

“We thank the service clubs involved for helping to meet the continuing and growing need in the community,” she added.

The challenge will end on May 15. All donations must be received by CRCF by that date to count towards the challenge.

CRCF will provide updates on the challenge on the CRF Facebook page.

A second round of grant applications for the response fund will be considered beginning May 18.

Donations can be made to the fund online at cattfoundation.org, or mailed to the CRCF office at 301 N. Union St., Suite 203. Checks should be made payable to CRCF/COVID-19 Fund. More information can be found at cattfoundation.org/covid-19-response-fund.

CRCF is the area’s supportive, responsive and trusted community foundation. Established in 1994, CRCF is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in the region. Grants from the foundation support many areas, including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service, and youth development. To learn more, persons should call 716-301-CRCF (2723), email foundation@cattfoundation.org, or visit online at www.cattfoundation.org.