During the week of November 12-18, 2018, The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties will join more than 795 community foundations across the United States celebrating Community Foundation Week, marking the occasion with a social media campaign highlighting this year’s local community investments.
“After decades of meaningful grant making in our community, we’re committed to delivering a new social impact strategy that will deepen the impact our donors have on critical community issues,” said Alicia Dicks, Community Foundation President/CEO. “Great things are happening across our two counties, but significant challenges remain, and we will overcome them through unprecedented innovation, leadership and partnership. Our organization has only just begun to act as a catalyst that will help the entire community grow and prosper.”
Community foundations are independent, public entities that steward philanthropic resources from institutional and individual donors to local nonprofits. Over the past few years, The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties has explored how best to invest the community’s philanthropic dollars, continuing to transition from reactive grantmaker to transformational change agent. While still awarding grants to organizations in need, The Community Foundation also researches, studies and implements programming in response to the community’s most pressing challenges.
Dicks says decades of donor support and prudent investment have set the stage for new ways of addressing longstanding community needs, and The Community Foundation will continue to expand its capacity to address those needs, partnering with donors, investors and other organizations.
“Like other leading community foundations across the country, we must act boldly to make this community the best it can be,” Dicks said. “And that commitment—to put the community first—has challenged the traditional philanthropy model. But we will build on decades of philanthropy by continuing to gather and invest community assets, and future generations will benefit.”
In addition to The Community Foundation’s grantmaking efforts, which totaled more than $4.4 million in grants to nearly 200 nonprofit organizations in the first three quarters of this year, the organization’s 2018 initiatives and investments include:
Lead-Free MV Recommitment
This year, The Community Foundation reaffirmed its commitment to reducing childhood lead poisoning with a $5 million investment to support the Lead-Free MV Coalition’s work over the next decade. The investment builds on The Community Foundation’s initial commitment of $1 million in 2016 to launch the coalition. With over 100 members from nearly 50 local organizations and agencies, Lead-Free MV focuses on the reduction of lead hazards in pre-1978 housing, as well as expanding testing and community awareness of the problem.
First $10 Million Fund with Living Fundholder
In June, the Staffworks Charitable Fund surpassed a major milestone, becoming The Community Foundation’s first $10 million fund with a living fundholder. Established in 2006, the donor-advised fund was created by Anita A. Vitullo on behalf of Staffworks, a locally owned staffing agency with nine branch offices in Central and Southern New York. The Staffworks Charitable Fund is dedicated to supporting the plight of animals, and the organizations whose mission it is to rescue them from harm. Since 2009, the fund has awarded more than $1.4 million in grants to community groups including more than a dozen animal welfare organizations.
Community Choice Awards
The Community Foundation recently held its first-ever Community Choice Awards, a $50,000 grantmaking contest to select recipients in five categories. Winners were selected by a community-wide vote and received funding from five donor-advised funds to support programs that will enhance their work. More than 70 nonprofit organizations in Herkimer and Oneida counties submitted grant proposals for consideration, with the public casting nearly 14,000 online votes.