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Community Initiatives: Preparing Nonprofit Leaders for the Future


Nonprofit Essentials Workshop Series (NEWS)


When the Community Foundation established the CNY Philanthropy Center as its new home in 2010, we envisioned using the available convening space to add a higher level of support to local nonprofits through learning and convening activities. It wasn’t long after we were settled that we launched the Nonprofit Essentials Workshop Series (NEWS), which offers the nonprofit community a variety of tools for professional and organizational development that help strengthen our region’s nonprofit sector. 

A variety of pertinent topics have been covered since the launch of the series, including collaborative leadership skills, grant writing, fund development, board governance, corporate philanthropy and marketing techniques. This spring, we partnered with Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs to offer a five-part series on interpersonal skills for emerging leaders. The series focused on negotiation and communications skills, conflict management, building successful collaborations and navigating through change and crisis.

Since its inception, more than 800 attendees representing about 250 nonprofits have participated in NEWS. Feedback from workshop attendees has been very positive, with participants reporting that they appreciate presenters’ openness to comments and questions, enjoy the friendly and relaxed atmosphere, and find presenters to be engaging, clear and helpful. Many have taken away valuable skills and techniques to implement at their own organizations. 

The John F. Marsellus Sabbatical


The John F. Marsellus Sabbatical program allows passionate nonprofit leaders to set aside time for reflection, learning and renewal — all of which contribute to the continued effectiveness of their leadership. Since the initiative was established in 2000, more than $194,000 in grants have been awarded to 27 nonprofit executives for personal and professional development. 

Staff Advancement Initiative

The Staff Advancement Initiative awards grants for the professional development of front-line workers in nonprofit agencies by covering the costs of courses and training seminars that fall outside of their organizations’ training budgets. In fiscal year 2014, 38 participants received a total of $24,991 for professional development opportunities.

The Leadership Classroom (TLC)


TLC provides an interactive opportunity for individuals to learn advanced skills in grassroots leadership. At the end of the training period, participant groups receive a grant of $3,500 to implement projects that are planned during the training. This year, 22 individuals representing five different Syracuse-based organizations graduated from TLC.

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