Your Gifts in Action: 2023-24 Campaign

When your United Way of Cayuga County opened in 1922, we were known as the Community Chest of Auburn. At this time, gifts supported solely Auburn based charities and city residents. However, in the late 1940’s, after World War II, several community surveys went out and our Board of Directors learned that many of our neighbors accessing services supported by Community Chest dollars lived outside of the city. In 1948, the largest recipient of funds was Auburn City Hospital where 40% of the patients were not Auburn residents.

On August 2, 1948, the Board of Directors voted and we officially became the Community Chest of Auburn & Cayuga County. This year, we are celebrating our 75th Anniversary of being a countywide organization!

Twenty-two of the 24 Member Agencies have the capacity to serve all regions of Cayuga County based on who is accessing the program. In celebration of our incredible milestone, we wanted to take a look at how your gifts to the United Way of Cayuga County support our neighbors throughout all 23 towns and the city.


ARISE Ramp Program, Day of Caring 2022

County North: Sterling, Montezuma, Brutus, and everywhere in between

From the dollars raised throughout the last Campaign season, your United Way of Cayuga County is currently funding 33 distinct programs and services that our neighbors are accessing from all regions of our community—including our friends in County North!

At Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes, your dollars support their Emergency Energy Assistance program that helps individuals and families facing utility shut off, bring their bills current to keep the lights and heat on. Of the Cayuga County residents that Catholic Charities was able to help in 2022, more than 20% of those families in need live in County North in the towns of Victory, Ira, Conquest, Cato, and Port Byron.

Other countywide programs include ARISE who has expanded their successful ramp program to serve our rural neighbors. During the 2022 United Way of Cayuga County Day of Caring, their team along with our volunteers installed a ramp for a Brutus resident. At the Cayuga Community Health Network, their Street Outreach Program has team members identifying homeless and those at risk of being homeless throughout all regions of Cayuga County.  

Aurora of CNY, Confidential Help for Alcohol and Drugs (CHAD), and Cayuga Counseling Services also provide countywide programming impacting residents throughout all eight County North towns, including Sterling and Montezuma. Throughout 2022, Aurora of CNY provided adaptive equipment, social work services, and resources to 16 residents in County North. This year, CHAD launched their Prevention & Intervention program at the Cato-Meridian Central School District. In addition to their clinic in Auburn, Cayuga Counseling Services provides mental health care to students through their satellite location in the Port Byron Central School District.  

Sixteen of the 33 programs supported by the United Way of Cayuga County fall under the Education umbrella. Did you know that both Perform 4 Purpose and Tyburn Academy have countywide reach? Last summer, Perform 4 Purpose partnered with local libraries to host week-long music camps, including Port Byron Library. Tyburn Academy is a small, private school based in Auburn. Their students come from across Cayuga County, including from the towns and villages in County North.


BTW Afterschool Program

County Central: The city and five surrounding towns

Your gift to the United Way of Cayuga County allows us to meet the community where they are. As we enter The Next 100 Years, we have welcomed both new Member Agencies and programs this year.

This year, your gifts are supporting new programs addressing emerging needs: workforce development and senior care. Loretto: The Commons on St. Anthony has developed a CNA Nurse Training program to keep individuals employed while earning a certification to advance in the medical field. At Westminster Manor, your dollars are providing a robust activities program to keep their senior residents engaged with both each other and the community at large.

When you give to the United Way of Cayuga County, you are supporting programs that provide both food and shelter for our neighbors. At Auburn Rescue Mission, they use your dollars to purchase hygiene items and basic supplies for families transitioning into their temporary housing units at Merriman Drive. Over at The Salvation Army, your dollars offset the salary of a part-time Office Manager who coordinates food orders and soup kitchen volunteers to keep our neighbors in the 13021 zip code fed (which includes large portions of both the towns of Throop and Aurelius).

Childcare is a critical need in our community. Did you know that at the E. John Gavras Center your dollars support an Essential Childcare program for children from birth through 12 years of age? The Afterschool & Teen programs at Booker T. Washington use your dollars so they can provide care, free of charge, to families whose kids are in the Auburn Enlarged School District which also encompasses the towns of Sennett, Flemming, and Owasco.

From the gifts last year, your dollars are helping cover the cost of new virtual reality equipment for Mozaic’s new Center for Community, Arts, and Technology that is currently under construction. Additionally, your past support provides scholarships for youth who want to explore the worlds of music and cinema with our friends at Auburn Public Theater.



County South: Springport, Niles, Genoa, Summerhill, & everywhere in between

Year after year, more than 50% of Cayuga County residents turn to a United Way funded program or service—including our friends living in County South!

Your gift to the United Way of Cayuga County allows Camp Caspar Gregory to offer a Campership program. This program helps cover the cost of tuition for youth to enjoy a week-long, rustic camping experience along Cayuga Lake in the town of Ledyard. Since 2016, Camp Gregory has been a recipient of your support and has been providing this unique camping experience since 1941. Camp Gregory is our only Member Agency who is headquartered outside of a city.

Given their wide range of programming, it may come as no surprise that the American Red Cross's Emergency Services and Blood Donation programs along with troops from both the Boy Scouts (Longhouse Council) and Girl Scouts provide countywide programming. Recently, our friend Ron, “Papa Bear”, from the Longhouse Council was at Southern Cayuga Central School’s Back-to-School night in hopes of re-establishing a troop to serve youth in the towns of Scipio, Ledyard, Venice, and Genoa.

Other countywide agencies that you are sure to have seen include our friends at Literacy Volunteers of Cayuga County who have had several satellite stations over the years. Currently, they have one regular session occurring in County South and hope to expand services once more volunteers are recruited. Also, it is likely that you have watched the SCAT Van pass by—with vans based out of the towns of Springport and Moravia, more than 650 County South residents utilized this service in 2022.

Some programs that may not come to mind when you think of a countywide reach are our friends at the Auburn YMCA. Did you know that their team runs the after school program for Moravia Central School District (which includes the towns of Niles, Sempronius, Locke, and Summerhill) so that parents can finish out the work day knowing their children are safe?  While the shelter is based in Auburn, our friends at Chapel House Homeless Shelter go across Cayuga County in search of individuals who are homeless and need shelter, to connect them with various resources, and help place them in permanent housing. In 2022, five neighbors from County South transitioned out of homelessness through Chapel House.

For 75 years, and counting, your gift to the United Way continues to support your neighbors across all regions of Cayuga County. As we venture into The Next 100 Years, your support is more critical than ever to provide our neighbors the resources they need to thrive.

Make your gift today and make tomorrow a better day for your neighbor.

Article written by United Way of Cayuga County staff   |   Friday, November 24, 2023