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One morning in 2011, Doug Paul struggled to speak. His wife, Leesa, thought he was joking before reality hit. Leesa called 911 and their lives changed forever. Read More




When lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning/queer (LGBTQ) youth in Central New York seek housing or shelter, they often face challenges that seem insurmountable. Read More




On a cold and rainy October night in 1835, hundreds of Central New York residents, determined to end slavery in the United States, reached Peterboro, New York after a long and taxing voyage. Read More


animal abc's

On a sunny Saturday morning in the middle of June, it is somewhat unexpected to see a large crowd of children willingly gathered at the local library. Read More



The American Red Cross is best known for providing basic need support during large-scale natural disasters; however, the vast majority of the nearly 64,000 disasters they respond to annually are actually home fires. Read More


ARISE at the Farm

Like most children, Anna Craven’s five-year-old daughter, Calli, enjoys playing outdoors with her four siblings in the summer months. However being challenged with mobility restrictions from cerebral palsy and epilepsy can make it difficult for Calli to participate in activities at standard playgrounds. Read More


A great sense of neighborhood pride spread across the Hawley-Green community at an ArtRage photography reception last spring. Read More

Aurora of Central New York

Unfamiliar transportation, customs, cultures and languages are a few of the common barriers refugees face upon relocating to a new country. Human services organizations provide basic support in these areas, but some are facing another hurdle that makes it even more difficult to navigate through those adjustments: being deaf.  Read More

Boys & girls clubs of syracuse

Fifteen year-old O’sheonia Carter lives on the Southside of Syracuse with her mother and extended family. Until recently, she hadn’t thought much about her options for a future career. Read More


Joe Horan, executive director of the Building Men program, fondly recalls working alongside Dave Kilpatrick while interfacing with the Community Foundation. Read More


When five members of the 100 Black Men of Syracuse were accepted into the Community Foundation’s The Leadership Classroom (TLC), they were a little skeptical at first. Read More
Saturday Academy: Watch Video

The CanTeen

The CanTeen, a teen center and afterschool program serving about 400 youth a year, has a history as young and full of transition as its teens. Read More


Catholic Charities of Onondaga County

Catholic Charities of Onondaga County (CCOC) is dedicated to the core belief that all people have infinite value and are worthy of dignity, respect and compassion. Read More


Child Care Solutions

Providing preschool children with research-based early learning programs, healthy environments in which to develop, and nurturing care gives them the best opportunity to flourish and succeed in life. Read More

Clear Path for Veterans

Since 2011, more than 2.3 million American men and women have been deployed to combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, some more than once. Read More


Community Action Partnership of Madison county (cap)

On any given day, hundreds of people may cross the threshold of the Community Action Partnership of Madison County (CAP) in Canastota; but it wasn’t always easy. Read More


Earlville library

Library director Shari Taylor is gearing up for story time by placing laminated lily pads throughout the newly renovated child and teen space at Earlville Free Library. Today’s story is all about frogs. Read More


Earlville Opera House

A tattered page of the nineteenth century diary of a young Chenango County woman read, “Town meeting day. Voted in the new Opera House. First time it has been used.” Read More


Earlville Opera House

The Earlville Opera House, located in southern Madison County, offers a unique year-round performance calendar encompassing everything from blue grass to Celtic, as well as specialized arts-based programming for children. Read More

Family literacy project

Within the walls of Jamesville Correctional Facility, inmates participating in the Family Literacy Project are happily reading books to their children and helping them with learning activities they made themselves. Read More



The Food Bank of Central New York is helping the food-insecure of our region by distributing much-needed food to pantries and community programs. Watch Video


The Free Center

Schoolchildren visiting the Fenner Renewable Energy Education Center (Free Center) often explore the 2-acre site seeking answers to questions on a scavenger hunt list: Read More


While growing up in the Edenwald Projects in the Bronx, Hasan Stephens’ life lessons came earlier than expected. His neighborhood was home to several street gangs, persistent violence and poverty. And while the option to sell drugs or steal for money often tempted Stephens, his mentors and family members made sure that he stayed the course and remained true to himself. Read More


Since its establishment, Greater Syracuse Works (GSW) has helped leverage more than $10 million in state and federal grants to help community agencies provide employment and training opportunities for low-income residents in the Syracuse areaRead More

green & healthy homes greater syracuse

When Pearl Baldwin purchased her home in Syracuse, she looked forward to a safe, comfortable place for her and her grandson. She never imagined that her new home could pose a risk to their lives. Read More

Syracuse Habitat for Humanity

After eight years of duty in the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan, Felica Plunkett completed her service to the United States Navy but soon found that she and her three children had no home to live.“Although at the time it felt like a tragedy, today I am grateful that it happened,” she said. Read More

Hamilton food cupboard

Each year hundreds of baskets of fresh produce are distributed to Madison County schools, community centers and residences. It all starts with the dedicated Hamilton Food Cupboard (HFC) volunteers who grew close to 2,000 plants and seedlings last year.  Read More


Helping Hounds Dog Rescue

The canines at Helping Hounds Dog Rescue are always happy to wag their tails for the volunteers who stop by to rub their bellies and take them for a romp in the grass. Read More


Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection

When students enter the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection (HW-SC) program, Regional Executive Director Wayne O’Connor says many dream of becoming NBA players or cosmetologists. Read More


image initiative

Nicole Watkins is always up for a challenge. It should come as no surprise, then, that when her Syracuse university professor presented her class with the option to either take the final exam or create a marketing plan for a nonprofit, she took the path less traveled by rolling out her nonprofit’s mission and vision. Read More



Every month, more than 1,500 families in Madison County receive a free children’s book in the mail, allowing them to experience the joy of reading together. These families are participants in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL), a program that strives to increase childhood literacy skills by providing children from birth through age five with one book per month at no cost to their families. Read More

Imagination library

Chol-Awan Majok’s father fought for the well-being of the people in his Sudanese community. He believed that opportunities followed a solid education. Read More


In this together

Each year there is an average of 20 murders and many more serious injuries in the City of Syracuse as a result of neighborhood violence. Even if residents have had no direct involvement, living in and around violent neighborhoods means they are very likely to know someone who has been shot, stabbed and/or killed. Read More


Individuals from all over the globe occupy the main lobby of InterFaith Works (InterFaith). The beautiful blend of their languages are intertwined, a sign that afternoon classes are about to get underway. Read More


Interfaith Works

A building in the simplest of terms is a man-made structure with a roof and walls. For those who visit Interfaith Works in Syracuse, this particular structure is more meaningful; it’s an instrument of peace. Read More


Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement’s Apprenticeship program gives high school students the valuable opportunity to explore a future career before entering college. Read More


Long Branch Elementary

When Long Branch Elementary sought out ways to improve their student’s math and literacy skills, they depended on the support of a grant from the Central New York Community Foundation to implement the Math & Movement program into their curriculum. Read More


Madison County Literacy Coalition

Faced with a chronic literacy problem that included inadequate early childhood literacy intervention, poor high school graduation rates and an under-trained workforce, Madison County leaders knew that something had to be done. Read More


H. Lee White maritime museum

When Mercedes Niess moved to Oswego in 1990, she didn’t anticipate becoming enamored with the depth of history that lies within Central New York. But as she began volunteering at the H. Lee White Maritime Museum, she discovered a newfound passion.
Read More

Mary Rose Clinic

The Mary Rose Clinic in the City of Oneida doesn’t officially start seeing patients until 4:00 pm on Wednesdays, but often patients start signing in as early as an hour before opening. Read More


Matthew House Agency Fund

Matthew House may look like any other home when you drive down its busy residential street in Auburn. But as soon as you step in, you realize this is a truly special place. Read More


Matthew 25 Farm

Matthew Rick Rarick, farm manager at Matthew 25 Farm, bases his life’s work on Matthew 25:35, a Bible verse that is special to him: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.” Read More


Mckinley brighton Middle school

The children at McKinley Brighton Middle School are one step closer to takeoff. The anticipation builds as they add the final touchesto model rockets of all shapes, sizes and colors. Once fully assembled, the countdown will begin. Read More

Mcmahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center

When children report abuse, they are often sent on a dizzying and confusing journey to meet with numerous investigative and support agencies housed in various locations. Read More


Near Westside Initiative

Shawndell Burden tried several times to apply for a business loan to expand her hair salon, but she was always declined. Read More


New american women's empowerment

Khadijo Abdulkadir was 15 years old when she entered the United States as a Somalian refugee. Suddenly tasked with navigating the systems of a brand new country on her own, Abdulkadir looked to community organizations such as the Northside Learning Center and Hopeprint to help her settle and assimilate to a new language, customs and culture. Read More

Onondaga Earth Corps

When their parents were tragically killed in a car accident in war-torn Afghanistan, Mokhtar Mohammadi and his four younger siblings were left alone and grieving in a refugee camp, unsure of what the future had in store for them. Read More



Antwann Kearse, a graduate of Henninger High School, was harboring a secret when he arrived home on winter break during his first year attending Morrisville State College. His family, beaming with pride, chattered about how well he was doing in college. But Kearse knew better — he had just been put on academic probation. Read More

Open Hand Theater

Looming some five feet over the average person and adorned with brilliant colors and elaborate expressions, the unique puppet characters of Open Hand Theater never fail to turn heads and attract a crowd wherever they appear. Read More


Pet Partners of Syracuse

Heads turn when Maxx, a 120-pound mound of white fluff, proudly displaying a yellow bandana, lumbers down the hall at the St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center. Maxx is serving as the canine partner of a certified Therapy Animal Team. Read More


Rescue Mission

When Jeff found himself homeless and at the Rescue Mission, he routinely met with Malcolm Dawes, his job coach. Malcolm provided Jeff and each participant of the Willing to Work program with one-on-one career counseling to increase their success rate for securing and retaining jobs. Read More


Salvation army cortland

It’s the calm before the storm at the Salvation Army of Cortland. The hallways are quiet now, but when the clock ticks closer to dinner time, the main dining room will be filled with boisterous children with eager stomachs. At the heart of the organization is the kitchen at its South Main Street location. Read More


Samaritan Center

When Gracie Barney began her first job out of college last year as the Volunteer and Guest Services Coordinator for the Samaritan Center, she was looking forward to helping those in need. Read More



When Samantha Turnquest moved with her family from New York City to Syracuse, she had big plans for her education. But she was faced with one major roadblock: affordability. Her mother worked full-time to support her and her three brothers and Samantha felt overwhelmed by the daunting responsibility of paying for college alone. Read More


Keasya Hudgins credits her childhood imagination for inspiring her to want to further her education. Neither of her parents went beyond high school, but seeing what college had to offer in books, television and movies ignited her dreams for what was possible. Read More


Say Yes to Education Syracuse

Chris Gilkes grew up in Syracuse’s Southside neighborhood. His single mother provided for him the best that she could, but without assistance high tuition costs would have made college unattainable. Read More



As the oldest of nine siblings living in extreme poverty, Dancil’s main focus during her youth was the well-being of her family. When a representative from the Syracuse University STEP Program helped her to see her potential and think seriously about college, she realized she could set her academic sights high. Read More

601 Tully

601 Tully Art and Research Center saw an opportunity to partner with the school and nearby Nojaim Bros Supermarket to offer an engaging way to help children make healthy food choices. Read More


South Side Innovation Center

A $30,000 grant from the Community Foundation funded the opening of the South Side Innovation Center’s Syracuse Community Test Kitchen. The program helps introduce and sustain new business by providing culinary entrepreneurs with assistance in commercializing their home recipes. Read More

spanish action league

Community parks, schools, homes and libraries line the streets of what local Hispanic youth envision for a brighter community. The simulation was crafted as the culmination of a year-long exploration into the professional, educational and community engagement activities that lay ahead for them as they grow and reside in Central New York. Read More

St. Lucy's Food Pantry

Located in the middle of one of the poorest areas in the country, St. Lucy's Food Pantry welcomes families in the Near Westside neighborhood with its clean, comfortable and cheerful atmosphere. Read More


Syracuse central library

The Community Foundation awarded Onondaga County Public Libraries $25,000 to purchase equipment for its new Makerspace. The space has audio and video rooms, 3-D printers, sewing machines, virtual reality technology and more. The space is busy and thriving, with more and more Syracuse community members discovering their capacity to create. Watch Video 

Syracuse City Ballet

In one of the world’s oldest and most popular fairy tales, a young woman would retire after a long day of chores to the barren and cold room given to her, and would curl up near the fireplace in an effort to stay warm. Read More

Syracuse Parks Conservancy

Syracuse’s Near Westside neighborhood has seen many positive improvements in recent years. A resurgence of neighborhood pride inspired the Westside Residents Coalition (WRC) to launch Adopt-A-Trashcan. Read More

the talent agency

Growing up with a learning disability made reading and writing difficult for Kaia Morales early on. What she didn’t realize was how this challenge would help foster her talent and love for the arts. Read More

tomorrow's Neighborhoods today

When she purchased her Northside home years ago, Syeisha Byrd knew there was a possibility that it had lead paint, as do many of the aging homes in Syracuse. Read More

Upstate cancer center

A few toys can bring much joy to a child undergoing chemotherapy treatments at the new Dr. William J. Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders, housed at the new Upstate Cancer Center. Read More

upstate minority economic alliance

Never judge a book by its cover. That’s just one lesson Rickey Brown has learned over time, especially as it pertains to his friend, NaDonte Jones. Read More

Wacheva Cultural Arts

On any given evening, One Village Dance Center is bustling with children and adults who have come together to enjoy a unique blend of classes and camaraderie. Read More


WCNY Enterprise America

Tom, a sixth-grader with high-functioning autism, often found himself challenged by communication and interactions with others. One day, he headed out with the rest of his classmates to participate in a hands-on learning experience outside of the classroom called Enterprise America. Read More


When it came time to find a new home to accommodate WCNY’s growing needs, the community-owned public television and radio station decided to use the opportunity to contribute to the rejuvenation of the Near Westside. Read More



When Joan Royle became executive director of the Westcott Community Center in 2015, the organization did not have a robust database or software system and much of the center itself was in disrepair. Read More


Wheeler Elementary

Aware of how important access to 21st Century resources can be to future employment and educational opportunities, the faculty and staff of Onondaga Central School District partnered with local businesses to renovate. Read More


Women Transcending Boundaries

After September 11, 2001, Betsy Wiggins, a Christian, and Danya Wellmon, a Muslim, decided that the divides between various groups within Central New York needed to be bridged so that they could achieve their common objective — a safer, more hospitable Greater Syracuse Area. Read More

YMCA Downtown Writers Center

With literary arts education hard to come by, the Downtown Writer’s Center is filling a community need for collaborative and accessible learning. Read More


YWCA's Plumbing Course

The Women’s Fund of Central New York funded the local YWCA’s new Introductory Plumbing Course. Instructor Robert Mattucci worked with enrolled YWCA residents while they explored how to fit pipes, install fixtures and use plumbing tools. Read More



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In 2012, the Community Foundation invited StoryCorps to record stories of some of Central New York's inspiring nonprofit and philanthropic leaders. Hear their stories.