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24 non-profits compete for $85,000 from Community Foundation

Posted 8/19/19

UTICA — The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties is asking the public to help select the winners of the Community Choice Awards. In partnership with Community Foundation …

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24 non-profits compete for $85,000 from Community Foundation


UTICA — The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties is asking the public to help select the winners of the Community Choice Awards. In partnership with Community Foundation donor-advised funds, its board of trustees, and the Rome Community Foundation to serve as category sponsors, a total of $85,000 will be awarded through this year’s Community Choice Awards grantmaking program.

Now in its second year, CCA features 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.

Nearly 80 nonprofit organizations in Herkimer and Oneida counties submitted grant proposals for consideration. Community Foundation staff in consultation with category sponsors selected three finalists in each category.

Public voting will determine the recipients of eight $10,000 grants being awarded to local nonprofits. Voting is taking place online at through Wednesday, Aug. 31. Individuals will be allowed one vote per category for the duration of the contest.

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.

Community Foundation staff, Trustees and category sponsors will surprise each category winner at the chosen organization’s headquarters with a big check and celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Here is a look at the eight categories along with the finalists in each:

Animal Welfare
(Sponsored by Staffworks Fund)

4PetSake Food Pantry – Expanding and continuing 4PetSake Food Pantry’s Trap-Neuter-Release program to remove feral cats from the wild in Herkimer and Oneida counties,reducing their numbers, improving the quality of their lives and preventing animal cruelty;

Herkimer County Humane Society – Greatly improving the quality of life for shelter residents, Herkimer County Humane Society’s project would provide air conditioning for animals transitioning to their forever home; and

Stevens-Swan Humane Society – Providing exams, rabies vaccinations, spay-neuter surgeries and microchipping for 40 dogs owned by Herkimer and Oneida county veterans and active duty service personnel

Arts and Culture
(Sponsored by the Bull Family Fund):

Broadway Theatre League – Expanding Broadway Utica’s program for hundreds of students in a four-county area, introducing master classes, high-school theatre awards, and a Broadway Utica Wishes program;

Upstate Cerebral Palsy – Creating installations for vacant storefronts in Downtown Utica through UCP’s Art Program, one of the few programs in the area for people with special needs; and

Uptown Theatre for Creative Arts – Offering low-cost entertainment to area residents, the Uptown Theatre $2 Tuesdays promotion as a year-long movie series.

Copper City
(Sponsored by Rome Community Foundation)

Copper City Community Connection – Funding Copper City Community Connection’s purchase of a covered, raised-platform outdoor – event/activity pavilion for older adults and other community residents;

Project Fibonacci – Supporting Project Fibonacci’s annual speaker series by funding keynote presentations from those involved in cutting-edge technologies to enhance technology education and career preparation for Mohawk Valley students; and

Rome Art and Community Center – Serving the City of Rome, completing Phase II of the Rome Arts and Community Center’s sound garden would enable the purchase of three additional musical instruments, supporting the project’s purpose: a fun, educational, accessible community space.

(Sponsored by the M&T Bank/Partners Trust Bank Charitable Fund)

Center for Family Life & Recovery – Funding to support Basic Life Skills For Teens ages 14-18 called “Project Ready” will teach and educate youth on money management, personal healthcare, safety, auto maintenance, domestic skills, resume building, interview skills and much more. “Project Ready” prepares teens for independence and success;

Empowered Pathways – Introducing 11-14-year-old-girls, through two week-long, all-day, hands-on programs, to a combination of technology-related and soft skills to cultivate and encourage female leadership in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields; and

Mohawk Valley Jr. Frontiers – Expanding Mohawk Valley Junior-Frontiers’ programming to empower historically disadvantaged students, encourage their educational excellence and professional development, and introduce them to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Technology careers and providing SAT prep.

Health and Wellness
(sponsored by the David & Janet Griffith Family Fund)

Central New York Conservancy – Restoring long-neglected paths in the Frederick T. Proctor Park, the Central New York Conservancy project would also add benches and multilingual wayfinding signage and provide a physically and psychologically healthful experience for residents;

Presbyterian Homes Foundation – Advancing its support for individuals with Parkinson’s, the Presbyterian Homes Foundation’s project will support a research-based high-intensity spin class to help those living with Parkinson’s disease function better; and

Charles T. Sitrin Health Care Center – Establishing an aquatic cycling program, Sitrin Health Care Center would serve community residents whose health challenges need an innovative alternative to high-intensity traditional fitness programs.

Human Services
(Sponsored by the Ronald & Sheila Cuccaro Family Fund)

Hope House – Providing operational support to continue Hope House’s mission of feeding the hungry, helping address the ongoing costs of serving an average of 80,000 hot meals each year for the community’s most vulnerable residents;

ICAN – Ensuring that homeless young women and children at Evelyn’s House have a safe, inviting and functional kitchen and dining environment, ICAN’s project would provide essential amenities including room renovation and new appliances; and

Rescue Mission of Utica – Enhancing its ability to salvage, process and distribute fresh, clean produce to thousands of families each year, the Rescue Mission project would fund the purchase and installation of a stainless steel, double-sink bowl and a mop sink, each with a spray faucet.

(Sponsored by the Mele Family Fund)

Abraham House – Providing terminally ill guests and their families a space where they can be at peace during some of the most stressful and emotional days of their lives, the Abraham House project would also enable families to memorialize their loved ones through a “tree of life” mural;

CNY Health Home Network – Supporting Central New York Health Home Network’s training of local professionals, the project would expand educational offerings for those suffering from chronic diseases and for their family, friends and the community around them; and

Resource Center for Independent Living – Expanding its offerings for seniors, RCIL’s Many Hearts Senior Care Center program would provide a year-long series of educational, entertaining events for seniors and their caregivers to learn from and enjoy together.

Sports and Recreation
(Sponsored by the All In For Vin Memorial Fund)

Kelberman Center – Providing quality learning opportunities in recreational activities for individuals with disabilities, the Kelberman Center project would give children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder confidence and a sense of achievement, while supporting their future independence;

Rising Stars Soccer Club – Supporting Rising Stars Soccer Club’s mission to provide a safe place for children to be active and develop positive peer relationships, the project would help fund a new, free, public afterschool recreational program from November through May;

Root Farm – Through the area’s only all-abilities adventure center, Root Farm’s project would make free recreational, wellness-based educational and exercise opportunities available to children of all abilities in a day-camp setting.

The Community Choice Awards program is made possible through the generous support of The Community Foundation’s Corporate Partners: Bank of America, Bank of Utica, Casa Imports, Hale Transportation, Mohawk Valley EDGE, National Grid, Save of the Day Foundation, and WKTV NewsChannel 2.

Since 1952, The Community Foundation has invested more than $70 million in Oneida and Herkimer counties. The Community Foundation partners with various local organizations to make impactful investments in core areas of need, including economic development, education, health, and arts and culture. For information, visit


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