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The Gifford Foundation Provides Syracuse Youth with Community Project Grant

Gifford Foundation Website

The Gifford Foundation in Syracuse wants to make dreams a reality with youth-targeted grants of up to 5-thousand dollars to make a difference in neighborhoods and our city. The “What if…” mini grant program is designed to help strengthen the foundation of those who want to make a positive change in their environment.

Program Administrator Sharia Walker says the grant allows younger generations to take on a leading role in the change they want to see in their communities.

We also realized that there was an important group that their voice wasn’t heard, and that was our young people. And just like adults, our youth are affected by changes in public policies, economic shift, transportation challenges.”

She says the grant encourages creativity, collaboration, and innovation. The foundation has open eyes for projects that want to build up the community and create valuable relationships throughout Syracuse.

“Often times we found that the people in our community were not having the opportunity to make decisions in their community they live in. So therefore, we look for projects that are driven by neighbors, grassroot organizations, and other who are actively involved in making our city a better place.”

The foundation is looking to hear about the ideas and vision from youth, a demographic traditionally not always heard. That’s according to Grants Specialist Maximillian Eyle who says our youth really need those creative opportunities to empower them and the community around them. From there, it’s just a matter of providing a firm foundation for youth and community outreach that leads to success.

“As we look ahead and invasion our goals here for this program it’s twofold. We, of course, want to gather whatever great ideas might be coming from this population, which is often left out of civic discussions. But also provide them a chance to get some valuable experience with project leadership and hopefully make some new connection and really learn that they can make a difference.”

Gifford Foundation “What If…” Grant Program Key Goals


  • To give youth a stake in improving the health and wellbeing of our city.
  • To offer youth real-life project management experience.
  • To bring to light the ideas and vision of a demographic that has been traditionally left out of our civic discussions.

According to the Gifford foundation the grant is youth targeted, but adults and organizations who work with youth and lack non-profit status may also apply. Before filling out the application, each candidate is required to attend a workshop about the application process and to answer any questions. For more information about the “What If…” grant program and other projects the foundation has assisted, please visit