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Community Initiatives: Engaging in Civic & Community Leadership


Community Indicators

CNY Vitals, our region’s collaborative community indicators project, provides information on the trends and issues facing area residents to generate discussion, inform shared planning and facilitate goal setting, while promoting and celebrating community successes. The Community Foundation collaborates with more than 80 community partners to update and display information that provides a snapshot of Central New York within various interest areas. 

During the 2014 fiscal year CNYVitals.org, the online aggregate of this valuable data, was updated with more than 300 new data points. In addition, our staff led Masters of Public Administration students at Syracuse University through the process of identifying key areas of need from these data and writing policy recommendations that might be proposed to address them. We then worked with a second group of MPA students to develop community collaboration plans around these policy areas. To continue this forward momentum, Indicator Teams will soon begin piloting Results Scorecard software that will allow the groups to set measurable goals for community improvement.
 
The Indicator Teams hope that making this information available to the general public will inspire collaborative discussion and action to address the community’s most pressing needs while also focusing funding and programming on projects and initiatives that will have the greatest positive impact on the region. You can view the data at www.cnyvitals.org. 

Literacy Coalitions

The Community Foundation continues to provide management and research support to the literacy coalitions of Onondaga and Madison counties. Syracuse was recognized as a 2013 Community Pacesetter by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, an honor that reflects the energy, mobilization and creativity that the local community, led by the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County (LCOC), has brought to this important work. To date the LCOC, which operates the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program, has distributed more than 50,000 age appropriate books to more than 3,000 children. Next year, the program will be expanded to the entire City of Syracuse. In addition, LCOC partnered with the Onondaga Citizens League and Syracuse 20/20 to release the study entitled, Early Childhood and School Readiness, which emphasized an important predictor of school success and high school graduation — grade-level reading by the end of the third grade. The Literacy Coalition of Madison County was able to expand its Imagination Library program to residents of the entire county. Imagination Library provides one free, age-appropriate book per month from birth through age five to children in participating communities.

Say Yes to Education

This year, the Community Foundation renewed its support for Say Yes to Education Syracuse in the form of a second $1 million grant over the next five years to support its scholarship promise while the Say Yes Scholarship Endowment Fund is built to sustain future scholarship efforts. Say Yes is a historically unprecedented collaboration among diverse groups of Syracuse-area corporate, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations to ensure that all Syracuse City School District students have the necessary support to graduate ready for higher education and that no financial barriers prevent them from attending college.

 

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