Youth Development Program Wins CNY85 Giving Project Grant

orenda springs logoJuly 16, 2012 (Syracuse, NY) – Orenda Springs Experiential Learning Center is the winner of an $8,500 grant from the Central New York Community Foundation after successfully garnering the most public votes in The CNY85 Giving Project. Thirty-four organizations were competing in the online vote, which ran the entire month of June. Nearly 50,000 votes were cast by the time polls closed.

Orenda Springs, a 130 acre “Classroom in the Woods,” uses nature trails, a rock climbing wall, a natural amphitheater, group camping sites and a ropes course to help children practice their skills in perseverance, initiative, problem-solving, trust and courage. The organization will provide 200 Syracuse City middle and high school students with the opportunity to participate in a day-long empowerment program at the facility. Activities include a low and high element ropes course where students learn to overcome their insecurities. The grant will be used to provide transportation, programming and food for eight trips of 25 students each.

The CNY85 Giving Project was created to engage the public in the Community Foundation’s 85-year anniversary celebration while also drawing attention to the many nonprofit organizations benefiting Central New York. The online campaign encourages visitors to its website – – to vote for a project once a day during the designated month. The Community Foundation hopes that those who participate in voting are inspired to get more involved in their community – either monetarily or through some form of volunteerism. A full list of the projects that have participated so far can be viewed at

The month of June was the second of four voting periods The CNY85 Giving Project will open to the public over the course of the year. The June round featured human service, health and health projects. Future rounds will feature projects that address education and technology (September) and arts, culture and civic leadership (December).

The winner of The Giving Project’s first round, which featured environmental, economic development and transportation projects, was the Madison County Office for the Aging. The organization won the grant for its elderly medical transportation program, which provides frail, isolated elderly with rides to their physicians, eye care professionals, pharmacies and other medical-related appointments.

“We see The CNY85 Giving Project is an opportunity for the public to learn about some of the outstanding nonprofit programs being offered here in Central New York,” said Peter Dunn, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. “The Project is a celebration of our 85-year anniversary, but we also want it to draw attention to the many other nonprofit organizations engaged in a variety of activities to make Central New York a great place to live and work. We hope that those who participate in voting are inspired to get more involved in their community.”

Nonprofit organizations must enter their projects into the contest in order to participate. The Community Foundation is now accepting applications for its third round, featuring projects that address Central New York’s education and technology needs, until July 31. Nonprofit organizations that serve Onondaga and/or Madison Counties are invited to enter by submitting a simple online form. To view the Project’s full calendar and learn how to apply, visit

About CNYVitals

Each round features projects of different themes based on findings of a community indicators project, CNYVitals. The community indicators were the result of a collaborative effort between Syracuse University’s Maxwell School, FOCUS Greater Syracuse, the Central New York Community Foundation, city and county municipalities and a host of community-based organizations that have signed on to help gather and analyze the data on Central New York’s greatest needs.

The resulting data is a snapshot of Central New York’s current state of affairs within various interest areas. The architects of the project hope that making this information available to the general public will inspire collaborative discussion and action to address the community’s most pressing needs while also focusing funding and programming on projects and initiatives that will have the greatest positive impact on the region. All of the data can be viewed and contributed to at

About the Central New York Community Foundation

This year, the Central New York Community Foundation celebrates its 85-year anniversary. Founded in 1927, it strives to inspire philanthropy in Central New York by connecting the generosity of donors with community needs – making grants to organizations working to enhance the quality of life of those who live and work in Central New York from nearly 600 charitable endowment funds that it manages. Grants are awarded for programs in the areas of human services, arts and culture, education, environment, health, economic development and civic affairs. As the region’s largest endowed philanthropic foundation, the Community Foundation awards more than $5 million in grants to nonprofit organizations annually. The Community Foundation is located at 431 East Fayette Street, Syracuse, NY 13202 and can be reached at (315) 422-9538 or

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