“I was born and raised here so I’m excited and pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to the community,” states Vincent Love, one of our newest board members. “I’ve learned so much at the Gifford Foundation about hands on philanthropy and this gives me a good feeling about being a part of it.” Vincent Love joined the board of the Gifford Foundation in 2012 and currently serves on the Finance and Program Committees. He works as deputy treasurer for the North Syracuse Central School District and volunteers as president of the local chapter of 100 Black Men, a national organization providing mentoring and educational services to CNY youth. Recently Vincent sat down with Gifford staff to reflect on what he has learned at Gifford, and how he sees his personal experiences and volunteer work assisting his fellow board members.
Q: How long have you lived in Central New York, and where is your current home?
A: I was born and raised in Syracuse and graduated from Central Tech HS in 1971. I went to college in Florida then moved to California for about 10 years – I returned to Syracuse in 1985. I currently live on Nottingham Rd in Syracuse.
Q: In addition to 100 Black Men and the Gifford Foundation, what are other organizations for which you volunteer?
A: I also serve on the board for Syracuse Stage and the Youth Advisory Board for Onondaga County Department of Aging & Youth.
Q: What did you think of or know about the Gifford Foundation before joining the board?
A: I knew it was a foundation that provides grants in the community – and of course the local zoo. I didn’t really know specifics; just that it was another organization in the area. I had no idea the level of contact we have in the community.
Q: What have you learned since joining on the board? What has stood out for you?
A: I’ve learned that GF is very hands on with local groups and organizations, and that this is a great thing. They have a mindset for getting these groups to succeed. I have been especially interested in ADVANS [Advancing and Developing the Value and Assets of Nonprofits in Syracuse, the Foundation’s intensive capacity building initiative]. This was new information for me. ADVANS has potential to do tremendous work and help the community provide better services.
Q: What do you see as some of the strongest needs in our community?
A: Jobs and activities for our youth. Our young people need more exposure to positive opportunities, things they can get involved with and learn how to become responsible members of society. On a scale of 1-10, we’re only about a 6 on dealing with this need. The Gifford Foundation can play a role.
Q: How do you think you can play a role in how the Gifford Foundation is viewed in the community?
A: Overall not everyone understands the Foundation world and organizations in Syracuse. Gifford doesn’t have the financial capacity that some other foundation may have but we are approachable and accessible. Some in the community may know the Gifford Foundation exists, but feels it doesn’t exist for them. My goal as a board member and a community servant is to help change this way of thinking.