While our community is facing some of the highest poverty rates in the nation, much is being done to bring opportunities and new hope to our region’s residents, paving new paths for the benefit of current and future generations. Together it is within our power to open doors, raise ceilings, and lay the groundwork for the full participation of every individual at every level of our community. We prosper together, or not at all.

Here is a sample of what we accomplish when we combine the generosity of our donors with the hard work of our community partners. With your help, we can do more.

Our Impact

$3.9 million

in grants supported poverty-related programs since 2017


supported rural poverty causes in Madison County since 2019


assessments collected from residents on their basic life needs

What We’re Doing

Kaela Amador and her son, Liam
Madison County CAP: Kaela Amador and her son, Liam, benefited from Madison County Community Action Partnership’s transitional housing when they faced homelessness.

The availability of safe, affordable housing, both in our urban and rural communities, can have a distinct impact on the growth and development of a region. We’ve helped:

  • Develop tiny homes in Syracuse to provide housing for individuals facing homelessness
  • Encourage civic engagement around the I-81 project and its environmental impact
  • Renovate a men’s shelter to increase the dignity of the of the environment for residents
  • Provide transitional housing to Madison County families facing homelessness while they seek assistance obtaining safe, permanent housing
A Samaritan Center volunteer prepares food for distribution.
A Samaritan Center volunteer prepares food for distribution.

It is hard to be successful in school or retain a job when you are worried where your next meal will come from. Getting healthy food to those who need it most is an essential first step to economic self-sufficiency. We’ve helped:

  • Expand storage and volunteer capacity of the local food bank
  • Establish designated family eating areas in two local food service centers
  • Increase harvest of fresh produce for distribution at local food pantries
Member of the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance
NaDonte Jones, owner of NJ Jones Plumbing, credits his relationship with the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance (UMEA) with helping him launch his business.

By connecting residents to opportunities for learning and job preparation that set them up for success, our communities benefit from the resulting economic and social development. We’ve helped:

  • Connect low-income residents with job opportunities in high-need industries
  • Offer free, one-on-one professional financial counseling to city residents
  • Launch a workforce training program for individuals facing poverty
  • Help youth explore careers in the human service field
  • Invest in loans for start-up businesses and individuals seeking personal financing
  • Develop career and life-skill programming for youth
  • Start up a chamber of commerce for minority-owned businesses and minority professionals
Children interact with the friendly farm animals at the Haven at Skanda.
Children interact with the friendly farm animals at the Haven at Skanda.

In rural areas, services are often a great distance away and residents are faced with no or limited public transportation. Lack of access to needed services, jobs and reliable transportation creates barriers to maintaining employment and receiving healthcare. We’ve helped:

  • Connect children who are behind their grade level in social development with daily leadership and decision-making activities
  • Bridge the divide between farmers and consumers to positively impact farmers’ mental health
  • Help children at risk of neglect and abuse learn resiliency and life skills by caring for rescued animals
Featuring a bus wrap on Onondaga County public transport
A bus wrap on Onondaga County public transport promoted the importance of completing the 2020 Census.

It can be difficult for social programs to succeed in their efforts to decrease poverty if they are not addressing the nuances within the areas where they work. Our dedication to local data is helping uncover what the real needs are, right down to each census tract. We’ve helped:

  • Encourage full participation in the 2020 Census, especially within historically undercounted neighborhoods
  • Assess the needs not being adequately met for those living in poverty
  • Evaluate the benefits of more precise measures of poverty in developing community solutions
  • Connect residents to detailed poverty data on CNY Vitals
  • Convene weekly meetings of a network of social sector members who share ideas and coordinate efforts

Image Initiative group holds their hands in the air.

By working with government, community leaders and area nonprofits, we are able to leverage resources and achieve ambitious goals. We’ve helped:

  • Assist a collaborative effort to reduce the incidence and ramifications of poverty in our city’s neighborhoods
  • Consult on the distribution of state dollars to fund innovative poverty solutions across the region
  • Support a regional network of human service agencies working together to identify opportunities and provide coordinated, high-quality responses to human service needs

Make a Difference with Us

Your assistance can aid us in making an even greater impact. Here are some ways you can help us do more.

Create a fund

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