Grassroot Leadership Awardees Announced

TLC press release photoNovember 16, 2012 (Syracuse, NY) – On November 8 The Leadership Classroom (TLC), a special initiative of the Central New York Community Foundation, awarded Haji Adan and Jai Subedi its first Grassroot Leadership Awards. TLC graduates who demonstrate success in advocating for and serving their neighborhood, ethnic groups or community were nominated for this award.

Participants of TLC learn advanced leadership skills alongside other neighborhood leaders in an interactive setting. These skills have been displayed beyond the classroom by these two individuals in the communities in which they live and work. Both awardees were nominated as strong community leaders who are invested in helping their communities grow, above and beyond normal levels of service.

Haji Adan, a native of Somalia, arrived in the United States as a refugee in May 2006. After his arrival in Syracuse, Haji helped form the Somali Bantu Community Association with others in the refugee community. His association has worked with the Syracuse City School District, Mayor, Police Chief, Commissioner of Social Service, hospitals, colleges, donors, churches and resettlement agencies to start a Saturday literacy program, as well as other programs that the association provides. He is now the Literacy Initiative Director and Community Relations Specialist for the Somali Bantu Community Association. Haji is a 2009 graduate of TLC.

Originally from Bhutan, Jai Subedi arrived in Syracuse in 2008 from a refugee camp in Nepal. Like Haji, Jai also took a leadership role when he arrived. Together with the other members of the Bhutanese refugee community of Syracuse, he helped found the Bhutanese Community Association in 2009, of which he is now Vice President. Along with his work for the Association, Jai is also a Case Manager at Interfaith Works Center for New Americans, helping refugees resettle in Syracuse. He is very civically engaged and collaborative – serving as a Citizen Cabinet member for the City of Syracuse, as President of the Butternut Police Center and on the advisory committee of the Chief of Police among many others. Jai is a 2010 graduate of TLC.

Both recipients received a grant award of $1,500 for their respective organizations.  The Leadership Classroom is a program for residents or grassroots groups that want to be active in improving the quality of life in their neighborhoods. Through intensive and interactive training sessions with other resident leaders, TLC teaches the practical skills that help make stronger, more effective neighborhood and grassroots leaders. Participants learn to build skills in leading groups and projects, learn more about neighborhood resources and how to gather community support. Much of the learning also occurs from interacting and building relationships with other leaders who are similarly involved in neighborhood work. Since 1993, the Community Foundation has provided skills and relationship training to over 200 grassroots leaders and volunteers from neighborhood associations and grassroots groups in the greater Syracuse area.

The Leadership Classroom is an initiative of the Central New York Community Foundation. Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of a permanent charitable endowment for the betterment of the region.  The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of more than $128 million. It awards close to $5.6 million in grants to nonprofit organizations annually and has invested more than $100 million in the community since its inception. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and corporations through the administration of nearly 600 funds. The organization also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen nonprofits that address the region’s most pressing challenges. For more information, visit

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