The Vickye James Blueprint Fund

Vickey James

The Vickye James “Blueprint” Fund

Vickye James 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 ever serve as president. 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, she 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.

In honor of her legacy, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County has created the Vickye James Blueprint Fund.

Funding Focus:

Funds will provide support and supplement other funding. All requests for funding must fall within UWSCC’s four areas of Strategic Focus:

  • Academic Success
  • Self Sufficiency
  • Work Readiness
  • Health & Independence

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.


Grants must be made to organizations (not individuals) that are tax exempt (501c3 organizations are preferred, but faith-based organization or community groups with a fiscal agent are also eligible). Priority will be given to organizations led by people of color or whose focus is on serving students of color.


A letter of interest should be submitted to United Way of Southern Chautauqua County with an attached project budget. The Community Impact and Advocacy committees of the United Way Board will review requests and make recommendations to the Board for approval. There are no specific deadlines for applications.


Grants of up to $1,000 may be requested.