POWER – Capacity Building Initiative for Growing Organizations

POWER started in 2015, and since its inception eleven organizations have successfully completed the program. Each participated in a learning community, worked with assigned consultants and implemented capacity building efforts. Learn More »

POWER (People & Organizations With Energy & Resilience) is a 12-month capacity building initiative designed to assist grassroots organizations and organizations in the start-up lifecycle phase. The program aims to increase the strength and operating capacity of small selected nonprofits.

After a successful pilot in 2015 (read a summary checking in with the first cohort), the Gifford Foundation welcomed a second cohort in 2016 with a total of six nonprofits participating in POWER 2. In Fall, 2018 the Foundation will run another cohort.

POWER was designed using concepts developed by organizational consultant Dr. Susan Kenny Stevens and found in her book Nonprofit Lifecycles: Stage Based Wisdom for Nonprofit Capacity. This “meet them where they are” method is known as the “Lifecycle Approach” to capacity building. Consultant Maria Fibiger of Three Dog Consulting will again serve as project leader, training and overseeing local consultants.

In POWER, specially trained consultants spend significant hours over the course of a year working with the organizations’ leadership teams to guide a self-assessment, develop a capacity building work plan and provide ongoing coaching and support. The organizations participate in facilitated learning sessions on a variety of topics, providing them with an opportunity to network and learn from their peers. After each organization completes an assessment they were provided with a small grant to support a capacity building project.

POWER graduates since 2015:

100 Black Men of Syracuse

Believe in Syracuse

CNY Arts Center

Cuse Pit Crew

Dance Theater of Syracuse

David’s Refuge

Good Life Foundation

Helping Hounds Dog Rescue

Onondaga Earth Corps

Open Hand Theater

RISE (Refugee & Immigrant Self-Empowerment)


Read the press release on the recent graduation of POWER organizations.

For further information on the POWER Initiative contact Megan Wagner-Flynn.

(from left) Greg Michel, Onondaga Earth Corps; Carol Charles, Dance Theater of Syracuse; Andrea Wandersee, Open Hand Theater; Natalie Martin, Cuse Pit Crew; Maria Fibiger, lead consultant; Haji Adan, Refugee and Immigrant Self Empowerment; John DeSantis, Believe in Syracuse.

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