Local Support is Critical to Keep Up with Evolving Community Needs

As the needs of local nonprofits continue to evolve at a rapid pace, The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties and the United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area (VGU) are encouraging community members to consider making a donation to the Mohawk Valley COVID-19 Response Fund.

Contributing to this effort will provide assistance to front-line organizations helping those who need it most. A donation of any amount will make a difference to the most vulnerable community residents. To make a contribution, please visit www.mvcovidfund.com.

Since established in mid-March, more than $500,000 has been raised through the fund and quickly redistributed in the form of grants to nonprofit organizations seeking support for needs that have emerged as a result of the pandemic.

New applications are submitted daily and reviewed by committee members in remote meetings held multiple times each week. Grants are awarded strategically to meet as many critical needs as possible—but demands are great and growing by the day.

“Our review process has been very rapid to meet the most immediate and necessary needs,” said Jan Squadrito, senior community investment manager at The Community Foundation. “The submissions are still coming in and we continue to meet three times a week to review requests that address the pressure points our nonprofits are feeling right now.”

“Many agencies are experiencing a doubling or tripling of requests for basic items like financial assistance, emotional supports, food and essential supplies,” stated Betty-Joan Beaudry, director of community impact and 2-1-1 at United Way VGU. “Our not-for-profit community is rising to the challenge of addressing unmet needs in extraordinary ways at an unprecedented time. The applications coming to the COVID-19 fund identify exactly what our agency problem-solvers have named as critical to their ability to respond. By donating to the COVID-19 Response Fund, donors are supporting smart investments, with strategies easily employed like large scale purchasing.”

The most recent round of grant recipients includes Arc Herkimer, CAP-21, Cornerstone Community Church, Irish Cultural & Historical Society of the Mohawk Valley, Resource Center for Independent Living, The Neighborhood Center, Upstate Cerebral Palsy and Upstate Family Health Center. These grants will allow for purchase of personal protective equipment, increased food distribution, telemedicine supports, educational kits for homebound children, support to agencies providing assistance for individuals, and more. These additions bring the total number of organizations supported by the fund to 26, totaling more than $474,000.

Support for these critical needs have been made possible through generous donations from local residents and major contributions from M&T Bank/Partners Trust Bank Charitable Fund, Rising Phoenix Fund, Ronald and Sheila Cuccaro Family Fund, Mele Family Fund, David and Janet Griffith Family Fund, Bull Family Fund, Joseph & Inez E. Carbone Foundation, Senator James. H. Donovan Memorial Fund, Berkshire Bank Foundation, Bank of America, The Community Foundation and United Way VGU. For more information, visit www.mvcovidfund.com.