Making a Difference

Stories

Our work builds a brighter future. Experience the vibrancy of our community impact through stories about our donors, nonprofit partners, and community leaders.

Your Foundation - Your Partner in Innovation, Leadership and Impact
Your Foundation - Your Partner in Innovation, Leadership and Impact

We’ve come to think of some of our work as a series of “initiatives,” things that we’ve introduced or started, but the growing number of major projects are much more than the word’s definition suggests. 

Inspiring Mentor: The Legacy of Earl Cunningham
Inspiring Mentor: The Legacy of Earl Cunningham

For the late Earl Cunningham, it was one small act of kindness that transformed his life and legacy for the better.

The Center for Leadership Excellence: Developing Strong Leaders
The Center for Leadership Excellence: Developing Strong Leaders

The Center for Leadership Excellence (CLE) is dedicated to growth, community, collaboration, and awareness, connecting and inspiring people to work together, take action, and develop current and next-generation community leaders.

The Center for Leadership Excellence: Developing Strong Leaders
The Center for Leadership Excellence: Developing Strong Leaders

The Center for Leadership Excellence (CLE) is dedicated to growth, community, collaboration, and awareness, connecting and inspiring people to work together, take action, and develop current and next-generation community leaders.

Community Equity
Lead-Free Mohawk Valley
Neighborhood Revitalization
Workforce Development
Herkimer County Community Development
Downtown Utica Partnership

Our Initiatives

Community Equity

Working to realize our vision of a vibrant region with opportunity for all, we’re committed to addressing inequities affecting all marginalized residents. In 2020, the Community Foundation launched a $10 million plan, the largest single investment in the organization’s history, as an initial 10-year commitment to address racial equity and social justice challenges. The equity initiative builds on and focuses our continuing commitment to equitable community investment that helps all achieve success, especially underserved and marginalized residents. We are funding outcomes that make a difference, and helping our two-county community address systemic racism.

Lead-Free Mohawk Valley

In 2016, the Community Foundation launched a coalition, Lead-Free MV, to address childhood lead poisoning in Oneida and Herkimer counties. With over 100 members representing nearly 50 local organizations and agencies, the Lead-Free MV Coalition includes representatives from public health, local government, legal, insurance, healthcare, education, child care, construction and support services constituencies. The coalition meets regularly and focuses on the reduction of lead hazards in pre-1978 housing, as well as expanding testing and community awareness of the problem.

Neighborhood Revitalization

The Neighborhood Revitalization initiative has been a project in the works over the last four years. Finding ways to both revive old, abandoned buildings that were once filled with life while also providing community residents with the services they need has led the Community Foundation to pursue the development of multiple “impact centers,” reimagined community centers that provide space for various nonprofit partners and agencies to serve families in high-needs neighborhoods.

Workforce Development

From the smallest startup café to the largest newcomer—like Cree—Workforce Development is one of the key initiatives that will enhance job opportunities and prepare job seekers in our area for success. The Community Foundation continues to partner with Mohawk Valley Economic Development Growth Enterprises (MV EDGE), supporting effective emerging and existing workforce recruitment and retention programs, tools and strategies. This initiative is just one more example of how our work is increasingly integrated; career opportunities for newly minted area graduates, jobs for those seeking advancement and life improvement—all these and other opportunities come together under a commitment that finds common ground with equity and our other initiatives.

Herkimer County Community Development

The Community Foundation launched this community planning initiative to address issues of joblessness, addiction, poverty, fragmented tourism, economic development and community assets in Herkimer County. With funding from The Community Foundation and municipal government partners, the initiative will provide a cohesive, data-driven strategy identifying opportunities to enrich and enhance economic growth and community prosperity throughout the county’s entire footprint.

Downtown Utica Partnership

In 2019, the Community Foundation, in partnership with the City of Utica, Oneida County, the Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce, Mohawk Valley EDGE and the Genesis Group, launched an initiative that will shape a vision-and-action plan for Downtown Utica’s several districts, to tie together current and future developments that are reshaping the area’s urban center. Working with global architecture firm NBBJ, the end result will be an “urban design framework” that will make Downtown Utica greater than the sum of its parts.

(6 Total)

Recent Community Investments

Every year we invest millions of dollars through nonprofit partners to make our community even better. We support programs and services that meet critical needs and expand opportunity in Herkimer and Oneida counties.

Arc Herkimer
$15,000
Arc Herkimer

Parking lot paving

Catholic Charities of Oneida & Madison Counties
$250,000
Catholic Charities of Oneida & Madison Counties

Funding for Grady's Way

City of Rome
$100,000
City of Rome

Pedestrian art plaza

Herkimer County Office for the Aging
$6,290
Herkimer County Office for the Aging

Senior transportation program

Humane Society of Rome
$24,036
Humane Society of Rome

Utility van

Little Falls Public Library
$1,250
Little Falls Public Library

Yoga for teens

The Center
$25,000
The Center

COVID-19 outreach

Utica Monday Nite Corporation
$25,000
Utica Monday Nite Corporation

Levitt AMP music series

Utica Zoo
$70,000
Utica Zoo

Red panda exhibit

Young Scholars
$45,000
Young Scholars

School social worker

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Community Foundation
2608 Genesee Street
Utica, NY 13502

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