The Gifford Foundation has announced the names of the six local organizations invited to participate in the fourth round of ADVANS. ADVANS, or Advancing and Developing the Assets and Value of Nonprofits in Syracuse is a major capacity building initiative started by the Foundation in 2007. ADVANS 4 will include over $500,000 committed to six nonprofits from Onondaga, Oswego and Cayuga Counties. Between December 2013 and December 2015 these organizations will undertake an intensive assessment and capacity planning process and will receive roughly $70,000 each in grants and consulting services. ADVANS follows the organizational capacity model developed by Dr. Susan Kenny Stevens as outlined in the book Nonprofit Lifecycles: Stage-based Wisdom for Nonprofit Capacity. The organizations will work with trained area consultants utilizing the self-assessment techniques of Dr. Stevens, and then identify their primary capacity needs.
“We are delighted to continue this signature initiative,” states Dirk Sonneborn, executive director of the Gifford Foundation. “ADVANS provides not only capacity support, but a process where organizations that offer vital programs to our community are helped to be stronger and healthier in order to fulfill their missions.”
“ADVANS is one of about a dozen capacity-building programs I have designed and led over the past 20+ years – initially most were national,” notes lead consultant Stevens. “With place-based initiatives we have seen the significance of a program like ADVANS to a local community. The opportunity to strengthen multiple nonprofits (and their boards and staff) in a particular region and give them a common language and a community of practice empowers them to conduct their services from a position of achievement and strength.”
The six organizations in ADVANS 4 are:
ACR Health (Access Care and Resources for Health, formerly known as Aids Community Resources) provides prevention, education, and support services to individuals with chronic diseases including HIV/AIDS, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, asthma, substance use disorders, and serious mental illnesses. ACR Health serves the counties of Cayuga, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, and St. Lawrence in New York State. Additionally, ACR Health supports the Q Center which offers LGBTQ youth support groups, educational support, counseling services, social events, HIV/STD education and testing, opportunities for community involvement, and support for Gay-Straight Alliances and school groups.
Child Care Solutions’ mission is to promote early learning, healthy development and high quality care for all children through education, advocacy and support for families and early childhood professionals. Child Care Solutions helps parents find childcare and troubleshoot problems, works with the State to regulate childcare homes in Onondaga and Cayuga Counties, and runs a childcare food service program that helps provide nutritious food to at home daycares.
E. John Gavras Center is an evaluation and treatment facility in Cayuga County providing educational, therapeutic, Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities and respite care to individuals with special needs. Services include Early Childhood Programs and Services, Adult and School Age Programs, Training and Human Development, Success By 6, and the Imagination Library.
Onondaga Community Living’s mission is to empower and individually support people with developmental disabilities in their efforts to live full lives as integral respected members of their community. They listen to each person’s history and personal story to develop the services that best meet his or her needs, for both residential and vocational services.
Oswego County Opportunities (OCO), Oswego County’s Community Action Agency works to help lift people out of poverty. They serve 30,000 people each year through more than 50 programs providing assistance for the homeless, educational services, health care for the whole family, independence for the disabled, meals for the elderly, disabled and youth, safety for the abused, support for youth and transportation for all.
The Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility, more commonly known as the Southwest Community Center) provides services and activities designed to identify and reinforce the strengths of individuals, families and communities. They offer a network of human services to residents of the predominantly African-American, low-income neighborhood of the southwest inner-city of Syracuse. Their mission is to help people better manage their lives by offering a wide array of services through community oriented programming.
Six years in, ADVANS now counts 13 nonprofit “graduates,” with five more soon to complete in June, 2014 – just as another six join the ADVANS family. In the same time period 12 professional consultants have been trained in the Lifecycles approach to capacity and are employing these methods all around (and beyond) Onondaga, Oswego, Oneida, Madison and Cayuga Counties. By the end of 2015 Gifford will have invested $2,828,533 in these 24 nonprofits through the ADVANS program. In addition the Foundation has embraced this capacity building approach in all of its giving, beyond the specific ADVANS initiative.