Manufacturer donates building to nonprofit child care tenant

Allison Collins

The Cullman Center, at 90 West Road in Sidney, is shown Wednesday, Oct. 6.

The Cullman Child Development Center of Sidney has new peace of mind.

According to an Oct. 5 press release, “The ACCO Brands Corporation, headquartered in Lake Zurich, Illinois, with a division in Sidney, New York, has been the longtime owner of the building where the Cullman Center is located (and) ACCO Brands recently donated the building … to the Cullman Center.”

Amy Williams, director of the 90 West Road facility, said the donation helps ensure the nonprofit’s longevity.

“Essentially, it means that we now own the building, but the great part is, since they’re giving it to us and we don’t have to have a mortgage, we’ll always have the building and we won’t have any things to worry about,” she said. “For us, it’s protection, and I’m very grateful to them. They’re a great neighbor and it’s great for an international corporation to give something to a local community nonprofit.”

In the written statement, Williams said: “Child care is a vital part of a community, but it is not a profitable business. This donation will allow the Cullman Center … to operate without a mortgage, which is critical to a charitable business such as child care.”

The center, the release said, was formed in 1991 by Sidney businesspeople and philanthropists Lewis and Dororthy Cullman. Lewis Cullman purchased ACCO Brands, then At A Glance Company, in 1988 and established the Dorothy & Lewis B. Cullman Center “to provide child care for At A Glance employees … and the surrounding community.” ACCO manufactures office supplies.

Today, the release said, the Montessori-style center serves more than 100 area families, with children from six weeks through 12, and employs 38 people.

The donation, Williams said, has been planned “for a long time”

“We’ve been working on it for a couple of years,” she said. “(ACCO Brands) wanted to do it, but there were some conditions, like our electric was entwined, so we had to get our own, and there were a lot of little things that had to get ironed out.”

“It’s good to finally see the Cullman Center become a true independent community asset, and one we can all be proud of,” Jeff Almasian, vice president of operations with ACCO Brands, said in the statement.

The donation, officials said, also guarantees the center room to grow.

“I am very grateful to Jeff Almasian and the folks at ACCO Brands for their continued support of the Cullman Child Development Center,” Edward Curley, president of the center’s board of directors, said. “I am excited for the opportunities that it will afford (the center) going forward.”

“It’s just under seven acres,” Williams said. “It’s the parcel around the center, but they added the fields in between the center and our new space, (the renovated former Chuck Wagon Grill, purchased by the center last year), so it’s a really nice size for right in the village. And that’s the piece that’s exciting to me: we could do other things to that middle property. That helps us have so many opportunities, if we want to add more playground space or another building, eventually. We could do a lot with that space.”

For more information, call the Cullman Child Development Center at 607-563-7529 or visit cullmancenter.org.

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