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As 2013 begins, the Lake Hopatcong Foundation is looking ahead to a new year of supporting the lake environment and community, with the addition of a grants administrator ensuring that the lake will draw dollars for ongoing improvement.
Formed in 2012, the Lake Hopatcong Foundation has quickly established itself as a resource for the lake community: within its first months of existence, it already has a variety of projects and initiatives under its belt, from providing funding to Jefferson Township for its lakeside walking trails at Prospect Point to a promotion that encouraged residents to shop locally after Hurricane Sandy. And looking forward, the coming months will be busy, with volunteer groups working to increase police presence on the water during summer weekends; to plan a “Support Lake Hopatcong Businesses” weekend; to commission a long-term water quality study; and to develop a Lake Hopatcong phone and tablet app that would allow users to learn about severe weather, lake laws and regulations, upcoming events, local businesses, recreational opportunities, and historical information.
All of this is possible because of the donations of residents, which totaled more than $340,000 in 2012. Less than 10 percent of the money raised was used for administrative and operating expenses.
Although the founding of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation can be considered a positive development for the lake community, it came in response to a less encouraging situation: the ongoing struggle for the Lake Hopatcong Commission to receive state funding. As a result of a lack of funding, the sole position at the commission for administrator Donna Macalle-Holly was terminated in December. Macalle-Holly has more than a decade of experience working with the commission to secure and manage hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal and state grant funds for water quality improvement and community outreach projects.
In an effort to keep Macalle-Holly as a valuable resource for the community, and to continue to seek grant funding for Lake Hopatcong, the Lake Hopatcong Foundation has hired her as a full-time grants administrator. Starting Jan. 28, Macalle-Holly will seek public, private, and corporate grants for lake improvement and enhancement.
“We could not be more thrilled to bring Donna on board,” said foundation president Jessica K. Murphy. "She has a wealth of knowledge on the lake and has extensive experience securing grant money for Lake Hopatcong. In this role, she will continue to bring dollars in for the lake from a variety of sources, and make sure that all of the progress in water quality in recent years will continue.”
In reaction to the changes at the Lake Hopatcong Commission, the Lake Hopatcong Foundation board releases this statement:
The Lake Hopatcong Foundation has strongly supported the efforts of the Lake Hopatcong Commission, and it is not the mission or intent of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation to replace this state-sanctioned body. The foundation was established as a non-political and non-partisan organization for the sole purpose of protecting and improving Lake Hopatcong. The struggles of the Lake Hopatcong Commission demonstrate the need and importance for an organization not dependent on governmental funding to work for the future of our lake and its surrounding communities. But the need for a board of representatives that serves as a liaison to the state—as the commission has been for more than a decade—is paramount, and we continue to hope for some solution that would provide sustained, long-term funding for the commission to administer its obligations. We truly hope that we will continue to have the Lake Hopatcong Commission as a partner in our effort, and appreciate the work of chairman Russ Felter to make sure it continues operating, even without a source of state funding.