Foundation develops online tool to aid nonprofits

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UTICA — After responding to a year of rising community need, the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties today shared with dozens of partner organizations its plans for investing funds through the nonprofit sector to meet continuing pandemic impact, longstanding racial inequity and other challenges facing the two-county region.

“Like many in the Mohawk Valley and across the country, we feel as though we’ve been addressing pressing needs in a difficult and unprecedented time while trying to make plans for better days ahead,” said Alicia Dicks, president/CEO. “We’re committed to working with our partners to address the community needs we already know about, and also the unexpected when it happens.”

During a webinar with more than 80 nonprofits, Dicks described a new and more flexible “inquiry-to-investment” program that will enable nonprofits and donors to share needs and requests for support on an ongoing basis starting in April. “What we’re putting in place is an enhanced two-way engagement model that will advance beyond the traditional grant application cycles that community funders have used for generations,” Dicks said.

“While we reach out to our partners more than ever throughout the year, nonprofit organizations will have a full six months, from April through September, to actively engage with us via an online tool that will speed up review of and response to their requests for support.” 

Since its founding in 1952 the Community Foundation has invested more than $90 million in Herkimer and Oneida counties through donor-supported funding of nonprofit organizations. In recent years, especially in 2020, it has adopted increasingly flexible strategies that accelerate investment in the community to meet growing needs. The “inquiry to investment” approach applies donor money more quickly and effectively to all kinds of community needs, from immediate emergencies to Community Foundation initiatives focusing on racial equity and social justice, community impact centers, childhood lead poisoning, community development planning, and workforce development.

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