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GC United Way offers virtual basket raffle now through Nov. 15 to fund its Backpack Program

By Press Release

Photos and press release from Tammy Hathaway, executive director of the United Way of Genesee County.

The United Way of Genesee County’s Women United group is presenting a virtual basket auction fundraiser. All proceeds from this event will be used to purchase food for the United Way’s Backpack Program.

This program supplies weekend meals to students throughout Genesee County.

The Women United Basket Auction starts today, Nov. 5th and runs trhough Nov. 15th.

It is hosted by William Kent Auctions and sponsored by The Hidden Door. With almost 50 items open for bidding, you will find there is something for everyone.

Please, use this link to access the auction.

The United Way of Genesee County and the Women United group thank you in advance for your support and continued dedication the United Way’s mission.

Together we are stronger and together we can make a difference.

Happy bidding!

GC United Way gets grants and donations to help with COVID-19 response and recovery efforts

By Billie Owens

Press release:

During these unprecedented times, the United Way of Genesee County (UWGC) has secured numerous grants and donations, which are being used throughout the county for COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.

The UWGC matched a crisis grant from National Grid and awarded mini grants to nine agencies in Genesee County who are supplying resources and services to the community.

Additionally, event sponsors for the cancelled 2020 Day of Caring requested their monies be used where needed the most and not be returned. These funds have been added to the donations received from individuals and small businesses and more grant awards will be made.

This week the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo awarded from the Western New York COVID-19 Community Response Fund to the United Way of Genesee County $25,000 to distribute to entities who are supplying the community with resources and critical services.

The Western New York COVID-19 Community Response Fund was created by the philanthropic community to support nonprofits addressing immediate needs in response to the COVID-19 crisis in the eight counties of Western New York.

Recognizing that a lot of the burden of the response is falling on community-based and grassroots organizations, the Fund created a microgrant program to rapidly deploy resources to small urban and rural organizations that provide hands-on assistance to community members.

Intermediary organizations in each county that are recognized as trusted voices and partners identified the microgrant recipients for awards that typically range from $500 - $2,500. 

The following nonprofits will receive funding from this gracious gift:

  • The Salvation Army of Batavia
  • City Church Community Food Pantry
  • North Bergen Presbyterian Church Community Food Pantry
  • Pavilion United Methodist Church Community Food Pantry
  • Project Stork Baby Pantry
  • Care-A-Van Ministries
  • Le Roy Community Kitchen
  • Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern
  • YWCA of Genesee County
  • ABCD: Agri-Business Center
  • Community Action of Genesee and Orleans
  • CASA for Children

The newest funding received is an award of $1,000 from the Kiwanis Club of Batavia to purchase food for the UWGC’s weekend food program, the Backpack Program.

The United Way of Genesee County is overwhelmed with gratitude for each and every gracious donor who has stepped up and said "I want to help."

Accompanying the gratitude for donors is the abundance of gratitude for each volunteer who has worked food distributions, picked up donations, ran food drives and so much more.

Together we do make Genesee County stronger.

For those who would love to support the efforts of the United Way of Genesee County, please contact Executive Director Tammy Hathaway at (585) 343-8141 or email:

Batavia Rotary Club donates $1,000 to United Way's Backpack Program to feed local families

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Batavia Rotary Club has donated $1,000 to United Way of Genesee County to help provide food for its Backpack Program that assists local families in need.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rotary International Foundation made available $20,000 to clubs in District 7090, which includes the counties of Western New York and Southern Ontario, Canada. 

Through Rotary's District Grant process, Batavia Rotary Club applied for and received a $1,000 grant specifically to provide financial assistance to United Way of Genesee County’s Backpack Program. This program supplies weekend meals to students within multiple school districts in Genesee County.

With students home continuously over these past weeks, the demand for the weekend meal program has increased substantially. Each week brings more and more new families registering in the program.

From Bob Knipe, Batavia Rotary Club President:

"We are very pleased to receive this grant to be used by United Way of Genesee County.  Providing food for our neighbors in Genesee County is vitally important at this time, especially for families with children.  The Backpack Program operated by United Way here in our county offers food to some of our most vulnerable citizens.  With the recent increased demand for food, Batavia Rotary is able to help fill some of the gap."  

Batavia Rotary Club has just completed celebrating its 100th anniversary year of providing service to our community.  Rotary's motto is "Service Above Self."

The United Way of Genesee County has been supplying services and funding to many agencies through this time of uncertainty. The funding received from Batavia Rotary Club will be wholly used to purchase food for the weekend Backpack Program.

From Tammy Hathaway, executive director of the United Way of Genesee County:

“We cannot thank Batavia Rotary Club enough for their continued dedication to our mission. This is proof that our community is doing what it does best, uniting to ensure the needs of households in Genesee County are met.”

For those wanting to join Rotary in supporting the efforts of the United Way of Genesee County in feeding our neighbors, please contact Tammy Hathaway at 585-343-8141 or

United Way of Genesee County sets May 13 as 13th Annual Day of Caring

By Billie Owens

(File photo from 2018 Day of Caring.)

Press release:

The United Way of Genesee County will be looking forward to its 13th Annual Day of Caring on Wednesday, May 13th.

More than 30 nonprofit agencies are expected to benefit from more than 400 volunteers who will paint, landscape, and perform general beautification projects throughout Genesee County.

Dwyer Stadium will again be the host site to kick off the event and after all projects are completed a wrap-up celebration will be held to share successes from the day.

Registration for projects and volunteers will be available soon.

Those who are new to the Day of Caring and would like to be involved in spending a united day together making the community a better place, or who have a project they would like completed, are encouraged to reach out to the Tammy Hathaway at the United Way of Genesee County at 585-343-8141.

United Way launches Campaign 2020: 'Clear vision for a brighter future'

By Billie Owens

Press release:

A breakfast held at the Dibble Family Center in Batavia this morning set the stage for the United Way of Genesee County’s Campaign 2020 Kick-off.

This year’s campaign will be under the direction of co-chairs Susie Ott and Jane Scott. Together they chair the United Way’s Day of Caring Committee, are members of the Allocations Committee and have dedicated themselves to the United Way mission for many years.

“Campaign 2020: clear vision for a brighter future” is our tagline this year, says Executive Director Tammy Hathaway. “We want to know the personality of our donor and offer them nothing less from our stewardship of their funds than what they give to their customers and the community.”

The United Way of Genesee County (UWGC) is focused on funding the Community Impact areas of health, education and economic mobility. Within these categories, 21 nonprofits are provided funding for 27 different programs in our county.

Campaign funding grants an insurance toward keeping these essential programs in existence. A listing of agencies and services funded can be found on the UWGC website.

Co-chairs, Ott & Scott (or as UWGC calls them: "Ott & Scott’s Big Adventure") announced this year’s United Way of Genesee County’s campaign goal for 2020 is $350,000.

As the morning began, Paul Ohlson of Care-A-Van Ministries blessed the venture saying "it takes a village." The United Way of Genesee County looks forward to partnering with current and new donors to "be this village" and to another year of being committed to mobilizing resources for community impact.

For questions, or inquiries of how to get involved, please contact the UWGC office at 585-343-8141.

Inset photo of United Way of Genesee County Executive Director Tammy Hathaway, courtesy of Susie Ott.

United Way invites local agencies and nonprofits to apply for 'Community Impact' funding

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Starting Sept. 1, the United Way of Genesee County (UWGC) invites agencies and organizations who qualify as a 501c3 to submit their intent to apply for a UWGC’s 2020 Community Impact funding allocation (formerly known as Building Blocks).

These allocations will focus on the impact areas of health, education and financial mobility within Genesee County.

Interested agencies and organizations should contact UWGC Executive Director Tammy Hathaway for application instructions at or (585) 343-8141.

The deadline for full application submissions will be 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4th.

United Way of Genesee County to hold breakfast and awards ceremony June 28, please RSVP by June 24

By Billie Owens

The United Way of Genesee County will hold a Campaign Celebration Breakfast and Award Ceremony on Friday, June 28, at Arc of Genesee Orleans Community Center.

"Community Impact is in Bloom" is the theme. 

Keynote speaker is Shelley Falitico, of Arc Self-Advocates.

Awards will be given for: Highest Campaign (total); Agency of the Year, the Barber Conable Award, and many more.

Please RSVP by Monday, June 24 to:  or by calling Tammy Hathaway at (585) 343-8141.

Cost is $10. The community center is located at 38 Woodrow Road in Batavia. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the program starts at 8 o'clock.

Make checks payable to the: United Way of Genesee County.

Registrations can be brought to the breakfast or mail to: United Way, 29 Liberty St., Batavia NY 14020.

Youth Bureau, YMCA seek to operate 'Teen City' program at former St. Anthony's School

By Mike Pettinella


Batavia City Council is prepared to enter into a partnership to develop Teen City, an afterschool program for kids from the ages of 9 to 16 to be housed at the City Church-owned St. Anthony’s campus on Liberty Street.

The board, at its Conference meeting tonight at City Centre Council Chambers, reacted positively to a presentation by Jocelyn Sikorski, executive director of the City and Genesee County youth bureaus, by agreeing to let her and Acting City Manager Matt Worth continue their negotiations with City Church to move the City Youth Bureau from its present MacArthur Drive location.

“(The former St. Anthony’s School) gives us much more space than we could have ever imagined,” Sikorski said, explaining that the youth bureau staff will be working with the Genesee Area Family YMCA to provide a setting that “will incorporate active play, educational space, and health and wellness while fostering community service.”

Sikorski (in photo above) said St. Anthony’s would offer a classroom/tech room, recreation room, gaming room, cafeteria, kitchen and full gymnasium during program hours, which are set at 2:30 to 6 p.m. from Monday through Friday during the school year and 1 to 6 p.m. during the summer.

The youth bureau and YMCA have secured more than $110,000 thus far, she said, with the United Way of Genesee County pledging $50,000 for renovations and start-up and an additional $10,000 annually for five years to maintain the program.

Bullet Aid ($30,000), Greater Rochester Health Foundation ($17,600), Ralph Wilson Legacy Funds ($11,000) and Rotary Club of Batavia ($5,000) also are supporting the project, Sikorski said.

The plan is contingent upon the facility being rezoned from residential to commercial, a process that has moved along and will be determined by a vote of the City Planning & Development Committee.

Other things that need to be done before the program starts include information technology upgrades, renovations in line with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and a security policy to be “modeled after the Batavia City School District’s,” Sikorski said.

City officials have begun to talk about a lease agreement with City Church, but no terms have been reached yet, Worth said.

 “We haven’t really had that defined yet. We’ve had very front-end conversations on how the structure might be, but the actual financial parts of it have not been nailed down yet to give specific numbers,” Worth said, adding that necessary investments by City Church will weigh into the terms.

The ultimate goal, he said, “is for it to be a net-zero cost (to the City) compared to how the youth bureau is being operated now.”

Worth said that if the City School District opts to use the existing Youth Bureau, leasing terms for that site would be negotiated.

“(The district) could take over the utilities, something like that,” he said. “But that’s too much detail from where we are at the moment. Hopefully, in a month from now I would have a better answer.”

Council Member John Canale said his idea would be to "convert it (the current Youth Bureau) back to a pool house and put the (City) pool back in there."

Sikorski said the timeline is one “you may call ambitious” as they hope to have Teen City opened by January.

In other action, Council moved the following measures to its Business meeting on Oct. 9:

-- A resolution to continue stipends above and beyond their normal salaries to Worth, James Ficarella, Ray Tourt and Lisa Neary through the pay period ending Jan. 4. All four have taken on additional duties during the months the City has been without a manager or assistant manager.

Worth would continue to be paid a stipend of $1,000 per month, while Ficarella (superintendent of water and wastewater), Tourt (superintendent of maintenance) and Neary (deputy director of finance) would keep getting a $750 stipend.

Council Member Robert Bialkowski called their effort “a bargain.”

“Since we haven’t had a manager or assistant manager, it really isn’t costing the city taxpayers,” he said.

His colleague, Rose Mary Christian, however, looked at the request differently, saying she opposed extending the stipends past October – the month that new manager, Martin Moore, assumes his duties.

She was the only one to oppose the extension as the rest of the group agreed that two additional months would be needed to ensure a successful transition.

-- Two resolutions dealing with City Fire Department programs – the implementation of an external Emergency Medical Technician class to be offered on an annual basis and the acceptance of a $1,500 state grant to continue a child safety seat initiative.

Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano said there about 27 people who wish to take the class, which is designed to train citizens interested in becoming EMTs for their own personal benefit as well as those who offer their services to other fire, rescue or Emergency Medical Service agency.

Napolitano requested a budget transfer of $15,000 to deliver the class, and said he expects that tuition fees will return that amount and likely $4,000 more back to the City.

-- A resolution to solicit bids to repair the silo entries of the City Centre Mall and segments of the roof near Sunny’s Restaurant and the hallway adjacent to City Hall.

The repairs are part of the settlement agreement between the City and Mall Merchants Association.

“These two areas (of the roof) are where the vast majority of the proverbial buckets are sitting,” Worth said.

Erik Fix resigns as executive director of United Way of Genesee County, leaves later this month

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Today, the United Way of Genesee County’s Board of Directors announced that Erik Fix has resigned his position as Executive Director effective later this month. Fix served the county in this capacity for six years.   

“The Board of Directors thanks Erik for his service to our community,” said Theresa DeMars, United Way of Genesee County Board chair. “During his tenure with the organization he has helped to raise and allocate thousands of dollars to better our community. We are grateful to him and we are very happy for him and his family as he begins this new opportunity.”

United Way of Genesee County’s Board of Directors will continue its mission to motivate and organize people as it begins a search, in partnership with United Way of Greater Rochester, to fill the Executive Director position.

The organization is excited to kick off its 2018 campaign at the end of this month with the women of the United Way of Genesee County Board of Directors as chairpersons of the campaign.

“We have always been a very active board, and this provides another opportunity for us to make a difference for this community,” DeMars said.

For more information about United Way of Genesee County’s Executive Director position, visit For more information about the United Way of Genesee County or, if you are interested in giving, volunteering or advocating for the organization, visit

National Grid donates $500 to United Way of Genesee County to help fight hunger

By Billie Owens

Submitted photo and press release:

To help in the fight against hunger this Hunger Action Month, National Grid announced $12,500 in donations to 10 food banks and hunger relief organizations throughout the eight counties of Western New York.

Recipient organizations included: Food Bank of Western New York, Friends of the Night People (Buffalo), Buffalo City Mission, St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy (Buffalo), Heart Love and Soul Food Pantry (Niagara Falls), North Tonawanda Inter-Church Food Pantry, Rural Ministries “Friendly Kitchen” (Dunkirk), Community Action (Salamanca), United Way of Orleans/Albion Christ Community Kitchen (Albion) and United Way of Genesee County.

“There are too many in our local community who worry where their next meal will come from,” said Kenneth Kujawa, regional manager for National Grid. “While the fight against hunger is year round, September’s Hunger Action Month provides an opportunity to bring the issue top of mind and encourage donations and assistance to help food banks and pantries prior to the holiday season. Every little bit helps and National Grid is proud to play a role in local hunger relief efforts.”

Last year, National Grid launched a companywide campaign to support Hunger Action Month. Regionally, a total of 343 pounds of food, enough to feed 285 families, was collected and donated to the Food Bank of Western New York.

'Summer Serenade' at Mercy Grove this Sunday will benefit United Way and GSO

By Howard B. Owens


Shade Zajac makes his official debut Sunday as the full-time conductor of the Genesee Symphony Orchestra in a special performance being sponsored by the United Way at Mercy Grove in Le Roy.

Zajac previously conducted the orchestra last season as part of an audition process for the musical director's position with the GSO and was appointed by the GSO board earlier this year.

Mercy Grove is Genesee County's newest event facility and will be a beautiful setting for this special performance.

Tickets are $75 per person and proceeds benefit the United Way and the Genesee Symphony Orchestra.

Party attire is suggested. The event starts at 3:30 p.m. There will be hors d'oeuvres, grazing stations and a cash bar. The GSO performance, "Summer Serenade," begins at 4:45.  

Tickets are available through GSO's website, or at Bank of Castile in Batavia and Le Roy, Roxy's Music, the United Way and GO ART!

Photos are from Monday's rehearsal.










GCC's United Way fund drive raked in more than $20,000

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Employees at Genesee Community College once again demonstrated their generous spirit with donations that went beyond expectations during the annual United Way fund drive. Pledges from GCC employees totaled more than $20,000!

Money raised during the two-week campaign provides valuable resources the United Way of Genesee County uses to make a demonstrable difference in solving and preventing the area's most critical social problems. Donors can designate funds to a particular group or agency, or allow it to be pooled with other donations to help member agencies such as All Babies Cherished, the Salvation Army and HomeCare and Hospice provide needed programs and assistance.

Students also had a hand in the generous donation with their annual Ducky Derby. In the month of March, the students' poolside fundraiser collected more than $2,000 by selling numbered rubber ducks that were placed in GCC's pool for a special "race" via a current created by members of the college's swim team, which helped bring the total raised by GCC to $20,102.

To learn more about the United Way of Genesee, visit:

Local United Way campaign exceeds goal

By Billie Owens

The United Way of Genesee County announced this week that it surpassed its goal for the 2011 campaign by 6 percent. The annual campaign, which ended May 15, raised $414,702. 

“We are so grateful to the people of Genesee County for their support and generosity," Executive Director Jamie Rada said. “We will be able to invest these resources into programs that do the most good to help our community.”

United Way annually supports 15 community agencies that provide emergency services and programs that are vital to the quality of life for Genesee County residents. A United Way donation ensures that the best resources remain available to those who are in of assistance.

In addition, the United Way sponsors the annual Day of Caring that draws more than 260 volunteers who help with projects that assist local not-for-profit agencies. The United Way also initiated and funds the successful backpack program in the City of Batavia schools.

United Way officials announced that the 2012 campaign chaircouple will be Jay and Ann Marie Gsell.

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