When Freddie Mercury penned the lyrics to Queen’s “We Are the Champions,” he was thinking about English football. Not just the players, but the crowd, too. His goal was to write something that would encourage widespread unification and participation. Now a staple at sporting events and competitions worldwide, Queen’s song about overcoming challenges to win hard-fought victories clearly resonates. Queen’s much-fabled performance of “We Are the Champions” during the 1985 Live Aid concert for famine relief at Wembley Stadium in London secured the song’s legacy as an anthem, not just for sportsmanship, but for advocacy, too.

Behind every champion is a team of people in their corner, cheering them on, supporting their efforts and sharing in their dreams. The same is true of the leaders, advocates and community members fighting to make positive changes in our corner of the world. When our community thrives, we all can thrive.

This year’s annual report celebrates changemakers across Central New York and all who support them. Its pages are filled with the stories of champions in the areas of health, equity, justice, basic needs, literacy, advocacy and the arts. We applaud their efforts and join them in working toward lasting improvements at home, in offices and classrooms, on stages and playgrounds, and at all places we gather together to heal, pray, learn, grow, live and play.

In 1927, a small group of civic champions created the Community Foundation to serve as a stable source of support for our community during uncertain times. Ninety-five years later, we are still going strong: striving to meet the region’s ever-changing needs and opportunities with both support and leadership.

Today and tomorrow, we will be an agent of change to support and cheer on our community’s champions, perhaps with our own not-quite-as-catchy anthem: “We pledge to be an enduring and compassionate partner in philanthropy, investing in the people and potential of Central New York. We commit to collaborative relationships with the individuals and organizations that are the heartbeat of our region. We support our fellow community members in becoming authors of opportunity and agents of change. We open our doors to everyone and anyone who aspires to build upon the contributions of the past and present to shape our community’s shared future.”