What makes a community truly feel like home? What makes a community, a community? We believe it’s the people who live there. And the Mohawk Valley is unique in the sense that its relatively small population represents enormous cultural diversity.
At the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, we put residents first. We pool and invest donations to meet evolving community needs, set up funds made possible by generous donors, channel funding to nonprofit partners, grow and award scholarship dollars that allow students to follow their dreams, and work to bring the community together in myriad ways.
We have embraced an increasingly flexible and collaborative community investment strategy that applies larger-scale funding to address longstanding challenges.
We do this because we want to make change, lead by example, invest in our community, and build equity. We are committed to creating a vibrant region with opportunity for all.
“Generations of donors dedicated to their community put their trust in our organization, and we are now, more than ever before, putting their good will to work,” said Alicia Fernandez Dicks, president/CEO of the Community Foundation. “Thanks to the continuing generosity of those who believe in a brighter future for our two counties, we can apply financial resources and dedicate our non-financial efforts to achieve positive change at greater scale. And, after 70 years, the Community Foundation continues to do good work.”
In 2021, we launched a Community Equity Initiative, a $10 million, 10-year commitment to advance racial equity and social justice in our two counties through solution-based investments—starting in the neighborhoods with the greatest potential for long overdue change. Like the rest of the nation, our community can do more to enhance opportunity and improve quality of life—and tap into the tremendous unrealized asset represented by marginalized populations. This cannot be accomplished on our own, though. This initiative is a collaboration between the Community Foundation, our nonprofit partners and other collaborators and residents.
The equity initiative’s most visible manifestation for the next several years will be neighborhood revitalization, a strategy focusing on places across the two counties, starting with Utica’s Cornhill district and West Utica. In those neighborhoods—and others, from Camden to Little Falls—new and existing “impact centers” will anchor concerted efforts to enhance opportunity and quality of life for all residents. This decades-long commitment will build on positive change already occurring, even as it brings a brighter future to underserved populations.
As a simple statement of dedication for all who want to join the community’s long-term efforts toward greater equity, we have created the Mohawk Valley Equity Pledge. Taking the pledge demonstrates the community’s commitment to greater diversity, social justice, and opportunity for all. Taking the MV Equity Pledge is a great first step to becoming part of this important community effort. Click here to take the pledge.
Our commitment to community investment is multifaceted. To celebrate 2022’s 70th anniversary, we presented the area’s first community wide giving day, Mohawk Valley Gives, which is set to become an annual event. Mohawk Valley Gives brings together area nonprofits to raise as many dollars as possible in a 24-hour period, win prizes, create matches and challenges, and build new relationships with industry peers.
Mohawk Valley Gives doesn’t just engage nonprofits, but businesses, community residents and fundholders as well. We are grateful for our sponsors, 2022’s 1,700+ unique donors and 2,750+ donations, the local businesses that helped spread the word, and our community members who supported us along the way. We raised $630,312 dollars that went directly to the 137 participating nonprofits.
“4 Elements Studio was honored to participate in the first year of Mohawk Valley Gives. This event provided us with a platform to make new connections in the community and bring awareness to our organization and its mission,” said Vartan Poghosian, executive director of 4 Elements Studio. “Mohawk Valley Gives helped foster a sense of pride for our local community and the nonprofit organizations that serve its members. We appreciate the effort the Community Foundation put into organizing such a professional and accessible event and are looking forward to the next one.”
Be sure to mark your calendar because Mohawk Valles Gives will be back on Wednesday, September 20, 2023!
You may be wondering, how can we provide all of these resources to the community?
Contributions come to the Community Foundation from donors in the form of gifts which may be cash, stock, or other assets, to which the donors often receive immediate tax benefits. Those gifts are funneled into our funds, which are then invested by a team of experts, and in turn are invested back into the community through our initiatives, scholarships, grant rounds, and more. Those investments help create our vibrant community.
The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties is your community foundation. The outpouring generosity from the two counties amazes our staff and board every single day. We are honored and proud to serve Herkimer and Oneida counties.
To learn more about the Community Foundation and how to get involved in philanthropy, visit foundationhoc.org.