Upstate Caring Partners Foundation

Our Mission

Upstate Caring Partners Foundation raises funds and provides sources of funding for the benefit of individuals with disabilities, including intellectual and other developmental disabilities as well as other mental and physical impairments. Funds are solicited from both private and public sources to be used for the benefit of Upstate Cerebral Palsy, Inc. DBA Upstate Caring Partners, or individuals served by the agency, to foster and improve the general welfare of individuals with special needs within the capabilities of the agency.

Upstate Caring Partners Foundation is able to solicit, accept, acknowledge, hold, invest, reinvest and administer gifts, grants, bequests, contributions, benefits of trusts, endowments and property and to use, disburse or pay the income of principal thereof for the benefit of Upstate Caring Partners programs and services. No funds are used for the financial profit of any private person.

Six Focus Areas

Asian mother and child learning with digital tablet indoor - Day

Early Intervention

Early Intervention services are for infants and young children who have exhibited a delay in one or more areas that are essential for a child’s future development. Our professional team, including service coordinators, special education teachers, physical and occupational therapists, speech pathologists and medical personnel, work with families to develop a unique program to meet their child’s specific needs.


Happy. Relaxed. Engaged. (H.R.E.)

Upstate Caring Partners has adopted in its Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) programs a culture shift toward “Happy. Relaxed. Engaged.” that creates a more compassionate environment where we aim to inspire dignity, promote independence and encourage happiness among the people we support, their families and our staff. In order to transform this vision into a reality, Upstate Caring Partners has an experienced and dynamic team of clinical practitioners who are developing a therapeutic environment around listening and learning, utilizing innovative evidence-based practices, which subsequently promotes skill sets of communication, toleration and cooperation for both individuals with IDD as well as the people who support them.


Upstate Caring Partners has invested in building an applied clinical research program that focuses on evidence-based practices that positively impact individuals with profound autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities. With a Director of Applied Research, as well as five PhD level clinicians and over 10 Board Certified Behavioral Analysts working in our programs, Upstate Caring Partners is among the nationally recognized agencies contributing to, as well as comprehensively applying, best practices for the benefit of this population. This immerses Upstate Caring Partners in a progressively evolving and promising field, as well as directly benefits the people we support in our programs.


Community Health & Behavioral Services

Upstate Caring Partners Behavioral Health and Substance Use Disorder programs, under the umbrella of Community Health and Behavioral Services, is one of the largest providers in the region, offering comprehensive assistance to help children, adolescents and adults with a variety of health issues. It is an integral component of the region’s healthcare network offering counseling, therapy, care navigation, crisis services, housing support and other services for over 6,000 unique individuals each year, many of whom face a myriad of medical, behavioral, substance use and social challenges. The services prioritize individualized treatment for underserved populations in the region, and provide services at our own clinic sites as well as in partnership with several school districts at their campuses.

Employment/Vocational Services

The Upstate Employment Associate program has been providing employment services for individuals of all abilities in the Mohawk Valley Region for over 20 years. Upstate Caring Partners has built strong partnerships with community businesses and organizations, supporting hundreds of active job placements and internships within the Oneida, Herkimer, Madison, and Lewis County areas.

Pieces of HeART

Pieces of HeART

Pieces of HeART is a creative art expression program of Upstate Caring Partners, featuring artistic works in a variety of media. Multitalented adult artists, ranging in age and ability, create art with a common goal of self-expression. Creative expression provides artists an outlet to present their thoughts and feelings and improves overall well-being.

Programs & Services Booklet for People with IDD

Upstate Caring Partners programs and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities all stand on the foundational principle of achieving a higher quality of life through the pursuit of lifelong learning and the essential skills that support meaningful participation in one’s own interests as well as authentic connections to their community. From one end of the lifespan, with services like Early Intervention and preschool, through school age education to our programs for adults, UCP strongly believes that learning and growth should be supported and nurtured throughout someone’s life.

Meet The Team

Dan Crowell

Dan Crowell, Executive Director of Upstate Caring Partners Foundation, initially joined the UCP team in 2021 as Chief Information Officer and Foundation Director. His professional background encompasses positions in the biotechnology, manufacturing and government sectors with additional background in information technology, healthcare, international finance and economic development.

Dan is a combat veteran, serving as an infantryman, paratrooper and civil affairs and special operations officer, honorably discharged from the United States Army at the rank of Major in 2021 after having served 10 years on active and reserve duty.

Dan earned his Masters of Science in Economics from the London School of Economics, London, U.K. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 1998 to research economic development in rural India, resulting in his 2004 book, “The SEWA Movement and Rural Development” which remains in print with Sage Publications and details transformative micro-finance and trade union driven entrepreneurship. He subsequently worked for the World Bank’s “social venture capital” initiative before moving back to the United States and serving two terms as Otsego County Treasurer and then as a CFO in the biotech sector.

Serving as Executive Director for Upstate Caring Partners Foundation synthesizes the commitment Dan has made throughout his career to serve those in need, promote and advance human achievement and participate in research that enhances and improves the quality of life of individuals and communities.

Dan and his wife Dee have two daughters and a son. He spends his spare time hiking, training for triathlons, playing soccer, basketball and golf and also enjoys reading about history.

Melanie Sarafin

Melanie Sarafin serves as Director of Donor Development for Upstate Caring Partners Foundation. She began her career at UCP in 1995 at the Barneveld Preschool and has worked in positions of progressive responsibility, notably supporting the former President and CEO, Louis B. Tehan, for over 20 years and most recently as the Director of Affiliate Relations. Melanie’s current role affords her the opportunity to focus on furthering the mission of Upstate Caring Partners by connecting donors and the community as a whole to the important programs and services offered by the agency.

Melanie is a Licensed NYS Notary, a graduate of Leadership Mohawk Valley, serves as an Ambassador with the Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce and has received her Development Director Certification through Career Learning Nonprofits.

Melanie enjoys spending time with her family, being at her camp at the St. Lawrence River, reading and is a committed gym member.


Upstate Caring Partners Foundation offers a variety of ways for you to show support for the agency’s impactful services. Feel free to contact our Donor Development Office.

Make a gift in memory of a loved one or in honor of a special occasion (birthday, retirement, accomplishment).

Donate to fund specific projects, programs, meet fundraising goals, and support general operations.

Long-term plans for giving can be made to benefit agency programs and services for years to come.

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