Speiser Fund Announces Grant Awards

Syracuse (April 1, 2014) – The Allen Speiser Memorial Vocational Rehabilitation Fund of the Central New York Community Foundation awarded $4,367 to local nonprofit projects meeting a vocational need for individuals with disabilities.

Access to Independence was awarded $1,000 in support of this year’s Disability Employment Awareness Month program. Vocational awareness activities include an annual Employment Conference and Disability Mentoring Day.

CNY Works was awarded $930 to provide bus passes for 62 job seekers with disabilities. The vouchers provide a solution for job seekers in need of transportation to and from job interviews.

Connections of CNY was awarded $500 to purchase media and training manuals to be used as continued learning and development resources for staff providing employment opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities.

Enable/TLS received $1,437 to purchase computers and flash drives to assist with job searches, skill training, and resume preparation for job seeking clients with disabilities.

Learning Disabilities Association of CNY was awarded $500 to purchase program supplies, such as interview clothing, resume paper, and postage for thank you notes, to assist individuals with disabilities during job searches.

In 2001, the C.I.G.S. Foundation board of directors chose to direct assets to the Community Foundation to establish a fund to promote the vocational, educational, health and social needs of people with disabilities subject to social barriers. The fund is named in honor of Dr. Allen Speiser, the first director of Consolidated Industries, a sheltered workshop program for people with disabilities.

Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of a permanent charitable endowment for the betterment of the region.  The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of more than $143 million. It awarded $8.3 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations and since its inception has invested more than $120 million in the community. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and corporations through the administration of more than 600 funds. The organization also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen nonprofits that address the region’s most pressing challenges.

Grant Awarded to Child Hearing & Vision Impairment Program

iStock_000006573176SmallSyracuse (April 2, 2014) – The Central New York Community Foundation awarded a $33,000 grant to Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital to fund equipment and programs that assist children and teens suffering from hearing impairment and vision loss related to cancer treatment and developmental conditions.

According to Upstate, more than 80% of children and young adults diagnosed with cancer survive, however the majority of these survivors develop “late effect” medical problems related to their treatment. Complications include loss of hearing, vision issues and loss of mobility. The combination of radiation and chemotherapy treatment can cause high frequency hearing loss and damage to optic nerves, which can be devastating to young children, especially when they are learning to read and speak.

The grant will be used by Upstate’s Center for Development, Behavior and Genetics and the Dr. William J. Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders to subsidize hearing aids and glasses for children and teens with financial needs. In addition, funding will be used to purchase KidWalk 2 mobility systems, which help non-ambulatory children maintain a hands-free upright posture to allow them freedom of movement and work on muscle coordination and balance. The systems will be used during the Fit Families Group Visits program, which promotes sports participation for children with vision impairment or blindness.

The Center for Development, Behavior and Genetics specializes in providing comprehensive, innovative, family-centered services for infants, children, adolescents and young adults through 25 years of age who have a developmental disability. The Dr. William J. Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders outpatient clinic provides comprehensive treatment and care for children with, and survivors of, cancer and blood disorders.

This grant was funded by the following field-of-interest funds, administered by the Central New York Community Foundation:

J. Henry & Martha E. DeBoer Fund
J. Henry DeBoer was a trailblazer in the early world of furniture making, retailing, packing, moving and shipping. His family business, formed in 1910, produced and distributed 30 patented furniture display and handling accessories. Martha DeBoer was the company’s vice president. This charitable bequest was established in 1977 to help children suffering from vision problems, impaired hearing or kidney disease.

J. Daniel & Diane Pluff Fund
J. Daniel Pluff, a prominent local financial advisor, established this fund with his wife Diane to benefit a cause that was deeply personal to them – services for children with special needs. During her quest for answers to help her own children, Diane became very involved with helping other local families who were experiencing similar issues with their newborns. She was struck by the frequency of hearing loss in children. The couple established this fund to do what they can to help special needs children and their families with support, comfort and hope.

About the Central New York Community Foundation
Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of a permanent charitable endowment for the betterment of the region. The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of more than $143 million. It awarded $8.3 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations and since its inception has invested more than $120 million in the community. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and corporations through the administration of more than 600 funds. The organization also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen nonprofits that address the region’s most pressing challenges.

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As founders complete terms, Cayuga Community Fund is poised for continued impact

The following article, written by Cayuga Community Fund Leadership Council member Jill Fandrich, appeared in the Auburn Citizen on March 31, 2014 to commemorate the Fund’s sixth-anniversary. 

Jill Fandrich | Special to The Citizen

http://auburnpub.com/lifestyles/as-founders-complete-terms-cayuga-community-fund-is-poised-for/article_4ea60125-8a13-5706-8951-86877cc23017.html

The newest player on the field of local philanthropy is a mere six years old this spring, but the Cayuga Community Fund is already making a major impact on Auburn and Cayuga County.

Cayuga County has long been blessed with several incredibly generous private foundations, but the Cayuga Community Fund is different. A community foundation is made up of pooled moneys from many sources (donations and bequests, large and small) that is invested and used to benefit nonprofit organizations in a specific geographic area. Community foundations were the fastest growing form of philanthropy in the 1980s and 1990s, but it was not until 2008 that Cayuga County would begin efforts to establish a community foundation of its own.

Jerry Bisgrove planted the seed of the idea in 2007, around the same time the Stardust Foundation was becoming established in Auburn. A group of 25 community leaders met to vet the idea of establishing a community foundation in Cayuga County, and they decided there was enough interest to get started. To jump-start the effort, Stardust offered a $250,000 challenge grant, and the Allyn Foundation gave $57,000 for operational support. The Cayuga Community Fund was created as an affiliate fund of the long-established CNY Community Foundation, benefiting greatly from its organizational expertise. Peggy Ogden, CNYCF’s recently retired executive director, provided expert leadership and consultation to get the Cayuga Community Fund off the ground. A leadership council was established which included six founding members who are completing two complete terms this month: Steve Zabriskie, Dan Cuddy, Lisa Marsh Ryerson, Jack Hardy, Ken Entenmann and myself.

Steve Zabriskie says this about the fund’s beginning, “I’m glad there were people with the vision to think Cayuga might support such a fund. I’m grateful there were folks on the ground here who agreed with them and I’m glad to have been one of the organizers. And I’m glad the community proved us correct.”

The birth of the Cayuga Community Fund in 2008 coincided with the nation’s economic collapse, but surprisingly the fund met and exceeded its initial challenge goal. Due to this initial success, the Stardust Foundation issued a second challenge grant of $100,000 and the CNY Community Foundation added its challenge grant of $100,000. An additional grant of $60,000 was secured from the Allyn Foundation to support operations. The local efforts continued to meet the challenges, and the fund continued to grow.

While garnering the first half a million dollars in philanthropic assets was a crucial first step, it provided the means to begin an equally important community grant-making program. In 2010, the Cayuga Community Fund began to distribute grants to local not-for-profits. The majority of grants were quite modest, only a few thousand dollars each, but it was an important step in establishing the identity and the credibility of this fledgling community fund. By 2013, the fund has distributed nearly $150,000 in grants, and the 2014 spring grant round is currently in full swing.

Another major leap forward for the fund was when the Cayuga Health Association chose to invest its assets in the Cayuga Community Fund when the Cayuga Health Association ceased operations in 2011 after more than a century of supporting health and nutrition needs in Cayuga County. This “field of interest fund” continues the organization’s mission in perpetuity. A similar “field of interest fund” is the Dr. Henry Romano Fund, which helps children with physical, mental and developmental disabilities in memory of Auburn’s beloved pediatrician. These component funds demonstrate the flexibility of a community fund to support not only general grants, but also specific fields of interest, all depending on the wishes of the donors.

The leadership council personally investigates each grant application and decides the grants as a group. Grants support vital programs in a wide variety of areas — education, health, social services, the arts, civic and environmental concerns, as well as the preservation of historic resources in Cayuga County.

The leadership council is made up of individuals who are involved and invested in the community, but each grant round still amazes the council, seeing all the incredible work being done by the community’s nonprofits and their staff and volunteers. The council is also in a unique position to see opportunities for partnerships and cooperation. Steve Zabriskie said, “The members of the Leadership Council are so involved and aware in the community that it is possible to put one great proposal together with another, which might be only partially related, and achieve a remarkable overall result. The CCF has the ability to facilitate real synergies, where one plus one really does equal three.”

In six short years, the Cayuga Community Fund has come a long way. But its future is infinite. On behalf of the six of us who were on the leadership council as founding members, we thank the community for its support, its vision and its generosity. And we thank the current leadership council for continuing the effort.

CNY Philanthropy Center Receives LEED Certification

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Syracuse (March 31, 2014) – The Central New York Philanthropy Center, owned and operated by the Central New York Community Foundation, was recently awarded LEED® Certification. The Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) rating system was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to recognize the best-in-class building strategies and practices for the design, construction and operation of “green” buildings.

The effort toward LEED Certification made the Community Foundation’s headquarters, located at 431 East Fayette Street, a healthy work and meeting space that benefits the region’s nonprofit organizations.

“We took the time to make it a healthy place for the Community Foundation to not only work in but to have the public come in and enjoy,” said Wayne Mandel, LEED-AP Project Manager for C&S Companies.

Before its extensive makeover, the three-story Greek Revival building, built in 1917, served first as the headquarters of the private University Club followed by a series of banks. The CNY Philanthropy Center now serves as a hub for community collaboration, featuring  meeting rooms and a ballroom available for use by other nonprofits in the area.

WHY LEED CERTIFIED

LEED-Certification-LogoThe Philanthropy Center’s “green” practices and renovations include efficiencies in use of water, energy, materials, resources, and indoor environmental quality. Renovations to the center included:

  • Approximately 91% of the waste generated on site during renovation was recycled and diverted from landfills; that’s the equivalent of 63 fully loaded dump trucks full of debris!
  • The process of “daylight harvesting” (using natural lighting) to maintain indoor temperatures and reduce the use of electric lights
  • Energy-efficient window and door replacements styled to replicate the building’s original designs
  • Storm-water controls like pervious pavement and a rain garden filter water run-off.

“The Community Foundation’s mission to serve as a sustainable and lasting steward of our community’s philanthropic goals is represented by our permanent, welcoming and ‘green’ home,” said Peter Dunn, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. “By adaptively reusing an old building in an environmentally sensitive way, we model sustainability in an emerging center of the green economy while reaffirming the importance of a vibrant city center to our entire region.”

The program manager for the Philanthropy Center project was C&S Companies. King & King Architects created the design concept for the adaptive reuse of the building and VIP Structures served as design-builder.

About the CNY Philanthropy Center

The CNY Philanthropy Center was established by the Central New York Community Foundation in 2010. In addition to being headquartered in the building, the Community Foundation also utilizes the space for nonprofit, foundation and community leader collaboration. The building was originally constructed in 1917 for the private University Club of Syracuse. After  numerous “green” renovations, including the addition of a new side stair tower and atrium, the Philanthropy Center received LEED Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Philanthropy Center is also home to a number of nonprofit tenants including SAGE Upstate, Junior League of Syracuse, the Allyn Foundation, the Health Foundation of Western & Central New York and the Human Services Leadership Council.  For more information on using the Philanthropy Center, visit www.cnyphilanthropycenter.org.

About the Central New York Community Foundation

Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of a permanent charitable endowment for the betterment of the region.  The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of more than $143 million. It awarded $8.3 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations and since its inception has invested more than $120 million in the community. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and corporations through the administration of more than 600 funds. The organization also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen nonprofits that address the region’s most pressing challenges.

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Seymour School Unveils Student-Made Nutrition Mural

On Thursday, March 20, an excited collective of third-grade students from Seymour Dual Language Academy unveiled their work of art: a Nature Matching System mural. The students worked last fall to learn the connection between food color and nutrition value. They created superheroes with powers based on phytonutrients, made smoothies and painted panels that would be compiled into a mural displayed in their school cafeteria. This project was funded by a Community Foundation grant. Partners such as Syracuse University’s School of Architecture, Nojaim Brothers Super Market, Associate Professor Marion Wilson, 601 Tully Center, and New York City artist Tattfoo Tan all collaborated to teach and remind children to eat healthy every day.

Syracuse University Architecture student, Becky Cohen, poses with third-grade students from Seymour School's Nature Matching System Mural unveiling.

Syracuse University Architecture student, Becky Cohen, poses with third-grade students from Seymour School’s Nature Matching System Mural unveiling.

Third-grade students from Syracuse Dual Language Academy share stories with their school at the Nature Matching System project mural unveiling at Seymour Academy’s cafeteria.

Third-grade students from Syracuse Dual Language Academy share stories with their school at the Nature Matching System project mural unveiling at Seymour Academy’s cafeteria.

National Grid & Say Yes Syracuse Honor Marshall A. Nelson Urban Minority Scholarship Fund

Donate to the Marshall Nelson Fund

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – National Grid today announced a transfer of the company’s employee-funded Marshall A. Nelson Urban Minority Scholarship Fund to Say Yes Syracuse’s Say Yes to Education STEM Endowment Fund.

“Marshall Nelson is a wonderful example of the scholarship’s ideals of stewardship and community engagement,” said Melanie Littlejohn, National Grid regional executive of Central New York. “Marshall was a dedicated member of Niagara Mohawk for more than 26 years, a career that started in 1968. That time in American history saw many changes. Marshall courageously led our company through the challenging journey to diversity.”

The Marshall A. Nelson Urban Minority Scholarship Fund was established in May 1998 by the National Grid Minority Employees Advisory Council to honor Nelson’s pioneering efforts and community achievements. A Syracuse-native and early crusader for civil rights, Nelson’s bold and persistent efforts benefited an untold number of women and minorities, helping them to gain access to corporate America. Nelson’s sincere commitment to advancing the development of higher education programs for minority youths in the Syracuse urban community remains a legacy to this day.

MarshallwithScholar

Marshall Nelson joins Abdi Warsame, a Marshall Nelson Fund Scholar who is studying accounting at Syracuse University

To date, more than $25,000 has been awarded to 24 Syracuse City School District students to help them achieve post-secondary education.

“The Syracuse City School District is proud to partner with the Marshall Nelson Fund, National Grid and Say Yes to Education to offer scholarships to students interested in pursuing a degree in the STEM field,” said Sharon Contreras, Syracuse City School District superintendent. “The timing could not be better as SCSD has increased advanced course offerings and career pathways in STEM related areas. Through our efforts to provide high quality STEM programming and the generosity of sponsors who are providing post-secondary STEM scholarships, our students can pursue careers in exciting, growth fields.”

Transfer of the scholarship from National Grid to Say Yes Syracuse provides for a selection committee each year to choose one Marshall Nelson scholar. The Central New York Community Foundation will manage the program.

“It is truly an honor for Say Yes Syracuse to be associated with the Marshall Nelson Minority Scholarship Fund,” said Patrick Driscoll, local operations director of Say Yes Syracuse. “Mr. Nelson has been a tireless advocate for minority youth in the city of Syracuse for many years and Say Yes is proud to be associated with his inspiring work. This new relationship also reinforces our strong partnership with National Grid as well as our commitment to providing students in the city of Syracuse with the tools they need to ensure post-secondary success.”

To be considered a Marshall Nelson Scholar, students must plan to attend college to study in a STEM discipline and demonstrate strong community and scholastic achievements. The Marshall Nelson Fund will join a collection of endowed funds, managed and administered by the Central New Community Foundation, to support the Say Yes tuition promise for graduates of the Syracuse City School District. The fund will become part of a perpetual source of last dollar tuition aid for students wishing to pursue degrees in STEM fields with the hope Nelson’s legacy of scholarship and community service will live on and inspire future leaders.

“Since it was established, the Marshall A. Nelson Minority Scholarship Fund has reflected Marshall’s pioneering efforts and community achievements,” said Peter Dunn, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “The fund’s transition to support Say Yes Syracuse will help that legacy continue, providing urban youth with scholarship assistance that will help them succeed.”

Each scholarship provided by Say Yes Syracuse is focused on removing financial barriers to college for urban students, with preference given to those studying within the STEM discipline. National Grid and Say Yes believe every student should be given the same opportunity for post-secondary education success. Inclusion of the Marshall Nelson Fund in the Say Yes to Education STEM Endowment Fund will help to provide the organization with the means necessary to identify eligible students and provide them with financial aid to all SUNY and CUNY institutions, as well as access to more than 50 private colleges and universities.

National Grid supports community involvement and diversity with its corporate mission of valuing people through inclusion, which calls for continuous acknowledgment of diversity in celebration activities about each other and the communities it serves.

About the Central New York Community Foundation

Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of a permanent charitable endowment for the betterment of the region. The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of more than $143 million. It awarded $8.3 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations and since its inception has invested more than $120 million in the community. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and businesses through the administration of more than 600 funds. The organization also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen nonprofits that address the region’s most pressing challenges. For more information, visit http://www.cnycf.org.

About National Grid

National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE:NGG) is an electricity and gas company that connects consumers to energy sources through its networks. The company is at the heart of one of the greatest challenges facing our society – to create new, sustainable energy solutions for the future and developing an energy system that underpins economic prosperity in the 21st century. National Grid holds a vital position at the center of the energy system and it ‘joins everything up’.

In the northeast US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles. In Great Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country.

National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

For more information please visit our website: http://www.nationalgridus.com.

About Say Yes Syracuse
Say Yes Syracuse is a chapter of Say Yes to Education, Inc., a non-profit foundation committed to dramatically increasing high school and college graduation rates for urban students. Since 2008, Say Yes Syracuse and a community of caring, committed people have devoted time, money and resources to provide holistic, year-round support to our students throughout their K-12 years and beyond. To date, Say Yes Syracuse has helped more than 2,000 Syracuse high school graduates attend college. Say Yes Syracuse offers access to more than 150 colleges and universities to students who graduate from a high school in the city of Syracuse.

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Professor Conducts Physical Activity Workshops for Children with Visual Impairmentsimpa

Friday, March 21, 2014 By Jennifer Russo

The third workshop on March 30 will have an aquatics theme.

Luis Columna, associate professor of exercise science in the School of Education, is conducting a physical activity program titled “Physical Activity for Families of Children with Visual Impairments.”

This program is supported by the J. Henry & Martha E. DeBoer Fund at the Central New York Community Foundation and the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation, which provided funding for sports and recreation equipment for the families and children in the program.

Through the workshops, Columna is working with 18 families to develop and track the motor skills of children ages 4-18 with visual impairments. The workshops also provide families with the tools and skills necessary to continue motor development at home and school. Columna is assisted by a team of undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Education’s physical education and exercise science programs, as well as by adapted physical education and orientation and mobility experts from around Central New York.

Columna hopes to educate Syracuse University students, area teachers, children and their families through participation in this new and exciting program. “If our students get a chance to work with a child with visual impairments, they’ll have the skills now for their future professional practice,” Columna says.

“This is an innovative four-part program that includes a qualitative and a quantitative research component,” adds Columna. “I want to explore the effects of activity participation on the children and their parents. Also, I am interested to learn how this collaborative work influences the teachers helping with the workshops.”

Each workshop in this program has a different theme: the first, held on Nov. 24, 2013, was focused on orientation and mobility; the second (Feb. 9), on physical activity and motor development; the third (March 30), will have an aquatics focus; and the fourth (TBA), on sports. The fourth workshop will be outdoors, weather permitting, or indoors utilizing SU facilities.

The children are grouped by degree of visual impairment and age, which makes maneuvering through workshop activities developmentally appropriate and challenging. Each workshop includes a lesson for parents while their children play with other children with visual impairments. Then, the parents are provided guided practice for their new skills with their children from professionals and the students they mentor.

Between workshops, parents and children are encouraged to continue their participation at home using equipment donated by the program. Most of the equipment is sport-related, including balls, kneepads and goals.

Brittany Stagnitta is one of Columna’s teaching assistants, earning her master’s degree in teaching and curriculum with a focus on adapted physical education. “It has been a joy to see the kids go home happy with the equipment they receive at the end of the session. The children begin playing with it before they walk out the door,” she says.

Each child was assessed on their motor (e.g, running, catching, throwing) and aquatic skills at the beginning of the program. “We will perform this same assessment during the last session to check the children’s progress,” Stagnitta says.

Teachers will be interviewed on how competent they felt working with children with visual impairments, and parents will be interviewed on how competent they felt playing with their visually impaired children. Columna hopes that both parties will feel more confident and have greater self-efficacy. Results will be utilized for future programming for families and academic dissemination.

Columna designed the program to focus on the children living with visual impairments, and to provide support for families and teachers of these children. “It takes a lot of effort to orchestrate a program like this, but the rewards are priceless,” he says.

One parent commented that the benefits are worth the effort. “We have loved implementing the instruction methods demonstrated at your last session. We’ve been focusing on catching, and we’ve seen huge improvements in our son’s ability and his confidence. Your program will make a huge difference for the children and families if there is follow through on the family end,” she says.

Luis Columna

Luis Columna

Columna has long been an advocate for social justice and diversity issues. His scholarly work and service activities have focused on improving physical activity opportunities for children with disabilities, particularly in Hispanic families.

At the national level, Columna has served on numerous committees within several organizations, including the Social Justice and Cultural Diversity Committee for both the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, and the National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education. He is the first Hispanic to be the chair for the Adapted Physical Activity Council. Columna is a sought-after speaker and researcher.  He has given more than 50 workshops and presentations at state, national and international levels.

Columna says he is pleased to have the support of SU and such local organizations as the Central New York Community Foundation and the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation to provide programming in upstate New York.