Our History


More than 60 years ago, a small group of community members had a big idea.

They thought building a community trust that combined financial investment with the talent and insight of community partners would lead to long-term social impact.

One small group. One big idea. Infinite impact.

Thanks to our founders, their insight and their big idea, The Foundation has invested more than $53 million in Herkimer County and Oneida County, built hundreds of innovative community partnerships and made community-changing impact in Herkimer County and Oneida County for more than 60 years.

We believe, as our founders did, that it’s your innovation, your partnership and your big ideas that will make big impact in our community.

Call us or e-mail us today to see how we can work together to build a vibrant, healthy community.

A Detailed History:

The Community Foundation, originally the Utica Foundation, was formed in December 1952 to make it possible for individuals to create charitable endowments for our area. Rosamond Childs, a leading philanthropist in the community during her lifetime, created the Foundation’s first fund in 1956.

The Foundation grew slowly at first and was managed by a volunteer board whose members performed nearly all the daily operating functions. It was during the late 1980s when the Foundation began to see a rapid growth in assets through a series of large bequests. By 1989, the Foundation had $9 million in assets and its first full-time, paid staff was hired.

During the 1990s, The Foundation saw both significant growth in assets and tremendous change in its operations, as the Board’s initiatives focused on maximization of the impact of entrusted funds. Major changes included new investment and grant making philosophies, expansion of our service area to include Herkimer County, and a name change to make The Foundation more accessible to all residents and organizations in Oneida and Herkimer counties. By 2007, our assets had grown to more than $70 million.

Today, The Community Foundation works in partnership with nonprofit organizations, business leaders, thought leaders and changemakers in Herkimer County and Oneida County to make the biggest impact possible in our area. Through proactive grant funding, a focus on priority areas and partnership, we are investing in Herkimer County and Oneida County in important ways.

Today our story is one of leadership, partnership and innovation.

We’re dedicated to creating strong partnerships with the goal of making social impact in our community. Over these many decades our impact has grown dramatically along with our assets.

55thCOVER

55th History Book