The United Way of Rome and Western Oneida County still exists technically, but its operations have been assumed by the United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area as the Rome-based chapter heads toward being dissolved.
Paperwork for the formal dissolution process is expected to be submitted to the state in the next couple of weeks, and approval ultimately is anticipated, Rome chapter President Gene Blackburn said Thursday.
The process includes submitting a dissolution request to the state Attorney General office, and if it is approved a certificate of dissolution then can be filed with the Secretary of State office, explained David Grow, attorney for the Rome chapter of United Way.
“We have moved all our operations to the Utica office” for the United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area, and “we closed the Rome office,” said Blackburn. The staff in the Utica-area United Way office is handling the operations, he added.
The Rome chapter already has provided funding for the 2019 cycle to the area agencies and programs its has supported, Blackburn noted. The process for the next cycle in 2020 will be fully integrated into the Utica-area United Way fundraising process, he said, adding that no significant change is anticipated for the agencies that receive support and should continue to receive it going forward. Several members of the Rome chapter Board of Directors have agreed to join the board of the United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area, Blackburn pointed out.
From the 2018-19 campaign, Blackburn said the Rome chapter United Way Board of Directors has approved and distributed a total of $140,000 to these agencies: Abraham House, Copper City Community Connection (formerly Ava Dorfman Center), Catholic Charities, Center for Family Life and Recovery (CFLR), Cluster 13 (Camden), Camden Food Pantry, Legal Aid, Mercy Flight, Salvation Army, Journey Home Youth Shelter, Project Fibonacci, and YMCA. Awards ranged from $2,500 to $10,000, he noted, adding that those agencies’ operations include helping families in Rome and western Oneida County.
Among programs that have been funded through both the Rome chapter and the United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area, added Blackburn, are Catholic Charities, CFLR, Legal Aid, and Salvation Army.
Blackburn and other members of the Rome chapter in April had announced they would seek dissolution, saying that nearly half the money the chapter raised was being used for operating costs. But when the chapter met in June to vote on the dissolution, not enough of its members were present for a voting quorum. As a result, its next step was to appeal to the state for allowance to dissolve the Rome chapter as a corporation.
In a separate step, Blackburn said a substantial amount of the Rome chapter’s endowment will be donated to the Rome Community Foundation for allocations to Rome and western Oneida County agencies, independent of the United Way process. The amount is over $400,000, he said, adding that the fund’s purpose is to make grants using United Way criteria for agencies in the Rome and western Oneida County region where the fund managers see a special need.