Foundation invests nearly $300,000 in local education

In May, we announced the 25/25 goal, tasking the community to increase the number of adults with bachelor’s degrees to 25 percent by 2025.

Since then, we’ve been busy working to fund and implement strategies and programs to help meet that goal. The Foundation recently made investments in programs that will have significant impact on that goal. Here is a closer look:

On Point for College: $100,000 to support the 2014-2015 academic year. Plus $25,000 from the Mele Family Fund (a donor-advised fund through The Community Foundation). The Syracuse-born program provides full support to ensure that young adults who thought college impossible, attend and graduate from college. The program met significant benchmarks during its first year in Utica:

  • The Utica offices met with 239 potential students by August 2013, far surpassing an initial goal of 75.
  • The Utica office enrolled 94 students in college by August 2013, again surpassing an initial goal of serving 50 young adults.

Impact on the 25/25 goal: On Point provides the tools and support to young adults who would likely be unable to attain a college degree without this assistance.

Literacy Coalition of Herkimer & Oneida Counties: $22,240 for 2014. Plus $27,350 from the M&T Bank/ Partners Trust Bank Charitable Fund.

The Coalition already has made significant impact in our two counties:

  • Adopted the Campaign for Grade Level Reading in Dolgeville Central School and Francis Bellamy Elementary and Gansevoort Elementary School in Rome. Children who read on grade level by the end of third grade have a better chance of graduating high school.
  • A book drive with RCIL and The United Way provided 15,000 books for 20 ezread community bookshelves in Herkimer and Oneida counties significantly increasing access to books.
  • Have defined 10-year (2022) impact goals aligned with the Community Indicators study ( (e.g. to increase school readiness, to increase third grade English Language Arts scores, to increase high school graduation rates).

Impact on the 25/25 goal: Bringing more residents to higher levels of literacy can be an important element in getting more people to graduate high school and enroll in and graduate from college.

Young Scholars: $92,725 total – $67,689 from the Mele Family Fund and $25,036 M&T Bank/ Partners Trust Bank Charitable Fund that will go toward Young Scholars’ operational costs. The program at Thomas R. Proctor High School ensures those at-risk of dropping out of high school graduate from high school and go on to college.

Impact on the 25/25 goal: Through tutoring, mentoring, college visits and filling in where parents can’t, the program has sent 97 percent of its students to college since 2005. Supporting this highly successful program allows more youths to attend college and earn degrees.

If you would like to see your dollars support the 25/25 goal in our region, give today.