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.
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.
Lead-Free Mohawk Valley
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.
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.
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.
Herkimer County Community Development
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.