With $1 million earmarked for capacity building among black led non-profits in Syracuse, a local foundation now waits to assess the impact of its grant-making.  In this episode of City Limits Winds of Change, we examine how first round grant recipients of the Central New York Community Foundation’s Black Equity and Excellence fund are using their awards to strengthen their operations adapt to the challenges caused by the global pandemic.

A fund set up to help local non-profit agencies deal with a wide range of impacts from the COVID-19 crisis has given out more than half-a-million dollars in help.  But the Central New York Community Foundation, which is managing it, is seeing what president Peter Dunn calls ‘staggering demand’.  It didn’t take long for safety-net type of services to fall short, such as the CNY Diaper Bank.

Life for Central New Yorkers in the age of COVID-19 has forced many members of the community, local businesses and nonprofits to readjust their priorities and lifestyles.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Individuals, businesses, institutions, and others are being encouraged to help those most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak by donating to a new community support fund.  The Central New York Community Foundation is teaming up with the United Way and the Allyn Foundation to set up the fund. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Onondaga County, and especially Syracuse, continue to grapple with a serious and stubborn lead problem.  The old housing stock combined with high poverty levels and low home ownership rates mean efforts to rid homes of lead paint have been painfully slow for decades.  Here's how the crisis has impacted one north-side family:

A research project is helping find out the specific needs of people in poverty here in Syracuse.  The findings will help local service agencies collaborate better … and hopefully help more people get ahead.  

Just what are the needs of some of Syracuse’s most impoverished residents? 
And why aren’t local agencies solving them?  These questions are at the center of new research from the Central New York Community Foundation

Scott Willis / WAER News

Senator Chuck Schumer says he’s pulling out all the stops to ensure Syracuse gets its share of federal funding to address lead hazards in older homes.  He stopped by Golisano Children’s Hospital Monday to explain why.  Lead paint was banned in 1978, but 90 percent of Syracuse’s housing stock was built before 1980.   Half of the city’s rental properties were built before 1960. 

Onondaga County Health Department

The Central New York Community Foundation will be investing more than $2 million to help combat childhood lead poisoning in Syracuse.  More than 11 percent of Syracuse children tested positive for elevated blood lead levels in a 2017 Onondaga County Health Department study.  Lead poisoning has lifelong impacts on young children, including reduced brain activity, learning disabilities, and even violent behavior.

provided photo / CNYCF

The Central New York Community Foundation has launched a new website that aims to spur action on any number of issues facing the region…from housing and lead exposure, to literacy and education.  The site congregates data from multiple sources so users can monitor progress.

Vice president of community investment at CNYCF Frank Ridzi says there are many efforts underway to improve the community, but no central place to see how we’re doing.

As people think about holiday giving…they might want to think about the legacy they can create long-term.  Central New York’s Baby Boomers will be leaving behind billions of dollars over the next decade, according to a study of local personal worth.  Even a small percentage of that wealth, if bequeathed to charities and other non-profits, could make a big difference in the community.