UTICA — The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties has announced a commitment of $1 million to the ICAN Family Resource Center, which will also house a new, state-of-the-art Children’s Museum.
Founded in 1997, ICAN is a home and community-based network that provides individualized and non-traditional services and care to the highest risk individuals and families with social, emotional, mental health and behavioral challenges. ICAN’s team of over 170 staff consisting of care managers, service coordinators, social workers, support specialists, clinical staff and an extensive Independent Practice Association (IPA) of more than 250 providers who work together to provide a platform for support, family reunification and preservation to over 1,900 individuals and families each day.
Before receiving board approval of the multi-year community investment, the Community Foundation worked with ICAN from the beginning of the project—and as a longtime supporter of the Utica Children’s Museum, working to bring ICAN and the museum organization together in a collaborative model. The continued partnership of the two organizations will ensure that the new project not only comes to fruition but will also create one of the largest and most significant resources for children and families in this region, according to an announcement by the Community Foundation.
“A project of this magnitude provides equitable opportunity not only for the agencies involved, but for so much more—our neighborhoods, our families and our region’s economy”, said Alicia Dicks, Community Foundation president/CEO. “We initiated and continue to support the ICAN-Children’s Museum collaboration because the work they do for children and families is central to the Community Foundation’s vision: a vibrant region with opportunity for all.”
The $1 million gift provides a foundation for the overall project total of $14 million, which includes site improvements at the 106 Memorial Parkway facility and parking lot, a new roof and elevator, ICAN and museum space renovations, museum exhibit design and fabrication and the addition of a rotunda—a signature architectural element on the south side of the building.
“This promises to be a destination where all families can meet, interact, and spend time together—those with the highest need, and those just in need of quality time. Generations to come will benefit long into the future because of this transformational project,” said ICAN CEO/Executive Director Steve Bulger. “We can’t thank the Community Foundation enough for being an amazing catalyst and partner for us and for continuing to support children, families and quality of life in our region.”
Family Resource Center
The Family Resource Center will unite two regional assets: ICAN’s youth and family programs and the Utica Children’s Museum. A hub for learning, wellness, connectedness and fun, it will be the first time that a children’s museum is co-located and partnered with a human services non-profit. Groundbreaking for the project is scheduled for this summer. ICAN is scheduled to open the Family Resource Center for services in the summer of 2022 while the Children’s Museum is scheduled to open at the end of 2023.
ICAN programs such as Supervised Visitation, Healthy Families and Nurturing Parenting will be housed at the new Family Resource Center, all of which will utilize the museum space for family bonding, confidence building and ultimately for making families stronger, officials said, adding that some ICAN administrative departments will also be housed at the new location.
The new Children’s Museum will be located on the second floor and in the rotunda of the Family Resource Center. It will provide a space and be a catalyst for post-pandemic healing for all and will offer needed socialization, connection and joy as well as hands-on educational experiences aligned with school curricula to help students get back on track after an extended loss of learning.
Close to the Parkway Recreational Center, Val Bialas Ski Center, Utica Zoo and the John S. Dyson New York Energy Zone, the museum will enhance this family-friendly district of the city, according to the announcement.
Regional and national experts are assisting with the project from architecture and conceptualization to creation of museum exhibits and ensuring Universal Design principles are integrated, officials added.