How we came to be!
The Jay Focus Group was born out of a Focus Group Workshop held at the Jay/Westfield Elementary School on November 7, 2007 with over 40 townspeople attending. One committee brain stormed ideas relating to finishing the renovation of the Town Hall and how best to utilize the building for the community. A second committee talked about Communications, Signage and construction of the Town of Jay web-site. A third group, the largest of the three, brain stormed ideas on the best utilization of nearly 300 acres of land given to the town of Jay by the VT Land Trust in 2005; known as the Jay Land Trust, now the Jay Community Recreational Centre (JCRC). Since the inception of the "Jay Focus Group" many townspeople have come together to raise funds, work on town events and look to the future of the town of Jay and surrounding town and areas.
The Jay Focus Group Board of Directors was formed in October, 2008 to not only research non-profit status, but to keep communications open with all the different Focus Groups members, events and fundraisers. When the Jay Focus Group was formed in 2007, members had no idea it would lead to becoming a Charitable Organization. But after just a year of fundraising for the Jay/Westfield Elementary After School Program, The Jay Area Food Shelf, the Jay Community Land Trust, Jay Community Center, Annual Children's Halloween Party and the Jay Volunteer Fire Dept members found that more and more businesses required a 501 (c)3 designation for donations and sponsorship. The process began in April 2009 and notification was received in September 2009 that the Jay Focus Group was awarded 501(c)3 Charitable Organization classification under the Internal Revenue code, as of April 30, 2009.
The Jay Focus Group (JFG) has raised funds on a yearly basis with fundraising events for the Jay Area Food Shelf (covering the towns of Jay, Westfield, Lowell, North Troy & Troy), Jay Volunteer Fire Dept, Jay/Westfield Elementary School Enrichment Programs, Jay Community Center, Jay Athletic Association, NCUHS Visual Arts Trips to Europe & NYC Program, NCUHS & Jr High Music Programs, annual area Children's Halloween Party, JCRC Annual Easter Egg Hunt, JCRC Leprechaun Scamper/Romp, Knights of Columbus Coats to Kids Program, Project Head Start Backpack Program, Annual Orleans County Snowmobile Safety Course and the Green Mtn Farm to School Program. We have also donated funds for the newly developed (2018) BBBSVT of Orleans & Northern Essex County, Halo Foundation, North Country Hospital Palliative Care Program, Troy PTA, Troy Volunteer Fire Dept, Old Stone House Museum, Orleans County Seed Program, Rotary Club of Newport, VT and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.
The Jay Focus Group also offers a Community Service Scholarship to an Orleans County Senior for continued education, an opportunity for an Orleans County Elementary or Junior High School student to go to a Summer Camp of their choice and Grants for Orleans County 501(c) 3 Non Profits and Schools.