Local Pre-School Wins CNY85 Giving Project Grant

Jowonio CNY85October 16, 2012 (Syracuse, NY) – Jowonio School was announced the winner of a $8,500 grant from the Central New York Community Foundation today after successfully garnering the most public votes in The CNY85 Giving Project. Eighteen nonprofit organizations were competing in the online vote, which ran the entire month of September. Nearly 55,000 total votes were cast before polls closed.

The school will use the award to provide tablets and specialized communication apps to young children with special needs. The technology will allow children, some who struggle to or cannot speak, to engage with the classroom curriculum and participate socially with peers and adults, preparing them for the next level of their schooling.

“New technologies such as iPads can offer great possibilities for communication to young children with special needs,” said Ellen Barnes, Executive Director of Jowonio School. “The grant will support the purchase of equipment and training for staff and parents. This assistive technology will give our students a voice and a way to engage in the classroom curriculum with their peers.”

Jowonio School serves young children with a wide range of abilities in school and home-based programs. Its mission is to provide model inclusive programs for young children, in which diversity is celebrated and all are free to learn and grow.

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 – cny85.org – 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 www.cny85.org.

The month of September was the third of four voting periods The CNY85 Giving Project will open to the public over the course of the year. The September round featured education and technology projects. The final voting round will feature arts, culture and civic leadership projects during the month of December.

The winner of The Giving Project’s second round, which featured housing, health and human service projects, was Orenda Springs Experiential Learning Center. The organization received the grant to 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 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 received the grant for its elderly medical transportation program, which provides seniors with rides to their physicians, eye care professionals, pharmacies and other medical-related appointments.

Nonprofit organizations must enter their projects into the contest in order to participate. The Community Foundation is now accepting applications for its fourth and final round, featuring projects that address Central New York’s arts, culture, recreation and civic engagement needs, until October 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 www.cny85.org.

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 www.cnyvitals.org.

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 www.cnycf.org.

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