We are United Way. We help people. We encourage and enable learning, growth, independence, and safety so people can reach their full potential.

We help 1 in 4 people right here in the Valley and Greater Utica Area...and we couldn’t do it without you.

United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area brings together companies, individuals, and agencies to create positive change in our community. We work to find solutions that no single donor or agency could handle alone.

We do the “homework” that you may not have time to do by learning what the needs are in our community and finding the best ways to make an impact where it is needed most.

Your donations fund effective programs and we partner with them to be sure they stay on track.

Your one gift to United Way makes the most impact and improves the lives of thousands of people right here in the Valley and Greater Utica Area.

Together we can create a community where all individuals and families achieve their full potential through education, financial stability, and healthy living.


Mission Statement

Our mission is to mobilize the caring power of the Valley and Greater Utica Area by connecting people, resources, and ideas to create a thriving community.


Core Values

INTEGRITY – We act in a manner that is responsible and that inspires the highest level of trust among our stakeholders.  We act with the highest level of accountability, we provide fair, accurate and honest disclosure of information and we treat all individuals in a fair and responsible manner.

INCLUSIVENESS – We embrace diversity.  We understand that United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area is strong as an organization and central to our community because of the respect, dignity, and value we give to all individuals and because we aspire to involve people from all segments of our community in every aspect of our work.  We believe that to fully understand a problem, it is important to actively listen to community members who are impacted.

STEWARDSHIP – We make efficient use of precious resources by holding ourselves and our partners accountable to ensure that dollars are strategically invested in the community.

COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP -  We are a successful convener and collaborator, bringing together and working with the community to accomplish common goals.  We do this by investing in programs and leading initiatives that bring partners together around issues that are best addressed collectively.

RESULTS – We make a positive difference and have measurable impact on challenges facing our local community.  We achieve this by mobilizing people, organizations and financial resources to create and sustain programs that achieve targeted outcomes and lasting change through volunteerism, partnerships, services and advocacy.


Community Impact: Advancing the Common Good

United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area is a collaboration of donors, volunteers, and health and human-service providers throughout Herkimer and Oneida Counties who are committed to changing lives.

We fund a wide range of programs and community-based efforts that make measurable impacts in the areas the community most cares about and needs.

We all win when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable & independent, and when people have good health and can meet their basic needs. Learn more.



We have witnessed the Mohawk Valley's history.
We are helping to shape its future.

In 1887, Denver was plagued with welfare problems; the result of 20 years of rapid population growth. Community leaders joined forces to organize fundraising efforts to meet the needs of the city.

With this, United Way concept was born – Mobilizing organized groups and individuals to work together and care for one another by planning and funding health and human services.

United Way organizations grew in popularity because they offered a unified approach to problems, reduced the number of appeals from local charities, and allowed people to support a wide range of services with just one gift.

Despite a common commitment to helping people, United Way organizations went by a variety of names. Some of them include: Community Chest, Red Feather Campaign, Good Neighbors Fund, Torch Drive, and United Fund. In 1970, the majority of these organizations adopted one common name, United Way.

Today, there are nearly 1,800 community-based United Way organizations in 45 countries and territories, each run by local citizens. While they work in similar ways, each is tailored to meet the needs of their own communities. Contributions to United Way result in funding of more than 43,000 agencies that provide human care services worldwide.

United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area began as the Utica Community Chest on November 1, 1921. Founding executives included Fredrick T. Proctor, Warnick J. Kernan, and Frank X. Matt.

For 93 years, we have gone far beyond the tasks of raising and distributing funds. We help leaders from the public and private sectors develop agendas, prioritize community needs, and find solutions in the most effective ways. After distributing funds, we work with our funded partners to make sure outcomes are being met and impact is being made throughout the community. By looking ahead, working hard, and planning carefully, United Way can anticipate needs and respond quickly.

Although we have successfully raised funds for services each year, community needs usually exceed available funds. Help us to continue our work:


United Way Worldwide
Membership Requirements

United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area is proud to be a member of the United Way Worldwide (UWW) network. While we are focused on our community – raising and investing money locally – our membership in the UWW network gives us access to opportunities and resources from around the world. 

United Way Worldwide maintains strict membership requirements, holding all local United Ways to rigorous accountability and transparency standards. The "Membership Requirements Completed" icon on this website indicates we have completed all 2017 reporting requirements for United Way Worldwide and have been granted membership in the international organization. Categories reviewed included fiscal responsibility, governance, campaign policies/success, and community investments.


Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Dr. Cathleen McColgin

William F. Perrotti
First Vice President

Amber J. Clarke

Erin M. Bushinger
Chair, Marketing

Frank L. DiLorenzo 
Chair, Audit

Gregory M. Morra
Chair, Governance
Past President

Matthew A. Nicholl
Chair, Community Engagement

Gilbert (Gil) Palladino
Chair, Community Impact

Jackie Romano
Chair, Resource Development

Brenda E. Episcopo

Board Members

Edward M. Barone, III

Felix Cano

Patrick J. Costello
Labor Representative

John H. Hobika, Jr. CLTC

Maimun N. Khan

Mark S. Lewandrowski

Stephen T. Surace

Eve Van de Wal

Kimberly B. VanDuren


Staff List

Phone: 315-733-4691
Fax: 315-733-4105
Email: info@unitedwayvgu.org

Betty-Joan Beaudry
Title: 2-1-1 Liaison
Ext: 225

Brenda E. Episcopo
Title: Executive Director/CEO
Ext: 231

Carli Sterling
Title: Campaign Coordinator
Ext: 235

Dawn Potter
Title: Finance Specialist
Ext: 228

Heidi Nolette
Title: Marketing & Communications Manager
Ext: 224

Jill Conley
Title: ESPRI Admin. Assistant
Ext: 243

Kristyn Bucciero
Title: Director of Development & Marketing
Ext: 232

Lucille Humphreys
TitleExecutive Administrative Assistant
Ext: 241

Robin Robinson
Title: Director of Community Impact
Ext: 240

Royanne Sprowell
Title: Finance Assistant
Ext: 242

Sandra Hoyland
Title: Director of Finance & Administration, CFO
Ext: 227

Sandy Allbright
Title: Resource Development Specialist
Ext: 223

Beth Meeusen
Title: Family School Coordinator

Jason Romeyn
Title: Family School Coordinator



United Way of the Valley & Greater Utica Area has met Better Business Bureau's 20 Standards for Charity Accountability and is a BBB Accredited Charity. You can view United Way VGU's full Charity Review online at www.bbb.org.