From our Outgoing President & CEO: Our New Strategic Plan and a Fond Farewell

Peter Dunn, outgoing president & CEO, introduces our new strategic plan and remarks on his 15-years at the Community Foundation.

As I conclude 15 years leading the Community Foundation this month, I want to thank you again for your ongoing support of our work to move our community forward. I’m immensely proud of what we have been able to achieve together over the last 15 years.

The Community Foundation has emerged as a vibrant and resilient force for good in our region. We activated and grew the scale of our philanthropic resources and fostered collaboration with partners as a key leadership tool. We established the CNY Philanthropy Center as a hub for nonprofit, funder and community engagement. We supported Say Yes Syracuse to become an enduring resource for students and families hoping for a bright future. We lifted up key issues like childhood lead poisoning, support for organizations led by and serving the Black community, and early childhood literacy. We also deepened efforts to create accessible sources of community data and build the strength and capacity of local nonprofit partners.

Over the last year and a half, our staff and board conducted a review of our work and sought feedback on how we can deepen our impact. The result is a new five-year strategic plan that takes us through our 100th year of service to our region. I’m pleased to share some highlights of our plan, Leading for All:

  • A new and updated mission, vision and pledge that incorporates our goals to address issues of racial equity and systemic bias, while committing ourselves to more boldly lead around key strategic efforts.
  • Recommitting ourselves to key grantmaking programs and strategic initiatives while deepening our engagement with community members to co-create future efforts.
  • Fostering a community culture of philanthropy by intentionally inviting in donors from historically excluded communities to build support for the future needs of our region.
  • Enhancing our commitment to deploy our growing asset base in new ways that support local impact, such as through loans, loan guarantees and other community investments in collaboration with nonprofit partners.
  • Bolstering our relationships with students and families to help advance student success through our scholarship programs, including Say Yes Syracuse.
  • Using the power of our communications voice for good by telling stories and building awareness in ways that advance our strategic goals with our partners.

Our new plan comes at a time of sustained institutional growth, a transition in our executive leadership, ingrained and persistent community challenges and promising new regional opportunities. At the Community Foundation, we are Here for Good – an intentional double meaning that speaks both to our role in building permanent, endowed philanthropic resources for our community and our aspirations to actively foster a thriving and equitable Central New York.

Later this summer I will be moving to become the new CEO of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation in Massachusetts. I leave behind an extremely competent board, leadership team and staff who will carry forward our new strategic plan and mission with bold leadership, compassion and grace. I want to thank you for your confidence and faith in our work and our future. It has had a profound impact in what we have been able to accomplish since I took the helm in 2008 and will continue to do so as the baton is passed to the organization’s next leader. Thank you again for your support as we move towards our 100th year of service to the community.

View the strategic plan.

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