431 East Fayette Street Suite 100 Syracuse, NY 13202 Tel: 315.422.9538

We asked community members to think about what matters to them in Central New York. How our entrants told their stories was up to them. But each one highlights that our region is full of nonprofit organizations and resources that are positively impacting the lives of our residents every day, and they need our continued support.

Below you can meet our winners, who were chosen by an independent panel of judges to direct a $500 grant to the nonprofit organization of their choice. 

Click here to view all of the inspiring contest entries produced by community members who are truely passionate about their chosen causes.

Imagine if we could ensure that future generations will also benefit from these resources in our community. Learn more to find out how. 

Meet the Winners

Carrie Large

Designated Charity: ACR Health
"There are  true heroes living amongst us who continue to  save lives and create opportunity for those suffering from addiction."
View Entry

Ellen Spencer
Designated Charity: Samaritan Center
"The Samaritan Center fed my soul and has influenced where I am today. They spread light in a sometimes dark world."
View Entry

Kirsta Malone
Designated Charity: Healing H'Arts
"I have so many hopes and dreams for this nonprofit but my mission will remain the same. The world needs a little more love and Healing H’Arts Equestrians are up for the challenge."
View Entry

Jim Emmons
Designated Charity: CNY Arts
"For a small, economically suffering city, Syracuse offers a wealth of cultural opportunities, and I feel strongly about speaking up for their value."
View Entry

Rita Kimak
Designated Charity: Samaritan Center
"I would like to carry on the legacy of Fr. Gregg by contributing to a charity so close to his heart. For if I may once again coin his phrase: 'It is all good.'"
View Entry 


Official Contest Rules

  • No purchase necessary
  • One entry per person.
  • The official sponsor and administrator of the What Matters to You? Contest ("Contest") is the Central New York Community Foundation, Inc. ("CNYCF") located at 431 East Fayette Street, Suite 100, Syracuse, NY 13202.
  • Official entries will only be accepted until 11:59 pm, Friday, November 11, 2016.
  • To qualify, you must upload your entry using the online form at cnycf.org/whatmatters. Your entry must include an attachment.  Links to videos, photos or other files hosted on other platforms (youtube, etc.) will not be accepted.
  • The Contest is only open to legal residents of the United States and is void where prohibited by law. Employees and board members of CNYCF, their respective affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, suppliers, contest judges and their immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of each are not eligible to participate in the Contest. The Contest is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited.
  • A panel of qualified judges determined by CNYCF will judge each entry based equally on official judging criteria (use of creativity, storytelling effectiveness and likeliness to inspire), relevance to topic and compliance with the Official Contest Rules.
  • The five entrants who submitted the entries with the highest scores will be deemed the potential winners for the Contest. In the event of a tie, an additional, "tie-breaking" judge will determine the potential winners based on the same criteria used by the original panel of judges.
  • Sponsor reserves the right not to award any or all prizes in the Contest if, in its sole discretion, it does not receive a sufficient number of eligible and qualified entries for the Contest.
  • Judging scores will not be revealed.
  • Judges' and CNYCF's decisions and interpretations on all matters relating to the Contest and these Official Rules are final and binding in all respects.
  • CNYCF reserves the right to disqualify any participant or winner.
  • Winners will be notified by 4:30 pm on November 21, 2016 by CNYCF via phone or email message. CNYCF shall have no liability for a winner's failure to receive notices due to winners' spam, junk email or other security settings or for winners' provision of incorrect or otherwise non-functioning contact information. Inability to successfully contact a winner within forty-eight (48) hours of selection may result in disqualification of such winner, and an alternate winner may be selected at CNYCF's discretion.
  • In the event a winner declines a prize, CNYCF may, at their discretion, select an alternate winner.
  • Winners will be publically announced on or before November 29, 2016 on the CNYCF's website, located at cnycf.org.
  • The charities designated by the winners must be qualified tax-exempt, not-for-profit organizations certified by the Internal Revenue Service as a public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; publicly supported organizations such as schools and municipalities are also eligible. The designated charity must serve residents and communities within Onondaga, Oswego, Cortland, Madison or Cayuga counties. The grants made by CNYCF to the charities designated by the winners must be used exclusively for charitable purposes. The winners may receive no personal or monetary benefit as a result of the charity designations. CNYCF may accept or reject a winner’s charity designation at its sole and absolute discretion.
  • The prize is nontransferable. No substitution of prize or transfer/assignment of prize to others or request for the cash equivalent by winners is permitted. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission for CNYCF to use winner's name, likeness, entry and chosen charity for purposes of advertising and trade without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.
  • THIS CONTEST IS GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF United States of America AND New York State, WITHOUT RESPECT TO CONFLICT OF LAW DOCTRINES. As a condition of participating in this Contest, entrant agrees that any and all disputes which cannot be resolved between the parties, and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Contest, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, exclusively before a court located in New York State having jurisdiction. Further, in any such dispute, under no circumstances will entrant be permitted to obtain awards for, and hereby waives all rights to claim punitive, incidental, or consequential damages, including reasonable attorneys' fees, other than participant's actual out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. costs associated with entering this Sweepstakes), and participant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.
  • Information submitted with an entry is subject to the Privacy Policy stated on the CNYCF website. To read the Privacy Policy, visit cnycf.org. 


Prohibited Actions

  • Violating any third party’s rights, including rights protected by the United States Copyright Laws, in connection with a submission.
  • Engaging in conduct which raises material questions about the participant’s honesty, integrity, or character or which is likely to subject CNYCF to disrepute by association.
  • Engaging in any act, course of conduct, or omission that CNYCF reasonably believes to be inconsistent with the fair administration of the Contest.
  • Engaging in, or encouraging others to engage in, conduct that violates the law or another party’s legal rights.
  • Engaging in political advocacy; including, but not limited to, supporting a political party, supporting a particular candidate, lobbying for or against any law or proposed law, or otherwise using any aspect of the Contest as a platform for advancing a particular political agenda.
  • Discriminating against, disparaging or denigrating anyone on account of race, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, political orientation, national origin, ancestry, marital status, veteran status or mental or physical disability.
  • Disparaging or denigrating a product, service, person, company or organization including, but not limited to, CNYCF and its partners.
  • Promoting or advocating for a religion or any particular religious point of view in connection with the Contest, or engaging in proselytizing, which includes but is not limited to, acts meant to advance a religious denomination or expand its membership or encourage conversion.
  • Making statements which contain profanity, are overtly sexual or violent, or that suggest an intent to abuse or harm others.

Additional Terms

  • By submitting an entry to the Contest, you understand that CNYCF, anyone acting on behalf of CNYCF, or its respective licensees, successors and assigns will have the right, where permitted by law, without any further notice, review or consent to print, publish, broadcast, distribute, and use, worldwide in any media now known or hereafter in perpetuity and throughout the World, your entry, including, without limitation, the entry and winner's name, portrait, picture, voice, likeness, image or statements about the Sweepstakes, and biographical information as news, publicity or information and for trade, advertising, public relations and promotional purposes without any further compensation.
  • Additional Forms. The organization nominated by the winner may be required to sign and submit an affidavit of eligibility, applicable tax forms, liability releases, and other relevant paperwork. Nominee may also be required to grant CNYCF the right to use nominee’s name/likeness for promotional purposes.
  • Technical Problems. CNYCF assumes no responsibility for errors in transmission, interruptions in service, or other technical errors or delays which could affect a submission, including whether such submission is ultimately received by CNYCF, and may arise from, among other things, high volumes of internet traffic, failures in the nominee’s internet service, unauthorized intervention by third parties, or other technological problems.
  • Liability Release. By participating in the Contest you agree to release CNYCF, its media partners, sponsors, and all other persons or entities working with CNYCF to conduct the Contest  (the “releases”), from all liability, loss, or claim of any kind which may arise from, or relate to, your participation in any phase of the Contest or from your use of any prize(s) received. This release shall be effective even if your loss or claim is caused by, or contributed to by, the negligence of one or more of the releases.
  • Indemnification. As a participant in the Contest, you agree to indemnify and hold CNYCF and the other releases harmless against any third party claims which may arise from, or relate to, your breach of any of the terms of this agreement.
  • Limitation on Liability. To the extent a participant has a claim that is not released by the above liability release, the aggregate liability of CNYCF and the other releases shall be limited to the greater of $100 (U.S.) or the actual cost incurred by such claimant(s) as a result of claimant(s) participation in the Contest (excluding attorney’s fees). In no event shall the liability of CNYCF or the other releases include indirect, consequential, or punitive damages.
  • No Warranties. All prizes are provided “as is” and “with all faults” and without warranty of any kind including, but not limited to, warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement.
  • Severability. To the extent that any provision of this agreement or any paragraph, term, sentence, phrase, clause or word of this agreement shall be found to be void, illegal or unenforceable for any reason (and not subject to further appeal), (i) the remaining terms and provisions hereof shall be unimpaired and shall remain in full force and effect, and (ii) the illegal, invalid or unenforceable provision or term shall be replaced by a term or provision that is valid and enforceable and that comes closest to expressing the intention of such invalid or unenforceable term or provision.



If you love the community you call home, consider the opportunity to enrich its future.

Join other community-minded families and explore how you can do your part.


Five (5) entrants were selected to each receive one (1) $500 grant to the nonprofit of their choice. 


The jury selected five entries that exceled in the following judging categories:
~ Use of creativity
~ Storytelling effectiveness
~ Likeliness to inspire others


Entries were judged by a collection of some of our community's most respected storytellers:

Sean Kirst 
Writer & Author

Ashley Kang
Editor, The Southside Stand

Kathe Harrington
Humans of Syracuse

Julie Dudrick
Project Director, Upstate Institute
Colgate University

George Kilpatrick
President & CEO
Kilpatrick Media


Contact us at info@cnycf.org or (315) 422-9538.