PO Box 104 Lowville, NY 13367 prattnortham@gmail.com 315.804.0312

Who We Are


Organization Information

Description and Legal Status

The Pratt-Northam Foundation is named for the late C. Walter Pratt of Boonville, New York and his cousin, the late Miss Hazel Northam of Brooklyn, New York. It was established by Miss Northam in 1962 and has been perpetuated under the terms of her will.

The Pratt-Northam Foundation is a Non-Operating Private Foundation, designated as an organization exempt from income tax under IRS Section 501(c)(3).

As a Non-Operating Private Foundation, the Pratt-Northam Foundation’s principal function is to provide grants to other entities for charitable or other exempt purposes. Their funds are derived from the investment of the original endowment, and it does not generate any funds from activities or outside donations.

Programs and Services

Workership Student 2019
The Workership Program provides 350 hours of summer employment at minimum wage for students accepted and enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate academic program at a two-year or four-year college for the following Fall semester.

When the Workership Program was proposed in 1981 by Donald Exford, Coordinator of the Lewis County Youth Board, the program was designed to meet two goals:

  1. 1. Serve the needs of more college students than the previous scholarship program, and
  2. 2. Provide job experience related to the college student's area of study in preparation for career employment.

The program was intended to serve students from middle-class families, who typically were not eligible for government supported summer work programs. Further, the program was planned to fill the need for summer help for local nonprofit and government programs serving youth. Workership positions were not intended to replace permanent or part-time positions already filled. But instead, workership positions were to be new positions completing work that traditionally would not get done.

Careers Here Program

The Careers Here Program was created to give private sector businesses the opportunity to provide a paid internship to local college students and BOCES students in their area of study. The Pratt Northam Foundation is partnering with Lewis County to provide this opportunity. Local businesses are encouraged to contact our Careers Here Coordinator Lisa Hetzner at Lisa.Hetzner@dfa.state.ny.us to get their businesses added to the list of available sites for student opportunities.

This program is a student driven program. It is the students responsibility to contact and then work with Lisa to create their internship.

Youth Advisory Councils

The purpose for a Pratt Northam sponsored Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is to allow a committee (board) of students from grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 to make decisions for funding creative ideas proposed by their board and peers.
The first council was established at Lowville Academy and Central School in the 2000 - 2001 school year. The success of that council provided both inspiration and model for others that followed. Carthage Central School started its YAC in 2001 - 2002. Beaver River Central, South Lewis Central, Copenhagen Central, Harrisville Central and Adirondack Central have followed in subsequent years.
The Foundation's goals when establishing a YAC are:

  • To encourage creative thinking
  • To fund projects proposed by young people that benefit their community
  • To establish a practice of philanthropy while promoting volunteerism and service

The Foundation hosts a conference each school year for the purpose of building a community of youth gathered from throughout the region that benefit from sharing their philanthropic activities with each other.

Donald Exford Community Service Award

This award is presented in the spring of each year to a community member living in the area between Boonville in the south and Carthage in the north. The Pratt Northam Foundation offers this award in memory of Donald Exford, its first Executive Director. A financial award of $1,000, along with an appropriate symbol (certificate, statuette, etc.) of the award, is given to a person that represents the dedication to continuous community improvement over a significant period of one's lifetime, as Donald Exford dedicated his life's work to the communities served by the Pratt Northam Foundation. The award will be presented at an event in the recipient's community during the Spring each year.
Directors of the Foundation at a regular or special meeting held between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28 each year submit nominations for the award to the full Board of Directors. All nominations and discussion of nominations remain confidential. Only a Director of the Pratt Northam Foundation may submit a nomination. Directors consult with other people in the community to prepare a nomination.

Board of Directors

Officers Name
President Randall Schell
Vice President Thomas Sauter
Secretary George Getman
Treasurer Thomas Sauter
Executive Director Karen Petersen


Brittany Davis Randolph Myers
Gerald Haenlin James Randall
Michael Kramer Jared Thisse
John McHugh Lydia Young

History and Timeline

C. Walter Pratt was the ninth and last generation in a line dating back to Lieutenant William and Elizabeth Clark Pratt. He was the son and only child of Charles Walter Pratt and Julia Northam Pratt. Named after his father, C. Walter Pratt was born March 6, 1888 in Boonville, New York. After his discharge for the military, Mr. Pratt returned to the Black River Valley area to join his father in the management of the Island Mill in Carthage, the Moyer & Pratt mill in Lyonsdale, the Deer River Power Company in Copenhagen and the family’s extensive timber tracts in the Adirondacks. A lifelong bachelor, C. Walter Pratt died June 13, 1961, at his home in Boonville.

His father, Charles W. Pratt, was the son and only child of Cyrus W. Pratt and Harriest Coffey Pratt. During his life, Charles W. Pratt acquired large tracts of land in the Adirondacks and Vermont, from which he shipped spars to New York City. With Gordias H. P. Gould, of Lyons Falls, and John E. Haberer, of Lowville, Mr. Pratt formed the Gould Paper Company, Lyons Falls in 1892. Mr. Pratt also owned the Island Paper Company, Carthage, which was incorporated November 16, 1898. The Island Paper Company purchased the Deer River Power Company plant, which was built in about 1909. In about 1911. Mr. Pratt and John E. Moyer formed a corporation, Moyer & Pratt, for the manufacture of paper at Lyonsdale, New York on February 14, 1923. Charles W. Pratt died on April 2, 1934 at his home on Schuyler Street, Boonville, at the age of 79.

Hazel Northam was born December 11, 1887, in Watertown, New York, daughter of Wallace and Margaret Frazier Northam. After attending the Simmons School of Embalming and Mortuary Science in Syracuse, she became associated with her father and the late Charles Fox in the undertaking firm of Northam and Fox, Watertown. After moving to Brooklyn, Miss Northam worked for the Walter B. Cook Funeral Home, Inc. After C. Walter Pratt’s death, the State of New York declared Miss Northam the sole heir of the estate of her cousin.

Mission Statement
The Pratt Northam Foundation is a private foundation that seeks to be a catalyst to projects that improve the quality of life in the communities of the Black River Valley from Boonville to Carthage. The Foundation provides financial support to not-for-profit organizations and government agencies through a grant process.


The Foundation values projects and opportunities for young people and also considers other innovative initiatives.The Foundation values initiatives that have broad community support and substantial matching funds.