Mohawk Valley's Community Fund Established for Pandemic Response

Single Community Fund Established for Pandemic Response

March 20, 2020 – Utica, NY

A single community-wide fund has been created to support organizations responding to human services needs in Herkimer and Oneida counties resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties and United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area (VGU) announced today that they are working together to attract resources and distribute them to nonprofit groups through a single community online effort, Hundreds of thousands of dollars in seed money will come from organizations and individual donors, including M&T Bank/Partners Trust Bank Charitable Fund, the Rising Phoenix Fund, the Ronald and Sheila Cuccaro Family Fund, The Community Foundation, United Way VGU, and other funders. Individuals, institutions, companies and other funders are encouraged to donate via

“In a time of crisis, it’s more important than ever before to say this: We are one community,” said Alicia Dicks, Community Foundation president/CEO. “Responding as one community to a public health threat that knows no boundaries and recognizes no bureaucratic barriers is critical.”

“The time is now to use technology and partnerships to help our community,” said Erin Gutierrez Matt, United Way VGU executive director/CEO. “Working together, we are focused on mobilizing resources and solutions in the face of an unprecedented crisis.”

Similar to the flood recovery relief efforts of 2017 and 2019, Dicks and Matt said they have been coordinating efforts with leaders of both Oneida and Herkimer county governments so that will provide a conduit for donors and local nonprofits seeking extraordinary resources to respond to the pandemic. The effort will coordinate with local governments’ response efforts to complement their programs and services, avoiding duplication.

"We want to thank the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties and United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica for their leadership once again in assisting our families during this difficult time,” said Vincent J. Bono, Herkimer County Legislature Chairman. “Our residents are thankful for the leadership and actions taken by donors to assist families and individuals."

“In these unprecedented times, our community continues to rally together to combat this pandemic,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. “The Community Foundation and United Way’s single community fund, in coordination with Oneida County, will assist our local non-profits in providing services to those in need. I thank them and all of our local agencies for their tireless efforts on behalf of our community.”

As the situation continues to evolve, updated information about the fund will be available online at The application for and distribution of funds to area nonprofits will be administered through an innovative platform powered by United Way VGU. Nonprofit organizations seeking pandemic-related assistance can email for information.

“This is a time for all of us to do everything we can to help those in need,” said David Manzelmann, Community Foundation Board of Trustees chair. “Together, our organizations can help our nonprofit partners meet the rising community needs that we know are coming, and we’ll build an even better community through this collaboration.”

“We are focused on amplifying the work we do every day, which is connecting our community to resources,” added William Perrotti, United Way Board of Directors president. “This quick response demonstrates our joint ability to come together and create solutions.”


About The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties

Founded in 1952, the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties envisions a vibrant region with opportunity for all. In fulfillment of its “Engage. Invest. Lead” mission, The Community Foundation has transformed decades of donor generosity into $85 million invested in social impact initiatives, collaborative leadership and grantmaking. Find out more at or call 315-735-8212.

About United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area

Since 1921, United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area has been a human service leader in the Mohawk Valley, encouraging all community members to give, advocate and volunteer. Its mission is to mobilize the caring power of the Valley and Greater Utica area by connecting people, resources and ideas to create a thriving community. United Way funds area programs and initiatives addressing crucial community issues in the impact areas of health, education, financial stability and basic needs helping thousands of individuals and families throughout Oneida and Herkimer Counties.