Grant Awarded to Provide Children with Unforgettable Experience

Total of $333,944 in Grants Awarded to Nonprofits in Onondaga & Madison counties

July 13, 2016 –Although Alanna Jones grew up in a family of golfers, it was her love of the game that fueled her passion and continued play. Upon joining the First Tee of Syracuse’s golf program at age 10, she found out that the activity she loved so much was not something all children had the opportunity to play.

“I was fortunate to have the chance to play golf whenever I wanted as a child,” said Jones. “I was excited to participate in the First Tee’s first summer program in 2007, but was surprised when I realized many of the kids in my groups were experiencing their very first and only opportunity to attend summer camp or play golf.”

First Tee is a hands-on learning program for children ages 7 to 17 to participate in golf-related activities at the Butternut Creek Golf Course in Jamesville. Many of the children it serves are growing up in some of Syracuse’s most economically challenged neighborhoods, where the sport of golf is not readily accessible. Many children who attend the program are Syracuse City School District students. The organization promotes character development, life-enhancing values, healthy eating and exercise habits. During the summer months, youth partake in weekly golf camps. The children learn basic golf skills, interpersonal skills, self- management, goal-setting and resiliency.LostFile_JPG_45193984

With the help of a $50,000 Community Foundation grant, the First Tee will renovate and expand its club house. This is one of 18 grants the Community Foundation awarded during its summer round of Community Grants, which are awarded to nonprofit organizations serving the residents of Onondaga and Madison counties.

First Tee’s club house expansion  will provide a dedicated learning space that will allow children to participate in programs even when the weather doesn’t cooperate. The renovations also include new learning center classrooms, computer clusters and an open club room.

“The expansion will allow us to provide positive coaching and mentoring experiences to kids throughout the entire year,” said Peter Webber, Executive Director of First Tee. “It has been a wonderful opportunity for us and we’re delighted to have received the grant from the Community Foundation.”

The effective core values and lessons that Jones learned throughout her time as a participant in the program set her up with a strong educational background. She received a full academic and athletic scholarship to Long Island University where she is a current member of the golf team. She frequently volunteers her time for a number of nonprofit organizations in the community, and serves as a mentor to other children.

“When I began participating in the First Tee summer programs, I learned the integral skills I needed to not only succeed at golf, but to succeed at life,” said Jones. “I knew that I wanted to be a part of helping other children experience what I had.”LostFile_JPG_45451520

After 7 years as a participant in the program, Alanna transitioned into the role of an Assistant Coach, and has since become a Head Coach. She works alongside an experienced staff of golf pros, teachers, and mentors to assist children with improving their golf technique. Jones hopes to continue teaching them how golf can help lead the way to a successful life.

“It is amazing to see the growth in the children from the beginning of the camp to the end,” said Jones. “They don’t leave as professional golfers, but they leave with a unique experience and the confidence to know that they can reach the goals they set their mind to.”

At the conclusion of the summer, 700 children will have participated in the First Tee’s summer programs. The organization is exploring the possibility of expanding its program into additional counties once the club house renovations are complete.

To see additional photos please visit here.

The Community Foundation also awarded the following grants to local nonprofit organizations:

ARISE Child and Family Service received $25,000 to purchase an additional wheelchair-accessible van for the transportation of clients in its community habilitation program.

CNY Jazz Arts Foundation received $8,520 to develop video presentations of key arts-education skills for use in marketing campaigns.

CNY Library Resources Council received $15,000 to support its technology lending program to promote digital inclusion and literacy.

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor received $24,420 to expand the number of Onondaga and Madison county school children participating at sites through the Erie Canalway’s Ticket to Ride program.

Finger Lakes Land Trust received $46,000 to develop a nature preserve on an undeveloped shoreline on Otisco Lake.

Fiver Children’s Foundation received $8,130 to uncover and address unmet needs within the existing population of its Madison County youth.

Jubilee Homes of Syracuse received $8,250 to combat food insecurity by build a greenhouse at its Community Learning Farm.

Loretto Health & Rehabilitation Center received $26,000 to create outside walking paths and gardens for elders, staff and family members.

Madison County Department of Emergency Management received $5,000 to provide life-saving smoke alarms and weather alert radios to county residents in need.

Northeast Hawley Development Association received $17,000 to develop a strategic plan around a shared volunteer and community engagement strategy with the Syracuse Northeast Community Center.

Parkview Junior Academy received $5,500 to replace broken equipment and update its playground.

The Partnership for Community Development received $10,000 to promote community health and vitality by developing an interactive recreation website with information about outdoor amenities in Hamilton, NY.

Sarah’s Guest House received $10,000 to launch a marketing campaign to promote awareness of the organization.

Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School received $7,900 to implement  a program to develop collaboration among school, family, and community members for greater academic and social success.

Syracuse University Office of Sponsored Programs received $13,000 to support a photography and literacy project encouraging at-risk youth to create artwork to be permanently displayed in local community venues.

Town of Cazenovia received $11,692 to install interpretive features to educate the public about the unique technology at its micro-hydroelectricity site.

Visions for Change received $42,432 to expand its Choosing to Thrive program to incorporate a Housing Preparedness component.


These grants were awarded by the following field-of-interest funds, administered by the Community Foundation: Anonymous #33, Shirley M. Aubrey , Carriage House Foundation, Charles F. Brannock, M. Harold & Frances M. Dwyer, Educational Endowment, Viola M. Hall, Harold & Marion Edwards and O.M. Edwards Co., Environmental, John M. & Mary L. Gallinger, Marjorie D. Kienzle , Faith T. Knapp Memorial, George & Luella Krahl,  P-D Family, John F. Marsellus, Ralph Myron Sayer and Sophrona Davis Sayer Endowment, Small Grants, Spanfelner, William & Mary L. Thorpe Charitable, and Community Funds.

Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of permanent charitable endowments for the betterment of the region.  The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of nearly $193 million. It awarded $11 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations. Since its inception, it has invested nearly $150 million in the community. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and businesses through the administration of more than 700 funds. The organization also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen local nonprofits and address the region’s most pressing challenges.


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