Sheena E. Solomon, Director of Neighborhood Initiatives
Sheena is entering her eleventh year at The Gifford Foundation, a private foundation serving Central New York. In addition to her work with grant applicants, the grants management team and various initiatives, she also serves as the Foundation’s representative in their community engagement work. She is deeply engaged in community organizing within the City of Syracuse which includes regular communication and meetings with local activists and residents. Sheena was essential in the creation and implementation of Gifford’s city-wide initiative, the “What If…” Mini Grants, which provides a resource in fostering growth in neighborhoods and strengthening the capacity of residents who are focused on making positive changes in their neighborhoods.
Sheena has partnered and advised with the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York on neighborhood issues and served on the advisory committee of The Leadership Classroom, a project of the Central New York Community Foundation. She has been instrumental in the design and planning of Nourishing Tomorrow’s Leaders a leadership development training that focuses on increasing the diversity and inclusiveness of nonprofit boards. Sheena is a 2012 graduate of the PLACES (Professionals Learning About Community Equity and Smart Growth) program, a yearlong professional development program designed to explore key issues that affect grantmaking decisions that are responsive to the needs and assets of low-income neighborhoods and people of color. She now serves on the Advisory Board for the program.
Sheena also dedicates her time by serving on local and national boards such as Grassroots Grantmakers, You Can’t Fail Inc, the Syracuse Economic Development Corp. and The Near Westside Initiative. Prior to joining the Foundation Sheena spent several years working at local non-profit organizations where she developed an understanding and joy for working with people in the community.
Sheena has a passion for fostering growth in others and the patience and understanding that many in today’s society need. She truly believes the “teaching people how to fish” concept is the best way to building strong vibrant communities and the true value that diversity and inclusion bring to communities and organizations. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and treasuring every moment because tomorrow is promised to no one. She looks forward to continuing on her path of being a confident, calm and courageous leader.
Email Sheena at: Sheena@giffordfoundation.org