Spring Farm Cares

Spring Farm CARES is an animal and nature sanctuary that focuses on the care of unwanted and abused animals, the spiritual connection between humans and animals, and the spaying and neutering of dogs and cats. Funding will support an ongoing program that helps low-income Oneida County residents have their pets spayed and neutered.

The Animals category was sponsored by the Staffworks Fund, established by Anita A. Vitullo in 2006 to support programs and services related to domestic animal welfare. More than $2.1 million in grants has been awarded to community organizations through the fund since 2009.



The Rome Capitol Arts Complex provides cultural and educational opportunities for the community through Rome’s historic theater and ancillary spaces including Cinema Capitol. Funding will be used to enhance those spaces and develop classrooms to support two arts education programs, serving more than 1,750 individuals annually. The project is also an integral part of the City of Rome’s downtown revitalization and an essential component of Rome’s West Dominick Street Arts District.

The Arts & Culture category was sponsored by the Bull Family Fund, one of The Community Foundation’s most active donor-advised funds, having awarded nearly $300,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations and programs in Herkimer and Oneida counties. Since 2001, the fund has made 50 grants to benefit a diverse group of programs and organizations that work to address a broad spectrum of community needs in education, healthcare, arts and human services.




The Mid-York Library System improves and expands library services in Herkimer and Oneida counties. Funding will launch a health and fitness project, providing fitness equipment and other materials for 35 libraries across the two counties to help community members meet health and wellness milestones.

The Health & Wellness category was sponsored by the Mele Family Fund. Since 2009, the Mele Family Fund has awarded nearly $3.1 million in grants to nonprofit organizations that enrich the community in strategic and significant ways. The Mele family is passionate about supporting projects and programs that focus on creating long-term impact in areas of education and health.



Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen is open seven days a week, serving nearly 5,000 meals each month. Funding will be used to open a service window between the kitchen and dining room to improve access to meals and create the space needed to maintain sanitary conditions. The project will alleviate overcrowding and create a welcoming, safe and healthy environment for visitors.

The Human Services category was sponsored by the Ronald & Sheila Cuccaro Family Fund. Ronald and Sheila Cuccaro established their fund in 2006 and in the years since have granted $135,000 to 30 local nonprofit organizations and programs. Through the fund, the Cuccaro’s focus their grantmaking in support of human service organizations and programs that help individuals struggling to meet basic needs.




The Utica Zoo creates unique experiences and promotes public appreciation of wildlife through community education, conservation and recreation. Funding will support the installation of a glass viewing window for a new outside gibbon exhibit, as well as a primate play program for children, where youth will engage in fun physical activities to instill an appreciation of the movement of primates.

The Youth category was sponsored by the M&T Bank/Partners Trust Bank Charitable Fund. The fund was established in 2007 and has awarded more than 170 grants totaling more than $2.6 million to support a variety of programs and organizations throughout Herkimer and Oneida counties. Over the years, many of these grants have focused on projects and programs that empower youth through education.


Prize Patrol

Before any votes were cast, big checks signed or bundles of balloons inflated for The Community Foundation’s first-ever Community Choice Awards, there was just an idea.