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Community Grantmaking

Grantmaking is traditionally reactive, but in line with our belief in community engagement we emphasize a personal approach, where we discuss with organizations their potential project or program before deciding on next steps. A primary goal of this conversation is to also understand each organization’s total capacity. We believe that organizations do their best work, and serve community members in the most effective way, when they are strong and durable. The Foundation continues its commitment to capacity building and community growth through grants awarded to nonprofit organizations in the following four areas of focus:

  • Projects that allow organizations to become more efficient. This may include improved technology, staff development, software, energy/environmental changes, exploration of strategic partnerships, capital, etc.
  • Projects that work to develop new programs or strengthen current  programs that align with community needs, as well as projects that seek to provide opportunities for organizations to build on community plans or aspirations. This may include assessments and evaluations of existing programs, community convenings, collaborations, arts and cultural events and new programs that evolve from community or organizational planning activities.
  • Projects that engage and develop board capacity. This may include board training, retreats, conferences, consulting assistance, etc.
  • Projects that diversify revenue streams. This may include business planning, collaborations, development of fee for service or other fundraising avenues, etc.

For example…
• A grant of $10,000 to custom-modify software at CNY Fair Housing enabled stronger efficiencies in case management and interventions.
• Consultant support of $8,000 helped the Volunteer Lawyers Project identify strategic pathways and strengthen their board.
• A $12,000 grant to Mercy Works expanded the Synergy Program, an intensive seven-week professional development program for youth.
• The $20,000 provided to the Museum of Science & Technology (MOST) will diversify their revenue through increased earned income from a newly renovated gift shop.

We look forward to hearing more about our community nonprofits. Organizations seeking grants or wishing to explore possible projects should register through our online grants management system and submit a Letter of Inquiry, after which they will be contacted by program staff. Eligible organizations have 501(c)3 status or a fiscal agent with such status and operate primarily in Onondaga, Madison and/or Oswego Counties.

Please visit our Online Grants Management system if you are interested in discussing a potential project. Proposals are only invited and follow an intake with a program staff member.

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