Konosioni and the Upstate Institute Give Back to the Local Community

Sarah Anderson

On Tuesday, December 1, Konosioni launched this year’s Madison County Gives program. Madison County Gives is a crowdfunding site used to raise money for nonprofit organizations that provide various services throughout Madison County. The site was created by both Konosioni and the Upstate Institute in the spring of 2015. To date, the site supports seven different campaigns and has funded $44,600.50.

The Upstate Institute contributes to Madison County Gives by providing the website organizers and managers, while Konosioni provides volunteers and conducts fundraising. The organization launched its new campaign and “reset” fundraising on December 1, 2015, and will continue with this program until December 1, 2016. This year, the launch date corresponded with “Giving Tuesday,” the Tuesday after Thanksgiving that marks an international movement of giving before the holiday season.

“Colgate is fortunate enough to have many benefits and advantages that our neighbors in this community are not able to have, and thus we wanted to undergo a new endeavor to bring one of [Konosioni’s] CORE tenants, ‘service,’ into the surrounding community,” Konosioni member senior Christopher Noda said.

The goal of the program is to raise $30,000, split between seven organizations, over the next year. Throughout the year, Konosioni members will also volunteer their time with a variety of these organizations. The Konosioni Senior Honor Society also has $14,000 of its own money to invest in these local organizations this year.

The site categorizes organizations by type, including Human Well-Being, Environment, Education, Culture and Community Vitality. Some of the organizations included are Community Bikes, which provides low-income residents of Madison County with a bike, the Fiver Children’s Foundation for underprivileged students and the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, which helps refugee families of the Utica area, a region with one of the highest per capita percentages of refugees. Organizations were selected by Konosioni members from a pool of applicants.

Konosioni was inspired to create Madison County Gives by the success of other crowdfunding sites.

“The Konosioni Class of 2015 was very interested in thinking strategically about how they invested in community projects, and when we began to work together during the summer of 2014, we looked for new ways to increase Konosioni’s philanthropic capacity. When I sent them a link to the crowdfunding site called Adirondack Gives that had just been created by the Adirondack Foundation, they saw an opportunity to do something similar in our community,” Project Director of the Upstate Institute Julie Dudrick said.

As Konosioni members change each year, the focus of Madison County Gives can change and grow as well.

“One change for this year is that this group of Konosioni students wanted to broaden the geographic reach of the crowdfunding site, so they allowed organizations who are working throughout the Upstate New York region to apply. This change allowed organizations like the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees and the Food Bank of Central New York to become eligible for assistance through the website,” Dudrick said.

Anyone interested in learning more about Madison County Gives can check out their website at www.madisoncountygives.org.