Foundation Takes Next Steps Toward Impact Investment


Strategic shifts, new staff aimed at significant community change

UTICA ­­— Building on six decades of commitment to social impact and civic betterment, The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Inc., today announced the next steps in its evolution. President and CEO Alicia Dicks announced that the implementation of a model of impact described by innovation, partnership and investment will enable The Foundation to take on the significant social challenges the two counties face.

“The Foundation, through its new commitment to ‘impact investment,’ will build on its history as a philanthropic leader in the region, even as it shifts its role to one of leadership and collaboration with community partners,” Dicks said. “For this organization to become an even more significant catalyst for innovation and impact, it will begin by further investing in leadership and community outreach.”


As part of the strategic shift, Dicks announced that John Swann, associate vice president at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, will join The Foundation’s senior leadership team as vice president for development and community investment. Gilles Lauzon, director of finance at The Foundation, will serve as chief operating officer; and Denise Salvatore, The Foundation’s controller, has been appointed vice president for administration.


Gilles Lauzon


Denise Salvatore

“Gilles and Denise have been integral members of our leadership for years, and all of us at The Foundation are thrilled to have John join them in support of The Foundation’s strategic commitment to impact investment,” Dicks said. “His background in higher education administration and broadcast journalism, as well as his many ties to the community where he and his family have made their home for more than 30 years, make him uniquely valuable to the fulfillment of our mission.”


Prior to joining The Foundation, Swann oversaw public relations at SUNY Poly for more than 15 years. He authored “From the Mills to Marcy,” the early history of SUNY Institute of Technology (as SUNY Polytechnic Institute was known until 2014); served as chief of staff to former SUNYIT President Wolf Yeigh; and received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service.


“I’m excited to join the staff of The Foundation, and I look forward to supporting the remarkable work they do to improve and enrich the lives of the residents of this region,” Swann said. “At the same time, I’m grateful for the chance I had to work with students and colleagues at SUNYIT, and for the opportunity I had to be part of a unique and evolving educational institution.”


Since 1952, The Foundation has invested more than $52 million into Oneida and Herkimer counties. The Foundation partners with various nonprofits in order to make impactful investments in core areas of need, including economic development, education, health, and arts and culture.


For information about The Foundation, call (315) 735-8212, visit, follow us on Twitter @foundationhoc or like The Community Foundation on Facebook.