Staff headshots

What We Are Up To: CNYCF Staff Updates

Learn about the expertise and passionate commitment amongst our team members as they drive positive change and inspire others in our community.

Our staff takes pride in not just serving our community, but actively shaping its future. In our What We Are Up To series, we will feature the thought leadership initiatives and activities that our dedicated staff members are spearheading and engaging in. Read on to learn about the expertise and passionate commitment amongst our team members as they drive positive change and inspire others in our community.

Melanie Littlejohn, president & CEO, received the Good Corporate Citizen’s Award from 100 Black Men of New York in honor of her long history of exemplary corporate community support throughout New York State and the Finer Example Award from the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority – Kappa Xi Zeta Chapter for her ‘dedication, hard work and outstanding performance in Syracuse and across New York State.’ She was also a featured panelist at the Syracuse University Lender Center Symposium regarding reducing the racial wealth gap in our city and region; the CNY Women’s Summit to inspire women to confidently lead with purpose, resilience and innovation; and the Syracuse University Martin J. Whitman School of Management Leadership Scholars Learning Community Diversity and Inclusion Dinner regarding structural inequities in CNY communities. She is also serving as a panelist and mentor at Mentoring Monday, an event that brings together experienced leaders and young professionals.

Kimberly Sadowski, CPA, vice president & chief financial officer, was a guest speaker to the finance affinity group of Human Services Leadership Council.

Qiana Williams, program officer, was chosen to participate in The Funder’s Network’s PLACES Fellowship, a philanthropic leadership program created to use learning, coaching and reflections to explore structural racism, community empowerment and equitable grantmaking policies.

Colby Cyrus, program manager, joined fellow alumni on a Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs panel to offer advice to new graduate school students.

Monica Merante, senior director of philanthropic services, presented at the 2024 AdNet Annual Conference and was a guest speaker on the topic of board governance for the Council on Foundations’ Community Foundation Excellence (CFE) Fundamentals Course in April.

Frank Ridzi, vice president of community investment, co-authored a chapter in Social (In)Equality, Community Well-Being and Quality of Life with Dashiell Elliot regarding the Black Equity & Excellence Fund.

Ahmeed Turner, vice president of scholarships & student success and executive director of Say Yes Syracuse, participated in a higher education panel for FOCUS Greater Syracuse and is serving as a mentor for YMCA Boys and Young Men of Color.

Yeisha Núñez-Denson, accountant, was a guest speaker on the work of the Community Foundation at the Queens Street Expo.

Kanischa Miller, program associate, participated in Leadership Greater Syracuse’s Political Leadership Institute, FOCUS Greater Syracuse’s Citizens Academy and the CPC Access Incubator.

Pragya Murphy, senior philanthropic & impact investment advisor, completed Emergent’s Emerging Leaders coaching program.

To learn more about our staff, please visit: cnycf.org/staff

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