Last year, The Community Foundation took a chance on a new idea—its first-ever Community Choice Awards, a community-driven grantmaking contest to benefit local nonprofits. What began with a vision for a “prize patrol” style event led to community-wide participation with meaningful impact. The Community Choice Awards (CCA) laid the groundwork to generate greater awareness of critical work performed by local nonprofits, to educate community members on the grantmaking process and its positive impact on the greater community, and to engage Community Foundation fundholders in new and meaningful ways.
Now in its second year, CCA features the following eight categories to help local nonprofits with community projects: animal welfare, arts & culture, copper city (to benefit projects in the City of Rome), education, health & wellness, human services, seniors, and sports & recreation.
The Community Foundation teamed up with donor-advised funds and the Rome Community Foundation to serve as category sponsors and award a $10,000 prize to the winner of each category. Public voting will take place online at ccawards.org beginning on Thursday, August 15, and will close on Saturday, August 31.
After the votes are tallied and the eight grand-prize winners have been chosen by the community, one of the remaining 16 finalists will be selected to receive a $5,000 Board Recognition Award given by The Community Foundation Board of Trustees.
Through the generosity of our partners and donors, a total of $85,000 will be awarded through this year’s CCA grantmaking program.
Read on to learn more about the 2019 category sponsors.
ALL IN FOR VIN MEMORIAL FUND
The All In For Vin Memorial Fund was created in 2018 by the Maugeri family in memory of Vincent “Vinny” Maugeri. The fund seeks to support youth-based causes that were important to Vinny, allowing his spirit to live on. Funds are raised through an annual event as well as community donations. Grants awarded reflect Vincent’s kind heart, willingness to help and his love for athletics.
Category Finalists: Rising Stars Soccer Club of CNY, The Kelberman Center, The Root Farm
BULL FAMILY FUND
The Bull Family Fund is one of The Community Foundation’s most active donor-advised funds, having awarded more than $291,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations and programs in both Herkimer and Oneida counties. Since 2001, the fund has made 50 grants to benefit a diverse group of programs and organizations that work to address a broad spectrum of community needs in education, healthcare, arts and human services.
Category Finalists: Broadway Theatre League, Upstate Cerebral Palsy, Uptown Theatre for Creative Arts
DAVID & JANET GRIFFITH FAMILY FUND
Established in 2008, the David & Janet Griffith Family Fund has awarded more than $600,000 in grants to community organizations. The Griffiths’ community generosity goes beyond grantmaking; both David and Janet have been involved with many organizations throughout the years and are among The Community Foundation’s most dedicated supporters.
Category Finalists: Central New York Conservancy, Charles T. Sitrin Health Care Center, Presbyterian Homes Foundation
MELE FAMILY FUND
Since 2009, the Mele Family Fund has awarded nearly $2.8 million in grants to nonprofit organizations that enrich the community in strategic and significant ways. Known for their stewardship and community engagement, the Mele family is passionate about supporting projects and programs that focus on creating long-term impact in areas of education and health.
Category Finalists: Abraham House, Central New York Health Home Network, Resource Center for Independent Living
M&T BANK / PARTNERS TRUST BANK CHARITABLE FUND
The M&T Bank/Partners Trust Bank Charitable Fund (MTPT) recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and has awarded more than 185 grants to support a variety of organizations throughout Herkimer and Oneida counties. Over the years, many of these grants have focused on projects and programs that empower youth through education. The MTPT Fund has invested nearly $2.8 million through its community grantmaking efforts.
Category Finalists: Center for Family Life and Recovery, Empowered Pathways, Mohawk Valley Jr. Frontiers
ROME COMMUNITY FOUNDATION
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the Rome Community Foundation provides financial resources that enrich the Rome area community today and for generations to come. To commemorate this milestone, the organization is sponsoring the Copper City category to benefit nonprofit organizations located in the City of Rome.
Category Finalists: Copper City Community Connection, Project Fibonacci Foundation, Rome Art and Community Center
RONALD & SHEILA CUCCARO FAMILY FUND
Ron and Sheila Cuccaro established their fund in 2006 and in the years since have granted more than $135,000 to dozens of local nonprofit organizations and programs. Through the fund, the Cuccaros focus their grantmaking in support of human service organizations and programs that help individuals struggling to meet basic needs.
Category Finalists: Hope House, ICAN, Rescue Mission of Utica
The Staffworks Fund was established by Anita A. Vitullo in 2006 to support programs and services related to domestic animal welfare. Since 2009, more than $2.1 million in grants has been awarded to community nonprofits, including more than a dozen animal welfare organizations across the region. In 2018, the fund surpassed the $10 million mark, becoming the first fund of this size at The Community Foundation with a living fundholder.
Category Finalists: 4PetSake Food Pantry, Herkimer County Humane Society, Stevens-Swan Humane Society