Fun Literacy Event Promotes Summer Learning

Clifford the Big Red Dog, cookies, games, craft projects and children’s books were enjoyed933
by all that attended the Literacy Regional Summer Learning Event on July 1, a collective effort to promote the importance of summer learning. This literacy-themed event held at Destiny USA was a definite hit. Hundreds of children and parents stopped by the booths to discuss opportunities for learning and fun activities to take part in during summer break.

A mass decline in children’s reading development can occur during summer vacation, while they are away from the classroom and not participating in formal literacy programs. This “summer literacy loss” prompted the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County, WCNY and many partners to host this event.

“We wanted to use this opportunity to continue to spread the word about summer learning,” said Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County Executive Director, Virginia Carmody. “As partners in the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, we recognize the importance of summer learning in boosting children’s reading proficiency.”

957

The event, which took place in the Canyon Area at Destiny USA during one of its Tykes Tuesdays, hosted a number of Literacy Coalitions and organizations that offer summer learning activities for children. The Community Foundation serves as a managing partner of the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County and our staff was happy to be on hand at the event to help speak to parents about local literacy programming.

Each organization had a table set up offering different literacy themed activities for families to enjoy, ranging from reading games and arts and crafts, to free books and summer reading materials. To top off an already great event, there were appearances from Clifford the Big Red Dog, and mascots from Great American Cookies, Billy Beez, and Wonderworks for the children to interact with.

938      949

Participating organizations included Literacy Coalition of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, ABC Cayuga, Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Lit’ for Life, Mid York Library System, Onondaga County Public Library, Clear Channel Communications, Peaceful Schools, Say Yes to Education, Syracuse City School District’s Parent University, Syracuse New Times & Family Times, The United Way of Central New York’s Success By 6, Child Care Solutions, and the Children’s Consortium.

“With the help of our community partners, our hope is that we have as many people as possible encouraging our children to read and to talk about the books they are reading,” said Carmody. “We believe in the power of summer learning opportunities to accelerate academic achievement, support healthy development and enrich the lives of our children.”

 

Community Foundation Funding Tornado Relief Efforts

Photo courtesy of Syracuse.com

July 15, 2014 (Smithfield, NY) – The Central New York Community Foundation is contributing $5,000 to the Town of Smithfield to support cleanup efforts following the tornado that ripped through the area on July 8 with wind speeds upwards of 135 mph. The grant will help support extensive cleanup efforts in the areas most affected. Damage extended for miles from the site that the EF2 tornado touched down, caused in part by the scattering debris from demolished homes.

“Our condolences go out to those severely impacted by this tragedy, especially those who lost family and friends,” said John Eberle, Vice President, Grants & Initiatives of the Community Foundation. “We are honored to join the hundreds of other individuals and organizations who have come together in support of the people of Smithfield.”

The grant will be awarded from the Ralph Myron Sayer & Sophrona Davis Sayer Endowment Fund, administered by the Community Foundation. Sophrona, a graduate of Madison High School, was employed as an accountant at Colgate University for more than 33 years. After Sophrona’s death in 2008, the fund was established with the remainder of her estate to benefit the efforts of nonprofit organizations in Madison County.

Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of permanent charitable endowments for the betterment of the region. The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of more than $172 million. It awarded $9.5 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations and since its inception has invested nearly $130 million in the community. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and businesses through the administration of nearly 650 funds. The organization also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen local nonprofits and address the region’s most pressing challenges.

 

##

Community Foundation Launches New Leadership Development Initiative

July 9, 2014 – The Central New York Community Foundation announced today the launch of a new professional development program for the benefit of local nonprofit executive leaders. The Marsellus Executive Development Program offers executive directors the opportunity to brush up on their leadership and work performance skills.

This new six-month initiative was designed by the Community Foundation, along with third-party consultant The Leading Element, to help nonprofit executives who are ready to achieve maximum impact in their organizations. The program focuses on four main strategies to assist the leaders in feeling more energized: a 360-degree assessment of each individual’s strengths and opportunities, individual coaching sessions, consultant-led peer learning sessions and group-led peer meetings.

“This is an opportunity for nonprofit leaders to elevate their thinking and connect with a strong group of peers,” said Peter Dunn, Community Foundation President and CEO. “This work will benefit their organizations, the constituents they serve and most importantly each of them personally.”

Executive Directors of organizations within Onondaga and Madison counties may apply. A time investment of approximately 8-10 hours per month is required to participate. Sessions will run from September through March. Up to eight individuals will be selected this year.

Interested individuals may visit cnycf.org/executive to read more details about the program and download an application. Applications must be submitted electronically by Friday, August 29, 2014.

About the Central New York Community Foundation

The Marsellus Executive Development Program is one of various initiatives spearheaded by the Community Foundation that focuses on preparing nonprofit leaders for the future.

  • The Staff Advancement Initiative awards grants for the professional development of front-line workers in nonprofit agencies by covering the costs of courses and training seminars that fall outside of their organization’s training budgets.
  • The John F. Marsellus Sabbatical program allows passionate nonprofit leaders to set aside time for reflection, learning and renewal.
  • The Leadership Classroom provides an interactive opportunity for individuals to learn advanced skills in neighborhood leadership.
  • Monthly Nonprofit Essentials Workshops (NEWS) offer a variety of sessions that help nonprofit workers capitalize on grantmaking, fund development, board governance, leadership and marketing techniques.

Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of permanent charitable endowments for the betterment of the region. The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of more than $172 million. It awarded $9.5 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations and since its inception has invested nearly $130 million in the community. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and businesses through the administration of nearly 650 funds. The organization also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen local nonprofits and address the region’s most pressing challenges.

##

New Play Area for Children Opens at Chestnut Hill Elementary

After Weeks of Construction, Chestnut Hill Elementary Opens New Play Area for Children

With the warm weather in full swing, it was the perfect time for students of Chestnut Hill Elementary School in Liverpool to enjoy their brand new play area. The playground’s opening was celebrated with a ribbon cutting on Wednesday, June 11. No more than two minutes later, children were running, jumping, climbing, laughing, testing, sliding, and exploring the new activity area.

DSCF2536 copy

“Those kids went right to work on that stuff!” said Dana Johnston, a project volunteer. “Before this, they literally had nothing they could climb on without getting splinters, and half the time the old playground was under water for days after a rain or snow.”

The Chestnut Hill Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) stepped up to begin raising money last year for the much needed playground. Chestnut Hill received grants from the Central New York Community Foundation and Lowe’s Toolbox for Education program to help purchase the equipment. The PTO hopes that the playground will result in the children being more receptive to learning in class because they will have play time during the day. Research has demonstrated that this is significant to intellectual development.

“These kids are MOVING, and loving every minute of it,” said Johnson. “Increasing their activity on the playground at this point in their lives can lead to a healthier lifestyle.”

DSCF2554 copy

The PTO is currently working on the second phase of the intermediate playground. They are hoping to be able to raise money quickly enough to install the second phase of the playground in time for school this fall.

“There were many happy faces yesterday at the ribbon cutting for phase 1 of the new playground and we are anxiously awaiting starting phase 2! ” said Johnson. “All of the children signed a card thanking CNYCF for their generous grant which helped to make this playground and the day possible!”

card 2 card 3

 

Grant Awarded to Symphoria for Education Program

A total of $355,568 awarded to nonprofits in Madison and Onondaga counties.

June 24, 2014 – The Central New York Community Foundation awarded an $18,000 grant to Symphoria to bring an innovative multi-media orchestra program to four local middle schools. This is the Community Foundation’s first Community Grant to Symphoria, which was established in 2013 to serve as the region’s new source for orchestral music entertainment and education.

symphoriaforfbReductions in public education funding have led to fewer opportunities for students to experience the arts through traditional field trips. In response to these dynamics, Symphoria is taking its talent on the road to host in-school presentations that connect students with live musical performance.

Symphoria’s Sound of Nature program includes multimedia elements and encourages audience participation, making it an engaging program to bring to the middle school audience. Students in the Chittenango, West Genesee, and Fabius-Pompey School Districts, along with a fourth district that is being identified, will experience this dynamic program.

Sound of Nature combines nature-inspired music with educational and interactive components tailored to the environment and climate of Central New York. The program provides teachers with classroom activities that expand upon elements witnessed during the performance. In addition, a video produced by SUNY ESF faculty members will explain to students the science connected to the nature-themed music they had just heard.

“A core value of the symphony is to demystify and enhance access to live orchestral music – especially for young people,” said Catherine Underhill, Symphoria Managing Director. “By creating the context for young people to have a positive experience with live orchestral music, we aim to illustrate the value of live performance and build the audience of the future, without which orchestras cannot survive.”

This project is an expanded version of a pilot program launched by Symphoria during the 2013 school year in the LaFayette and Liverpool school districts. This year’s program content and classroom activities were designed with input received from the music educators that participated previously.

Symphoria aims to engage and inspire the Central New York Community through orchestral and ensemble performances, as well as education and outreach initiatives. The orchestra is comprised of more than 50 musicians. By the completion of its first year, it had acquired approximately 1,300 season subscribers and more than 34,000 in overall attendance.

“Community outreach is a vital piece of Symphoria’s mission as it seeks to build new and lasting connections within the region,” said Peter Dunn, Community Foundation President and CEO. “We are happy to support this program to help share music and knowledge with our community’s youngest residents.”

The Community Foundation also awarded additional grants to programs in the fields of arts & culture, education, environment, health, human services and civic affairs:

American Farmland Trust received $15,000 to establish the Local Agriculture and Land Leadership Institute to educate local farm owners and community leaders on the land use and economic development issues that impact agriculture.

American Red Cross of Central New York received $20,000 to implement its Community Resilience Strategy, designed to increase civic participation in emergency preparedness.

Children’s Consortium received $39,459 to expand its Nurturing Parenting program, which assists drug-dependent parents with developing self-awareness, empathy, family communication and disciplinary alternatives.

Farmers Market Federation received $5,000 to establish the Mohawk Valley Farmers Market Managers Alliance, which will work to educate managers on market development, community relationship building, marketing skills and techniques for improving sales and profitability.

Frank H. Hiscock Legal Aid Society received $35,000 to purchase new computers as they install a web-based case and document management system that will centralize data pertaining to its free legal services cases.

Image Initiative received $5,000 to conduct strategic planning in an effort to identify opportunities to increase the organization’s capacity to mentor at-risk young women.

Learning Disabilities of CNY received $20,000 to improve client service by installing a new telephone system.

Matthew 25 Farm received $20,000 to purchase farm equipment that will increase its yield of fresh fruits and vegetables for distribution at Central New York food pantries and soup kitchens.

Onondaga Earth Corps received $20,500 to purchase a truck that will transport its expanded youth volunteer force to ongoing conservation activities, including tree planting and maintenance of green infrastructure sites.

PEACE, Inc. received $30,000 to purchase snowplow equipment for winter maintenance of its parking lots, frequented daily by those utilizing its childcare, mentoring, nutrition, financial, housing and family resource services.

Rescue Mission Alliance received $100,000 to expand its emergency shelter in Syracuse, addressing a growing need for overnight services that provide a safe and secure alternative for the homeless.

Skaneateles Library Association received $10,366 toward a kiosk that will be part of a satellite station at the Skaneateles YMCA, which will allow library card holders to pick up and drop off books from the Onondaga County Public Library catalogue.

Town of DeRuyter received $5,000 to install a gazebo to be used for community events at the Genevieve D. Stanley Civic Center.

Westcott Community Center received $12,243 to upgrade its computer lab, which is utilized by its after-school, tutoring, adult learning, literacy and senior training programs.

These grants were funded by the Community Foundation’s unrestricted and field-of-interest funds.

About the Central New York Community Foundation

Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of permanent charitable endowments for the betterment of the region.  The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of more than $172 million. It awarded $9.5 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations and since its inception has invested nearly $130 million in the community. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and businesses through the administration of nearly 650 funds. The organization also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen local nonprofits and address the region’s most pressing challenges.

##

TLC Graduates Five Groups from Leadership Training Program

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


June 23, 2014 – On Saturday, June 14, leaders from five local grassroots and nonprofit organizations celebrated their completion of The Leadership Classroom (TLC). TLC is an eight-month leadership training initiative offered by the Central New York Community Foundation. Participants are community and nonprofit representatives who want to learn advanced leadership skills alongside other neighborhood leaders in an interactive setting. After participating in monthly training sessions, each group receives a $3,500 grant to implement a community project that is proposed and planned during their training.

One of this year’s graduates, The Bhutanese Community in Syracuse Inc. (BCS), is an active cultural organization on the Northside of Syracuse. BCS offers cultural, family and youth development activities for resettled Bhutanese refugees.

Participants from BCS were among the youngest leaders to participate in TLC. They entered the program seeking ways to help other refugees engage as citizens within the greater Syracuse community. BCS team leader, Praja Shapkota, says it is important for refugees and new settlers to not be limited by culture or language.

“Most of our youth were brought up in refugee camps and what they have known is nothing much outside of Nepal,” said Praja. “Without exposure, the mind doesn’t open up that easily so they need to go out and meet with people to understand how others feel and then understand how to work within the community.”

To do this, BCS will use their TLC grant to pilot an English-as-Second-Language (ESL) Citizenship class to better prepare Bhutanese refugees for their citizenship test.

The Butternut Community Police Center enables young people to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens. They will use their grant to refurbish a trailer that will house and transport camping equipment for youth who attend the Center.

The Somali-Bantu Community Association of Onondaga County provides assistance, training and advocacy for resettled refugees. They will use their grant to design an inter-community soccer tournament to foster healthy engagement for the various cultural communities in and around Pioneer Homes.

T.E.A.M R.O.C.K is a Syracuse-based inner-city mentoring program for young girls. T.E.A.M R.O.C.K will use their grant funds to take young girls on a camping adventure which includes team building transformative activities and restricts social media use.

Reading 4 ME is a new group working to cultivate a culture and appreciation for reading in youth. Reading 4 ME will host a literary arts competition targeting youth on the South and Southwest sides of Syracuse.

“The Community Foundation is proud to collaborate with and support these inspiring community leaders who are working every day to improve their neighborhoods and our community,” said Olive Sephuma, Director of Community Grantmaking at the Community Foundation. “We congratulate them on their graduation and welcome them to our growing network of TLC alumni.”

The Leadership Classroom is an initiative of the Central New York Community Foundation. Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of permanent charitable endowments for the betterment of the region.  The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of more than $172 million. It awarded $9.5 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations and since its inception has invested nearly $130 million in the community. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and businesses through the administration of nearly 650 funds. The organization also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen local nonprofits and address the region’s most pressing challenges. For more information, visit www.cnycf.org.

FIVERS COMMITTED TO STUDENT SUCCESS IN NYC AND CNY

Camp Fiver General

The Fiver Children’s Foundation originated as Camp Fiver summer camp in Hamilton, New York in 1998. The camp, set on a 129-acre refuge, began as a character building youth development program for economically disadvantaged children in New York City. The Camp eventually expanded into a year-round youth development program committed to eliminating the effects of poverty in the lives of disadvantaged children. Participants commit to 10 years between the ages of 8 and 18, or until graduation from high school.

With Camp Fiver not too far from founder Tom Tucker’s Alma Mater at Colgate University, the organization identified that youth near their summer base in Madison County had less access to transportation, services and programs than young people in New York City.

Seeing the challenges young people faced in in both locations, Fiver sought the assistance of a grant from the Central New York Community Foundation to meet their Upstate need.

“There is just such a need here. It would be unfair to say we’re going to have this beautiful piece of property and this great program but not support the community in which we’re living in and running our program,” said Deputy Executive Director Mary Dinske.

The Fivers are now helping 85 youth in the Madison County area better engage in school and make ethical and healthy decisions toward a career and life after high school. The Upstate Program Supervisor, Terry Yardley, works closely with youth in the CNY region by making school visitations, planning family fall festivals and barbecues and conducting health and college access workshops. Because Central New York youth participate in Camp Fiver along with downstate program participants, they form very lasting and impactful relationships.

“The first few years are sometimes a challenge because their lifestyles are so different but those hurdles are worth it. In the end, the friendships, the understanding and the mutual respect they have for each other is really amazing,” said Mary Dinske.

Fiver aims to serve all children within a family and also provides a network of support for parents. They continue to form relationships with Central New York agencies and hope to do more with their Central New York population.