Thursday, January 27, 2011

Nonprofit Awards 2011

Celebrate the exceptional accomplishments of the leaders driving the area’s nonprofit organizations (NPOs) by nominating someone you know for one of our Nonprofit Awards. BizEventz and the Central New York Business Journal believe that these leaders deserve to be recognized for outstanding accomplishments on behalf of their organizations. With the support of M&T Bank, on March 28th, we’ve planned The Nonprofit Awards Luncheon. Award recipients will be honored for excellence, leadership, fiduciary responsibility, management practices, creativity, impact, and business acumen.

Nominations are due February 10, 2011. Click here to nominate.

Executive of the Year: Submit nominations for nonprofit executives (president, CEO, executive director) who exhibit leadership, planning skills, strong staff growth, board development, solid fiscal management, and increased fund-raising.

Board Leadership: Nominee is a lay leader of the board of directors. He/she may be a present or past president of the board, long-term board member, and/or major contributor. Cite how the nominee strengthened the organization, implemented the corporate mission or vision, and enhanced the strategic plan.

Board Development: Nonimee is a lay leader of the board of directors, who "grew" the organization through fund-raising or through dynamic ideas, which improved operations. Nominee's efforts enhanced the board through a higher level of participation.

Impact Award: Nominee may be an employee of the NPO, a board member, or a volunteer, who created and/or implemented a new or exisiting program that not only changes the organization but also the community.

Career Achievement: Nominee is a lay leader who makes a lifetime commitment to the community by advocating for NPOs and by dedicating his/her time and resources for the betterment of the commonweal.

Luncheon Information
Date: March 28, 2011
Time: 11:00am-2:00pm
Location: Double Tree Hotel, Syracuse NY

This event is made possible by M&T Bank, Business Journal, Classic Hits Sunny 102, YNN, and Wells Fargo Advisors

Friday, January 21, 2011

Study: Residents to give more to nonprofits than in recent years

The Utica OD reported that in recent years, Mohawk Valley charitable organizations have been struggling to meet greater need brought by the recession, as contributions remained stagnant or dropped.

But things may be turning around.

A survey released this week by Dallas-based Dunham and Company found that Americans are more likely to give this year than anytime in the past four years.

“The numbers had been pretty consistent,” organization President Rick Dunham said. “Then this year, it was just, ‘wow.’”

Officials from area charities said they were hopeful about 2011, but weren’t yet ready to predict a significant uptick in donations.

“We hope this year will be better, but we have no guarantees,” said the Rev. Bill Dodge, executive director of the Rescue Mission of Utica. “If the survey is right, that would be wonderful.”

Among the findings of the survey by Dunham and Company, a consulting group that helps ministries develop fundraising strategies:

* This year, only 14 percent of those surveyed said they would decrease giving, down from 25 percent in the past three years.

* Eighteen percent of those surveyed said they would increase their charitable giving, up from just 14 percent in the previous years.

Dunham said 75 percent of those surveyed said they felt either the same or better about their personal financial situation than they had in the past.

“I think that’s a major driver,” he said.

The givers

Asked about their plans for giving in 2011, local residents expressed a range of responses.

Stacy Lindfield, of Oriskany, said her financial situation was better this year than last year, because she had a better job.

“I might give a little more,’ she said. “I like to give to animal shelters.”

But Rick LeClair, of Inlet, said since he lost his job this fall, his donations probably would be less than in the past.

“I’ll give anyway,” he said. “But if I go back to work, I’ll give more.

LeClair said his father, who had Alzheimer’s disease, recently died, and so LeClair has been giving to organizations that research that illness, as well as to the March of Dimes.

Louise Holck, of Steuben, said she and her husband are retired and live on a fixed income, and are trying to hold their giving steady.

“As yet, we have not cut back,” she said. “I’m not saying we won’t.”

She said she had made a commitment to give to her church.

The charities

The Compassion Coalition used to give out 5,000 backpacks filled with school supplies every year, but that hasn’t happened for the past two years.

“I just could not get sponsorship,” said the Rev. Charles Sweet, executive director of the nonprofit.

He said it would be nice if donations went up, and he wanted to try again this year, but may not give out as many backpacks as in the past.

Anne White, of the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, said that group’s giving had held steady during the recession, and things seemed to be looking up.

“We did have our annual appeal at the end of 2010, and we did raise more money than we have in the past,” she said. “We take this as a sign that people are a little more confident and may be more able to invest some discretionary income in our local not-for-profits.”

Susan Woods, a spokeswoman for the United Way of Greater Utica, said the Mohawk Valley was known as a generous community.

“Since we are a community of givers, as our local economy takes an upturn, we are certain that giving will, too,” she said.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

..Sculpture Space purchases, renovates Wiley St. house.

The Utica OD related the recent news about Sculpture Space's renovation of a two-story, cream-colored house on Wiley Street in West Utica.

But to Sculpture Space, the house represents the completion of a goal the organization began working toward seven years ago.

It also represents an investment in the community and an effort to make artists safe during their stay in Utica. Sculpture Space offers two-month residencies for artists from around the world.

For many years, the group rented apartments for its artists in residence, but Executive Director Sydney Waller said it was “very difficult to find somewhere that is close and safe and can accept four artists. The places we rent have been basic and adequate.”

Waller said Sculpture Space began the discussions about having its own residence in 2003. Officials considered building an artists’ residence on the Sculpture Space grounds on Gates Street or purchasing from Utica’s existing housing stock.

“We are a nonprofit with basic funds,” Waller said. “We approached the Community Foundation (of Herkimer & Oneida Counties), and they supported the purchase of the house with a $40,000 grant.”

The house, purchased in December 2009, is so close to the studio that the orange Sculpture Space sign is visible from its balcony.

When looking for a house, the proximity was one of the artists’ main concerns, Waller said.

“We don’t really want them crossing the city at 2 a.m.,” Waller said. “It’s a great loss of time. It does give them more exposure to possible mishaps.”

During the renovation process, “one of our artists was assaulted, which had never happened before,” Waller said.

A male artist was riding a bicycle from Sculpture Space to the artists’ apartment, which was off Whitesboro Street in West Utica, when men got out of a vehicle and attacked him, Waller said.

“The artist left. He had to leave his residency,” she said.

The renovation process, which cost “$75,000 in real money” – not including the donations of appliances, tile and fixtures – lasted nearly a year. The organization reached out to its regular donors and applied for a second grant from the Community Foundation.

In October, the first artists were able to move in.

The house currently is half full, with two residents occupying the upstairs apartments.


Group to open new community center in Utica

An area nonprofit group has plans to launch a new community center that will offer programs and activities for children through senior citizens.
The Neighborhood Investment Association, Inc. (NIA) calls it the Renaissance Center and the facility - located in the former teamster's building at 7 Rutger Park - should begin offering programs soon, board President Kay Lanaux says.
"It's going to have children's programs and programs for seniors," she says. "It's going to provide a multicultural art and history museum."
The Renaissance Center will also feature an entrepreneurial development center geared toward women and minorities and provide board-room space for in-kind use, she says.
Lanaux declined to disclose any information about NIA's funding.
The center is open not only to inner-city residents but those from all over the city as well as the greater Utica region. Additionally, NIA plans to lease space in the building for other nonprofit organizations and businesses.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mohawk Valley Nonprofit ED Group Steering Committee 2011 Planning

Committee: Beth Irons, Utica Zoo; Darby O'Brien, Utica Library; Kevin Marken, Stanley Center for the Arts; Lorraine Kinney-Kitchen, Mid-York Child Care Coordinating Council; Tim Trent, Future Development

Theme for 2011: Planning and Partnership for Financial Success

Set Program dates for 2011 (2nd Wed):
Wed, April 13th at 8:30am
Wed, June 8th at 8:30am
Wed, September 14th at 8:30am
Wed, November 9th at 8:30am

Program Topics:
· April 13th
o Getting New $$ in the Door
§ E-commerce, online giving, entrepreneurial ventures, individual donors, in-kind
§ Panel approach

· June 8th
o Strategic Planning for Financial Success

· September 14th
o Board, Staff, and Volunteers: The Fundraising Team

· November 9th
o Partnering for Financial Success
§ Group purchasing, office sharing, shared services, mergers, etc

Possible locations for programs:
Utica Library, MVCC, Child Council, Munson Williams Proctor, Refugee Center, USC, Herkimer ARC, Herkimer Community College, Herkimer BOCES

Steering Committee meetings to be at 8:30am. Possible location Community Foundation.
March 9th
May 11th
August 10th
October 12th
December 14th (tentative breakfast meeting at restaurant to discuss 2012 planning)

Join us as we meet with area Elected Officials to discuss our Community's Agenda


Thursday, January 20th ~ 7:30am
Radisson Hotel Utica Centre
200 Genesee St., Utica, NY
Cost: $18.00pp (includes breakfast & forum)

The Forum will provide a valuable opportunity for officials to hear the thoughts and concerns of other officials from a variety of geographic areas and jurisdictional levels. Participating in the forum are Officials, Representatives and Guests from the Federal, State, County and Local levels of government.


For reservations, contact Ray Durso, Jr. by calling 315.792.7187 or via email,

The Regional Community Forum is sponsored by The Genesis Group and The Chamber Alliance of the Mohawk Valley, representing Chamber's of Commerce from the Boonville Area, Camden Area, Clinton, Herkimer County, Kuyahoora Valley, Marcy, New Hartford, Greater Oneida, Rome Area, Trenton Area, and affiliate partners: Oneida County Tourism, Mohawk Valley EDGE and The Genesis Group.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


UTICA, NY – As part of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010, legislators passed a two-year extension of the Charitable IRA Rollover, making it easier for Americans to give to charitable causes tax-free. The extension is retroactive for 2010 donations, if gifts are made by January 31, 2011, and applies through December 31, 2011 for 2011 giving. Peggy O’Shea, President/CEO of The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, Inc. noted, “It is a win-win for people who would rather give to charities they care about than pay taxes.”

The new law allows holders of traditional IRAs, who are at least 70½ years old, to make direct charitable transfers from their IRA accounts up to $100,000 per year for 2010 and 2011. Thus, a single person can transfer a total of $200,000 free from federal tax and a married couple can transfer up to $400,000 free from federal tax from separate accounts. By going directly to a qualified public charity such as The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, the money is not included in the IRA owner’s income and, most importantly, is not taxed, preserving the full amount for charitable purposes.

Millions of Americans continue to save pre-tax dollars in individual retirement accounts and some have accumulated more in these accounts than they need for daily living and long-term care in retirement. This is an opportunity for them to avoid the income tax that must be paid on withdrawals, whether to them during their lifetimes or to their heirs.
The Community Foundation can help donors execute the transfers and choose from several charitable fund options for their gift. Donor-advised funds do not qualify for tax-free IRA transfers. Interested parties may contact Foundation Director of Donor Services, Elayne Johnson, at (315) 735-8212 with questions.

The Community Foundation has been a force for improving lives and promoting philanthropy throughout Herkimer and Oneida counties since 1952. The Foundation has made more than 4,300 grants totaling over $35 million in support of causes ranging from education to health care, the arts to the environment. Grants are generated by the more than 270 funds that comprise The Foundation’s endowment, established and advanced by area individuals and families.

For more information about The Community Foundation, call 315-735-8212 or visit