ADVANS & POWER Initiatives

ADVANS: Advancing and Developing the Value and Assets of Nonprofits in Syracuse

“Of the dozens of capacity programs I have developed for national and local foundations, I can truly say that the ADVANS program, and the opportunity to work with the dedicated grantees, consultants and Gifford Foundation staff involved in this program, has been a highly satisfying professional experience.” 

Susan Kenny Stevens, PhD., author of Nonprofit Lifecycles and ADVANS Lead Consultant

We embraced capacity building as an overall grantmaking focus after working with Dr. Stevens, whose book Nonprofit Lifecycles: Staged Based Wisdom for Nonprofit Capacity showed the importance of growing strong, durable organizations. Dr. Stevens serves as a lead consultant with us, and has trained over a dozen local consultants in her Lifecycles model. Learn more about how the program evolved, the process and to see a list of ADVANS organizations since its inception in 2007. >>learn more.


Graduation celebration for the ADVANS 4 cohort, 2015.

POWER: People and Organizations with Energy and Resilience

POWER horizontal color - cropped

With a successful $70,000 pilot in 2015, the Foundation launched a new capacity building initiative designed to assist grassroots organizations and organizations in the start-up lifecycle phase. Entitled POWER, which stands for “People & Organizations with Energy & Resilience,” the program aims to increase the strength and operating capacity of small selected nonprofits. >>learn more.

Helping Hounds POWER photoConsultant Andrea Wandersee works with staff and board

from Helping Hounds Dog Rescue.

 Initiative to Develop and Engage Audiences in Syracuse

In 2010 the Foundation initiated, and along with five local funders, developed the IDEAS (Initiative to Develop and Engage Audiences and Services) Collaborative. Believing that a vital community engaged in all levels of creative engagement ensures growth in quality of life, economic development, education, tourism and civic life, the Foundation managed a comprehensive research and community engagement process has laid the groundwork for significant growth. Working with national consultant Surale Phillips and 43 local organizations, the goal of strengthening Onondaga County arts, culture and heritage organizations and the creative sector by increasing participation, identifying new audience market segments, and uncovering opportunities for cooperative activity and resource sharing is coming to pass. The pooled money provided by the original funding partners and supplemented by CNY Arts leveraged dollars totals over $1.1 million and supports community-wide and cooperative marketing, capacity building and audience development strategies. Currently oversight of the IDEAS Collaborative has transitioned from the Foundation to CNY Arts, which received significant capacity building assistance through the IDEAS Collaborative.

Click here for a recent posting with updates

Executive Summary, IDEAS Final Report (February 2011)

IDEAS original logic model


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  • Gifford Foundation on TwitterDid you see? We released our 2019 What If... Mini Grant deadlines yesterday! For more info, and to learn how to s… link
  • Gifford Foundation on TwitterOur POWER 3 groups are learning all about building strong volunteer programs tonight!
  • Gifford Foundation on TwitterA great event with the Downtown Syracuse Committee and Allyn Family Foundation! Delicious food and great music thanks to DJ Maestro.
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  • Gifford Foundation on TwitterCome say hi to us at the Near Westside Initiative block party at Skiddy Park! — at Skiddy Park link