Strategic Initiatives

Realizing that responsive grant funding alone cannot address our community’s complex challenges, our Strategic Initiatives focus on one common goal — to make a demonstrable impact on our community.

Woman holding canvas bagKnowing that an accurate census count is critical to ensuring adequate funding and representation for Central New York, we worked with community partners to encourage a complete 2020 Census count in our region. We provided funding and joined in statewide public policy advocacy in support of a complete census count.

The Early Childhood Alliance is a collaboration that promotes a holistic approach to addressing the general needs of children in Onondaga County. We provide grant, management and facilitation support to the ECA.

Greater Syracuse HOPE is a collaborative effort to help address and decrease poverty in CNY. We provided administrative and capacity support to HOPE this past year.

The Human Service Leadership Council is comprised of human service agencies working together to identify opportunities and provide response to basic human needs. We provide grant, management and facilitation support to HSLC.

Blue HouseOur LeadSafeCNY initiative is a multi-year commitment to help decrease the region’s alarming childhood lead poisoning rates through funding, impact investing, collaboration and public policy. This past year, we worked with the City of Syracuse to support and expand its housing code enforcement efforts. We awarded $233,125 in grants to support lead-free housing construction, existing home renovations, community outreach and training and workforce development. So far, 736 windows and 101 doors have been replaced in rental units to eliminate lead dust. In addition, 112 safe and affordable rental units have been constructed or renovated in target neighborhoods.

Say Yes Syracuse provides opportunities and scholarships to remove financial barriers for Syracuse City School District students to attend college. Say Yes Syracuse is now independently governed and administered by the Community Foundation.

Local community groups provide career pathways to low-income individuals while fulfilling staffing needs of local employers through Work Train. We provide funding for this program.


The Community Foundation has for many decades been a leading sponsor of initiatives to strengthen our region’s nonprofit sector.

BoardSTRONG connects talented Central New York individuals with nonprofit board opportunities and provides online resources for nonprofit board members and leaders. We provide funding for this program.

LeadUP CNY is a professional and personal development program for the next generation of nonprofit leaders. Thirteen participants were admitted this year.

The Marsellus Executive Development Program is an individualized leadership development opportunity for executive directors of organizations within Onondaga or Madison counties. Thirty-four individuals have graduated since the program’s inception.

The Nonprofit Essentials Workshop Series (NEWS) is a training series designed for nonprofit professionals to gain knowledge on a variety of tools
for professional and organizational development.

Nourishing Tomorrow’s Leaders is an eight-week training program focused on increasing the pool of diverse nonprofit board members in our community. We assist with program development, funding and implementation.

Our Performance Management Learning Community (PMLC) is a funding opportunity for nonprofit organizations to improve their ability to track data and measure performance outcomes. This year, we provided $128,750 in grant support to participating organizations.

Our Staff Advancement Initiative supports the professional development of non-management or entry-level management nonprofit staff members. Since inception, 720 participants have completed the program.

The Leadership Classroom (TLC) helps residents or grassroots groups learn practical skills that make stronger, more effective neighborhood and grassroots leaders.


Building on our commitment to collect and analyze local data, as well as the experience we have accumulated over more than 90 years of service to our region, we serve as a resource to residents seeking insights on social and community issues.

Man pointing to projector screenThe Community Data Group is comprised of nonprofit and government sector members who gather to share ideas and data and improve measuring techniques to effectively move our community forward.

CNY Vitals & CNY Vitals Pro are state of the community websites that provide a common source of data and interactive visualizations on critical topics that affect the health and progress of our region.