431 East Fayette Street Suite 100 Syracuse, NY 13202 Tel: 315.422.9538

ATTENTION: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are canceling all external organizations’ meetings and events at the CNY Philanthropy Center until August 31, at which time we will reassess based on the most current information. Contact us for more information. 

News from the CNY Philanthropy Center

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CNY Philanthropy Center Celebrates 5-Year Anniversary
This month, the CNY Philanthropy Center marked its five-year anniversary. To celebrate, we are looking back at how this building developed into a place for our community to think, plan, meet and innovate. 
View video and read more

CNY Philanthropy Center Acquires Two New Tenants
August 11, 2014 - The Central New York Philanthropy Center announced today that it will soon add two new leaseholders to its roster of tenants. The Onondaga County Bar Association and the Central New York Land Trust will be housed on the building’s third floor beginning this fall.

Construction work will begin soon to outfit the office spaces to the tenant’s specific needs. Each are expected to move in by November.

The Onondaga County Bar Association (OCBA), which serves to foster professional growth and ethical practices in the field of law within Onondaga County, and its philanthropic arm, the Onondaga County Bar Association Foundation, is leaving its current space in the State Tower Building in part to take advantage of the Philanthropy Center’s common areas.

Thanks to a variety of meeting rooms available for use by all tenants at the Center, the OCBA is able to rent 2,000 fewer square feet than it does now, making it a cost-efficient move. The Center’s public conference rooms and ballroom will serve as host to many of the organization’s Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses, which are attended by local law practitioners.

“With its location across the street from Fayette Park, classic architecture, and modern renovations, the Philanthropy Center will provide the OCBA members a perfect home for organization events and activities,“ said Nicholas DeMartino, OCBA President.

The largely volunteer-led Central New York Land Trust will also be renting office space in the Center this fall. The Land Trust is a membership-supported organization that seeks to preserve and protect natural areas. Although the organization was founded in 1972, this office will be the first administrative “home“ for the Land Trust.

“The Philanthropy Center will be a great space for the Land Trust by helping to anchor it to the community, providing networking opportunities and raising broader awareness and support,“ said Meredith Perreault, Land Trust Executive Director.

The Philanthropy Center, an 18,000 square foot historic building in downtown Syracuse, was purchased and renovated by the Central New York Community Foundation in 2010 to serve as a local charitable hub. It currently houses five organizations in addition to the Community Foundation: Junior League of Syracuse, Sage Upstate, The Health Foundation of Western and Central New York, the Human Services Leadership Council and the Allyn Foundation.

“We are excited to have some of the region’s largest philanthropic foundations and important community organizations housed here,“ said Peter Dunn, Community Foundation President and CEO. “Their presence here encourages collaboration and open dialogue on Central New York’s unique resources and needs. We are proud to welcome our new tenants into this distinctive fold.“

The Philanthropy Center was recently awarded LEED Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in recognition of its “green“ renovation and operation practices including storm water controls and energy-efficient windows, doors and HVAC systems.

Tenant space is still available at the Philanthropy Center for eligible charitable organizations. Interested groups can contact the Community Foundation at info@cnycf.org or 315-422-9538.

CNY Philanthropy Center Receives LEED Certification
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
The 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.

Philanthropy Center Welcomes New Tenants
December 3, 2010 - We are excited to welcome three new tenants to the CNY Philanthropy Center. The combination of these leaseholders, comprised of some of our region’s largest philanthropic foundations and important community organizations, will encourage collaboration and open dialogue on Central New York’s unique resources and needs. We are proud to welcome the following organizations to the Center!

The Allyn Foundation - Founded in 1954, The Allyn Foundation is a private, family foundation that provides grants to charitable organizations primarily in Central New York. The Foundation’s funding priorities are a reflection of the generous legacy of William N. Allyn, founder of Welch Allyn, and his son, William G. Allyn. Through its work and the organizations it funds, the Foundation seeks to reflect its family value, “Be Always Kind and True.”

Health Foundation for Western & Central New York - The Health Foundation is committed to improving the health and health care of the region’s people and communities. The Foundation collaborates with community partners to strengthen the health care system, bolster community supports, promote education and advocacy, and encourage individual behavior change. With its headquarters office in Buffalo and two full-time staff in its Syracuse office, the Health Foundation maintains three core funding areas: (1) creating options for dignified living among the frail elders; (2) young children living in poverty; and (3) growing the capacity of community health care systems.

Junior League of Syracuse - The Junior League of Syracuse is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. The organization is a recognized leader for developing and supporting projects that provide programs for women, children and families.

CNY Philanthropy Center Now Open
November 29, 2010 - November was quite a month for the new Central New York Philanthropy Center, with a grand opening ceremony and beginning of our operations on site. The Center’s official opening marked the start of a new era for the Community Foundation - which has been promoting the importance and impact of local philanthropy since 1927.

Community Foundation staff and the Center’s tenants began to move in and utilize the new space even before all the boxes were unpacked. The building’s large ballroom and multiple meeting spaces provide the perfect community space for convening to further our mission and that of our partners.

The striking three-story Greek Revival building, built in 1917, received an extensive makeover over the past year to fit our needs and that of the Center’s tenants. A small, enclosed stair tower addition was built onto the building’s east side. This resulted in a more open floor plan for our office space, increasing useable square footage. A formal board room and a number of smaller meeting rooms will allow our staff to hold multiple meetings at one time. Outside, a new seating area, rain garden and a "green screen" feature at the east elevation of the new stair tower will present an inviting site for many years to come.

Technological improvements will also expand our capabilities. Projectors, screens and flat panel displays now allow for visual interaction in several of our meeting spaces. Sound and telecommunication systems with wireless capabilities were installed to maximize presentation capabilities.

The building features numerous sustainable design elements, including energy-efficient climate controls, increased ventilation, water efficient landscaping and energy-efficient windows and doors. Our new floor plan incorporates the strategic placement of windows, an open two-story atrium and lower cubicle walls to allow more natural light to penetrate the space. In addition, the original paved parking lot was replaced with a pervious paving system to mitigate storm water runoff.

Thanks in large part to these innovative "green" techniques, we are in the process of applying for LEED certification. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that provides third-party verification that a building has decreased its environmental impact across all metrics of design, construction and maintenance.

Throughout the renovation process, we valued the architectural integrity of this almost century-old building and strived to preserve and enhance its original character. Although most of original historical elements were removed in prior renovations before our purchase, some signature items still remained. The second-floor ballroom’s terrazzo floor was brought back to its original luster and the decorative woodwork above the front door underwent an extensive restoration.
The project’s design concept was created by King & King Architects. VIP Structures served as design builder and C&S Companies provided project management.

To learn more about the CNY Philanthropy Center and the long history of this building, visit www.cnyphilanthropycenter.org. Although renovations are now complete, the Center’s construction blog at www.cnycf.org/blog is still available for you to follow the renovations as they progressed over the past year.

C&S Companies Hired for Renovation Project
The Central New York Community Foundation has hired the C&S Companies of Syracuse as program managers for the renovation of the former University Club Building at 431 East Fayette Street in Syracuse. The project will include a roof replacement, new exterior windows, brickwork, renovation of the former ballroom space on the second floor and new first floor offices.

The Community Foundation will use the new building, dubbed the CNY Philanthropy Center, as a collaborative space that will bring together the community and a diverse group of not-for-profits who are dedicated to helping local neighborhoods. The building was originally constructed in 1917 for the private social club and has had a series of owners over the years. 

"C&S is excited to be a part of such an important community project," says Joseph Delaney, P.E., CCM, LEED, vice president at C&S. "Our goal is to take this historic building and restore its architectural importance and beauty, making it a true community landmark in downtown Syracuse."

C&S Companies were founded in Syracuse in 1968 and have grown into a national leader in the fields of construction management, engineering, environmental, and other professional services. With more than 350 staff in Syracuse, C&S is one of the most community-involved firms in the area. Other significant local projects include the redevelopment of the Syracuse Hancock International Airport terminal, construction management for the new sports complex at Onondaga Community College, and managing more than $950 million in construction projects at school districts and municipalities across New York state. 

As the largest local endowed philanthropic resource, the Community Foundation has been an integral member of the not-for-profit community since its founding in 1925. The organization has been in the Chimes Building on South Salina Street for the past 25 years, serving as a vital presence downtown. The new CNY Philanthropy Center will be a signature space for the organization and its partners, bringing its goal of being a civic leader and change agent to the community. The community space that will be available in the new building will bring people and groups together to review and address key community issues: to learn, share knowledge, find common ground and identify solutions.

CNY Community Foundation Purchases Historic Downtown Building
In March 2009, the Central New York Community Foundation closed on the purchase of our new home. The historic University Club Building located at 431 East Fayette Street, will serve as our permanent home and a hub for charitable collaboration.

When we move into the space in the fall of 2010, the CNY Philanthropy Center will provide ample and unique space for unprecedented collaboration between the Community Foundation, private foundations and nonprofit organizations as well as business and community leaders.

A Place for Convening
The Community Foundation plays a significant civic leadership role in our region. By connecting people, resources and ideas, we help improve the quality of life for those who live and work in our local area. Multiple spaces will be available to bring people and groups together to review and address community issues with the hopes of forging new partnerships and strengthening those that already exist.

The building's first floor will house our operations with a reception area, a mix of open and private offices and meeting rooms. The second floor will serve as a conference center, which will consist of a large, flexible event room with access to an outdoor veranda. These various accommodations will be used to hold donor and grantee meetings and events as well as provide for accessible community space. The unused portion of the building, primarily on the third floor and a portion of the second floor, will be offered to other charitable organizations that would like to rent the space.

Our new space will provide limitless possibilities to work together with a variety of people and organizations towards our common goal - to improve the quality of life for those who live and work in Central New York.

A Permanent Home
We believe that the purchase of a permanent home will be a useful tool in heightening our visibility while also demonstrating our long-term commitment to the community. Now our region's largest endowed philanthropic resource, we were created more than 80 years ago to exist in perpetuity as a solid, trusted and flexible source of charitable capital. We believe that the CNY Philanthropy Center will enhance the mission of the Community Foundation to expand the impact of regional philanthropy and be a force for positive change.

Investing in Downtown
Overlooking historic Fayette Park and situated on the Connective Corridor between Syracuse University and downtown Syracuse, the Philanthropy Center is positioned to be part of downtown's renaissance. With a purchase price of $1 million, we see the creation of the CNY Philanthropy Center as a vital investment in downtown.

"A strong central city means that the region will be much stronger over a sustained period of time," said Dunn. "The re-use of an underutilized historic building is important to the strength of downtown and the sustainability of our community."

A Long, Storied History
The University Club of Syracuse, a private social society, built and moved into the building in 1917. Tucked between the Hayden Hotel and the Wolcott Restaurant & Tea Room, the pillared and gracious building provided members with a new headquarters where they could meet in comfortable privacy. The building featured a bar, dining room, ballroom, library and dormitory rooms that could be used by visiting businessmen. In 1930, an addition added handball and squash courts, a gymnasium and a steam room.

In its prime, the University Club often held three or four special events a week. Events included prominent political or academic speakers, business networking get-togethers, stag parties, collegiate sports after-parties and many more. The Club drew its share of celebrity visitors over the years including Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Woodrow Wilson and Richard Nixon.

Facing a decline in membership and changing demographic trends, the club admitted women as full members for the first time in 1980. Facing financial troubles in 1986, the University Club reluctantly moved out of its home of over 70 years in favor of a smaller, modern location in Clinton Square. The Club ultimately dissolved in 1990.

After being owned briefly by Green & Seifter, Skaneateles Savings Bank purchased the building in December 1987. The first floor was converted into a full-service bank. Renovations of the building included the construction of a drive-up window, elevator and handicap accessibility. After renovations were complete, Skaneateles Savings Bank occupied half of the building and rented the rest to commercial clients. Most of the historic elements that characterized the interior of the building were removed during renovation to create new commercial space. The bank changed hands various times over the next twenty years.

In December 2007, M&T Bank took ownership of the building through its purchase of Partners Trust Bank. M&T consolidated many of its Onondaga County branches and soon put the University Club building up for sale.

Future Plans
Building renovations are expected to take about eighteen months to complete. The Community Foundation expects to move into the building in late 2010. Outdoor construction projects will include roof replacement, new exterior windows and brickwork. A reception area and Community Foundation offices will be constructed on the first floor. The second floor will be split between tenant and convening space. The entire third floor will be available to tenants. The basement, a former bank check clearing and call center, may also be used as future nonprofit tenant space.

Once construction gets underway this summer, the public will be able to follow the progress toward full renovation via a blog on a dedicated website www.cnyphilanthropycenter.org.

The Central New York Community Foundation connects the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to organizations working to enhance the quality of life of those who live and work in Central New York. The region's largest local philanthropic endowment, the Community Foundation is annually makes more than $5 million in grants and provides leadership support in the fields of arts and culture, community and economic development, education, environment, health and human services. Founded in 1927, the Community Foundation strives to inspire and expand philanthropy in Central New York.

To view historic and current photos of the building, read an extended building history and subscribe to a blog for construction updates, visit www.cnyphilanthropycenter.org.

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