Support Critical to Meet Rising Community Needs

$1.2 Million in Requests Received for MV COVID-19 Fund Grants


As nonprofit organizations meet critical needs stemming from the global pandemic’s community impact, requests for funding from the Mohawk Valley COVID-19 Response Fund have now exceeded $1.2 million. The fund launched by The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties and the United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area (VGU) in mid-March has received and distributed more than $628,000 as of April 24.


“As the impact of the pandemic increases, our combined efforts are helping local nonprofits meet vital needs for those feeling the widespread strain of this public health crisis,” said Erin Gutierrez Matt, CEO of United Way VGU. “Many donors—individuals, businesses and organizations—have stepped up to help, but it’s clear that the needs of our nonprofit partners are growing.”


Matt said contributions of any amount will go toward funding front-line organizations helping those who need it most. The easiest way to donate is via the website.


A committee is reviewing applications for funding several times a week, and nonprofits are submitting requests for relief in growing numbers as the pandemic impact’s ripple effects are felt by more residents. Newly awarded grants are going to ACR Health; Compassion Coalition; Presbyterian Homes Foundation; The Community at Sunset Wood, The Salvation Army in Herkimer County, Rome and Utica; and Valley Health Services. Dozens of nonprofits have received funding so far.


This announcement came as the Community Foundation acknowledged that its executive vice president, John Swann, has been diagnosed with coronavirus.


“As we’ve heard from early on, this virus can strike anyone—a coworker, friend, family member, neighbor—and the bottom line is that our entire community is feeling the impact,” said Alicia Dicks, Community Foundation president/CEO. “John’s illness brought the reality of this crisis to a new level for many at The Community Foundation as we witnessed someone near and dear to us experience the ups and downs of this debilitating virus. I’m happy to report that his condition continues to improve, and we wish him a speedy recovery.”


Dicks said the diagnosis came weeks after the Foundation offices were closed to the public on March 16 and staff began working remotely, so no employees, volunteers or visitors were exposed to the virus.