The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties hosted its Celebration of Philanthropy on Thursday, June 14, with more than 150 community members in attendance to honor the organization’s partners in philanthropy.
“Our community is incredibly generous and dedicated to helping others succeed. The Celebration of Philanthropy is a time to recognize unsung heroes, those who invest in our community and believe in the future of our region,” said Alicia Dicks, president/CEO of The Community Foundation.
In recognition of her outstanding community contributions, Anita A. Vitullo was presented the Rosamond Childs Award for Community Philanthropy. The award honors individuals who exhibit the spirit of giving and a profound commitment to the community, as exemplified by Rosamond G. Childs, The Community Foundation’s first major benefactor. Recipients are known for their selflessness, leadership, compassion and generosity.
Vitullo is founder and president of Staffworks, a staffing agency providing temporary and direct placement services through nine branch offices in Central and Southern New York.
“I learned from the industry and about the industry and boiled it down to a regionalized, customized service model, and that’s how Staffworks was born,” says Vitullo.
Under Vitullo’s leadership, philanthropy and a passion for animal welfare became part of the organization’s DNA. Her love for animals began as a child, when her parents took her to Stevens-Swan Humane Society to adopt a dog, an experience she lovingly refers to as the “Princess effect.”
“I was so astounded to see all these dogs in cages who didn’t have homes,” recalls Vitullo. “And that’s when I discovered Princess, a German Shepherd-Collie mix. She really cultivated my love for dogs.”
In 2006, Vitullo established the Staffworks Charitable Fund at The Community Foundation to support programs and services related to domestic animal welfare. Since 2009, nearly $1.4 million in grants has been awarded to community organizations, including more than a dozen animal welfare organizations across the region.
“Profits from Staffworks are put to good work supporting a humane environment in our communities by funding organizations that care for abandoned, neglected and abused animals,” said Vitullo. “Animal shelters in every community do not receive state or federal funding, and local government support is minimal, causing shelters to operate at a tremendous financial loss. If it were not for the dedicated efforts of staff and volunteers and the generosity of our citizens, at-risk animals in our communities would have little hope of survival.”
Earlier this month, the Staffworks Charitable Fund surpassed the $10 million mark, becoming the first and only fund of this size at The Community Foundation with a living fundholder.
“Anita has made a unique investment in an important facet of our community’s quality of life, the love of animals,” said Dicks. “Her amazing philanthropic leadership and remarkable professional achievements provide a shining example to us all—what one person can achieve and inspire within an entire community.”