Celebrating 10 Years of Grantmaking for Seniors Thanks to Carriage House Foundation Fund

Syracuse, NY – For more than 50 years, senior citizens from all over Onondaga County gathered in Syracuse at the Carriage House Community Center, formally known as the Wagon Wheel Senior Center, on Burnet Avenue to socialize, exercise, and even to prepare their taxes. The meal service, one of the most popular programs, provided thousands of meals daily to seniors who paid as little as $2.00 a day.

In 2003, the Center was forced to close because operating it had become too expensive. The leadership was determined to continue its mission despite its challenges, seeking a partner who could carry their mission into the future. The Carriage House Foundation found that partner in the Central New York Community Foundation and transferred its remaining assets to the Community Foundation for long-term stewardship. The Community Foundation was charged with carrying on the Carriage House’s mission:

“To provide food, services and supports to the elderly population of Syracuse
and surrounding neighborhoods.”

Much of the strength of the Central New York Community Foundation lies in the permanence of its funds. Specifically, there is great power in endowment funds, which preserve and invest the principal, and use a portion of the earnings for charitable giving. Over time, and through diligent management, the fund grows to exceed the original gift even after grants are made to support community programs. The Community Foundation offers an endowment calculator on its website at www.cnycf.org/endowment to help demonstrate how an endowment gift can support good work now while growing for the future.

“This is a perfect example of the power an endowment can have on a community when it follows a strict spending and investment policy,” said Peter Dunn, President and CEO of the Central New York Community Foundation. “Since it was established ten years ago, a total of $650,000 has been contributed to the fund. More than $200,000 in grants have been awarded from it and the fund still retains more than $700,000 for future projects.”

Original Carriage House Foundation members chose to be a part of the grantmaking decision process for this fund in its early days, and to this day enjoy hearing stories of the grants that are made from the fund. Today, the committee entrusts the needs assessment and grantmaking decisions to the Community Foundation. The fund continues to support grants for projects that support the needs of seniors through the Community Foundation’s community grantmaking process. Projects have included those that provide:

  • Basic needs such as food and shelter;
  • Access to affordable, quality health care; and
  • Entertainment programming that enhances quality of life.

Just a few of the many grant recipients from the past 10 years have included:

  • $3,500 for the Canton Woods Senior Center to purchase computers and a video magnification system to help seniors access library information;
  • $7,500 for the Francis House to purchase new oxygen manifold and patient beds;
  • $18,000 to the Alzheimer’s Association of CNY to renovate the kitchen facilities in the Kirkpatrick Day Program, and to provide a classical music program for persons with dementia residing in long-term care facilities;
  • $10,500 for the Home Aides of CNY to automate record keeping and allow health aides to access information via cell phone; and
  • $28,000 to the Jewish Family Services Bureau, Inc. for a community-based program to help seniors overcome depression and improve quality of life.

“For the past ten years, not-for-profit organizations that provide social and health issues to the elderly have benefited from the fund’s grantmaking,” said Constance Foote, Carriage House Fund committee member. “This has enabled many, many groups to meet their needs in working with the seniors in our community. I feel that it has been a wonderful way of continuing on with our mission now and into the future.”

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 $143 million. It awarded $8.3 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations and since its inception has invested more than $120 million in the community. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and corporations through the administration of more than 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. Visit www.cnycf.org.

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