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Community fund launched for Mohawk Valley nonprofit coronavirus relief

By Eric Reinhardt (


UTICA, N.Y. — Two Mohawk Valley organizations have created a single, “community-wide” fund 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) say they’re 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 can donate at, the organizations say.

“In a time of crisis, it’s more important than ever before to say this: We are one community,” Alicia Dicks, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, said in a statement. “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,” Erin Gutierrez Matt, executive director and CEO of the United Way VGU, said. “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.

“In these unprecedented times, our community continues to rally together to combat this pandemic,” Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. said. “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 visit or email

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