On the afternoon of June 2, 22 representatives from five local grassroots nonprofit organizations celebrated their completion of The Leadership Classroom (TLC). The year-long program is an initiative of the Central New York Community Foundation. Participants learn advanced leadership skills alongside other neighborhood leaders in an interactive setting. After participating in monthly training sessions designed to enhance their leadership skills, each group received a $3,500 grant to implement a project proposed and planned during their training.
The Cannon Street Center – Light a Candle for Literacy program seeks to create a positive learning environment for both parents and children to improve their respective reading skills. Light a Candle for Literacy will use its grant to develop and implement a literacy program on Syracuse’s South Side that promotes shared reading activities at home for parents of children who are at risk of developing reading difficulties.
Focusing Our Resources for Community Enlightenment (FORCE) is a volunteer-driven organization that offers cultural and educational programming to residents of Onondaga County. FORCE is a returning member to TLC, and has graduated two groups of community leaders. This year’s group will use its grant to implement Ready Syracuse, which will provide CPR community outreach and education to residents of the South Side of Syracuse, encouraging them to be active partners in community emergency preparedness.
The Good Life Philanthropic Youth Foundation encourages entrepreneurial thinking among at-risk children in the City of Syracuse by combining life coaching, personal finance and entrepreneurial training with venture funding. Good Life will use its grant to create a vending machine operation run by youth as part of training youth in entrepreneurial and life skills.
Hopeprint, Inc. is a home-based, community development organization that cultivates relationships between the resettled refugee community and the community at large. Hopeprint will use its grant to implement a youth leadership program that trains refugee community members to be role models and leaders in community development in Syracuse’s Northside neighborhoods.
The Wazigua Community Organization of CNY supports the Somali refugee community through a variety of community development, after-school and citizenship programs. The organization plans to use its grant to purchase additional uniforms and equipment for its expanding Wazigua Community Soccer Club, which promotes recreation and relationships among youth on Syracuse’s Northside.
Participants of this year’s TLC program were enthusiastic about the new skills they learned and having formed new bonds that promise to have long-lasting effects on both themselves and the community.
“TLC offered the experience needed to transform concerned citizens into true community leaders,” said Hasan Stephens of The Good Life Philanthropic Youth Foundation. “As graduates of the program, we are now armed with the training and tools necessary to effectively carry out our respective missions. By focusing on fundamental organizational principles, we’ve become better equipped to create lasting new breeds of community organizations, while building valuable networks.”
The Leadership Classroom is an initiative of the Central New York Community Foundation. Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of a permanent charitable endowment for the betterment of the region. The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of more than $130 million. It awards close to $6.7 million in grants to nonprofit organizations annually and since its inception has invested more than $100 million in the community. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and corporations through the administration of nearly 600 funds. The organization also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen nonprofits that address the region’s most pressing challenges.
For more information, visit www.cnycf.org.
— Announcement provided by Katrina Crocker with the Central New York Community Foundation