In honor of one of their former Board Presidents, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County announced today a new grant opportunity for local nonprofits: The Vickye James Blueprint Fund. Ms. James, who passed away in 2021, was a member of the Board of Directors of United Way for seven years and served as Board President from 2008-2010. She was one of only four female presidents during the 122-year history of United Way, and the only African American to serve as president to date. She was passionate about serving her community, empowering youth, and giving voice to historically marginalized people in the City of Jamestown. A well-respected leader in city government, the church, and the nonprofit sector, Ms. James was widely known for working for social justice and saw leadership development as a path to achieving it. One of her accomplishments during her tenure at United Way was to support the implementation of “Project Blueprint,” a multi-year initiative that helped promote volunteerism on nonprofit boards and committees—with a special focus on people of color—by guiding participants in acquiring skills necessary for board membership through training, exposure, and direction.
United Way of Southern Chautauqua County has created the Vickye James Blueprint Fund to honor her legacy. Grants from the fund will be made to organizations that are tax exempt, and priority will be given to programs and activities in the areas of youth engagement and development, Juneteenth event support, leadership development efforts focused on historically marginalized communities, poverty-reduction efforts, and support for grassroots or newly formed organizations. All requests for funding must fall within UWSCC’s four areas of Strategic Focus: Academic Success, Self Sufficiency, Work Readiness, and Health & Independence. Organizations interested in applying should first visit UWSCC’s website for additional information about how to apply, including deadlines and process, at uwayscc.org/vickye-james-blueprint-fund. For questions about the fund, contact Lindsey Goold, Director of Community Impact, at 716-483-1561 ext. 201 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.