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Friends of Beechwood/North Kingstown Endowment Fund
By Jean Cohoon / February 26, 2015 /   Loading Disqus...
North Kingstown Senior Association (dba Friends of Beechwood) is “dedicated to enhancing the social, recreational, and educational opportunities for all North Kingstown seniors.” The Friends’ endowment helps assure its mission by providing a regular source of funds for programs and activities at Beechwood, the Town-operated center for individuals 55 and older.

“The Friends help with expenses the Town can’t afford,” explains Jules Cohen, president of the Friends’ board, noting an annual contribution of approximately $10,000 for program support, as well as assistance with special projects including a capital campaign for the current facility, which was dedicated in 2009.

“This building was designed for this purpose. It’s a gorgeous building and functionally-fantastic,” says George Ireland, assistant treasurer of the Friends’ board.

Marie Marcotte, director of Beechwood and of North Kingstown Senior and Human Services, explains that the Town pays the salaries of Beechwood’s three full-time and six part-time staff members, while the Friends’ support adds to the richness of the center’s offerings.

“We’ve grown a lot, and now the baby boomers are coming. We have a lot of people between 55 and 70, when before we didn’t. We’ve worked hard to create our image as an adult recreation center,” Marie shares.

Programs range from a multitude of exercise classes to arts and crafts and from numerous card games to genealogy. Trips also are a popular offering. Richard Heston, treasurer of the Friends’ board, notes he has participated in trips to Roosevelt’s home in New York, a beer brewery, Newport Playhouse, and New Hampshire for a tour of covered bridges.

The Friends have had an endowment for many years, thanks largely to memberships and estate planning gifts, and in 2014 transferred it to the Foundation. “It just struck me that no one was managing our money. With the Foundation, we have a well-grounded organization that is willing to manage the money and help it grow,” states Jules.

“The communication we have with the Foundation was a big part of it for me,” Richard continues, with George concluding, “We have a responsibility to keep the money safe.”
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