How Local United Way Chapters Are Supporting Disasters including COVID-19

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The United Way has over 1,100 chapters around the United States supporting needs in local communities. The United Way of the Mohawk Valley serves Oneida and Herkimer Counties in the Utica area of Upstate New York. The agency supports a variety of community programs including food banks, after school programs, job and career programs, tax filing services, and hosting the communities 2-1-1 network.

About the United Way of the Mohawk Valley

United Way of the Mohawk Valley is an independent, volunteer-led, locally governed, non-profit organization that has been serving the people of the Mohawk Valley since 1921.

The Mohawk Valley chapter began as the Utica Community Chest on November 1, 1921. Founding executives included Fredrick T. Proctor, Warnick J. Kernan, and Frank X. Matt. Our United Way addresses the root causes of key issues, is accountable for stewardship of resources, and is accountable for short-term and long-term results. We partner with community volunteers to best serve the Mohawk Valley with the Board of Directors and several committees made up entirely of local volunteer experts and professionals.

The United Way of the Mohawk Valley is one of the community's largest nonprofits, funding dozens of local programs and initiatives. They work with funding partners to ensure outcomes are being met and impact is being made. Through their Strategic Investment process, United Way carefully analyzes local needs, as well as social and economic changes in the community before thoroughly reviewing the agency’s request for support. This process allows the agency to make tough, yet smart, goal-oriented decisions regarding the region's most critical needs. To be considered for United Way funding, each program must meet a number of important standards, including but not limited to the following; the agency must provide a human care service that meets an important need in the community, be governed by a board of volunteers, be legally recognized as a not-for-profit organization, comply with New York State (not-for-profit) audit guidelines, and operate at a reasonable cost.

Topics Covered

  • The United Way of the Mohawk Valley serves communities of all sizes and demographic makeup in Oneida and Herkimer Counties in Upstate New York.
  • The organization has raised over $1 million dollars in a special COVID-19 fund to support the community’s needs during the pandemic.
  • The organization is expanding its services to provide fresh food for families who need additional support from being out of work or experiencing a change in wages, children being home from school more, and other impacts of the pandemic.
  • The United Way’s 2-1-1 system can be expanded in a disaster to provide a text response service to help in providing feedback from the public who may need assistance immediately following a disaster.
  • In late October – early November of 2019, heavy rainfall caused significant flooding in the Utica area. The United Way of the Mohawk Valley played a crucial role in providing support to those impacted by the floods. As a member of the Herkimer-Oneida Organizations Active in Disasters (HOOAD), the United Way engaged those impacted through use of the 2-1-1 network.
  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Way established a COVID-19 Fund in partnership with Community Foundation of Oneida and Herkimer Counites. Approximately $1 million was raised to purchase life-saving medical equipment, essential PPE, and cleaning supplies, increased access to food, offer technology support, and more. The Rising Phoenix Holdings Corporation provided donations to this fund. About 100,000 masks have been distributed to residents and organizations in need since March.
  • The United Way has created a Take and Make Meal Box campaign designed to provide meals for those impacted from the COVID pandemic. The program is being funded by a grant from the City of Utica and will support the distribution of over 4,500 boxes of food and supplies and hundreds of grocery store gift cards.

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