Community Foundation Gave Record $14 Million in Grants Last Year

July 5, 2017 – The Central New York Community Foundation awarded a record-breaking $14 million in grants between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017. This year’s grant award amount increased 28 percent over the same period one year ago, most of which was focused on the work of local charities. Over the course of its history, the organization has invested nearly $170 million in the community.

The awarded grants were distributed to address a number of local matters which included creating learning opportunities for adults and youth, advancing access to health care, strengthening the local safety net for vulnerable people, encouraging economic development, protecting local landscapes, ensuring animal welfare, and enhancing the region’s arts, culture and historic preservation efforts.

AccessCNY is one organization that has benefited recently from Community Foundation funding. A $35,000 grant will support renovations to the expanding David Clark Learning Center. The Center helps individuals with acquired brain injuries to relearn lost skills through art, music, writing and other creative activities.

This year the Community Foundation is celebrating its 90-year anniversary in addition to also reaching an all-time record asset level of $226 million, an 18 percent increase over the previous year. The past year’s growth is due to strong investment returns and an increase in donations. More than $23 million in new contributions came in over the year.

Of the total grants awarded from the Community Foundation last year, $7.4 million were distributed from donor-advised funds, which allow donors to suggest grant recipients and take part in the giving process. Grants can be made to any qualifying charity around the globe, but the majority is given to agencies in Central New York.

The rest of the awarded dollars were distributed through the Community Foundation’s broadly responsive Community Grantmaking program, which awards approximately $1.6 million in grants annually, as well as scholarship and designated funds. In addition, the Community Foundation provided $1 million in support to initiatives addressing a variety of needs in the community such as increasing literacy across the life span, reducing poverty and addressing lead paint exposure in the City of Syracuse.

“We pride ourselves in being a locally focused foundation that is nimble and responsive in the face of changing community needs,” said Community Foundation president & CEO, Peter Dunn.

While celebrating current growth, Community Foundation officials are also anticipating the tide may turn in the coming years when the wealth of today’s elders is handed down to their adult children, who are likely to make donations to agencies in their own regions of the country. Nearly $22 billion in wealth is expected to change hands from one generation to the next in Central New York over the next few years according to a Community Foundation commissioned study, potentially taking that money out of the community and away from local charities.

Through an ongoing campaign called 5forCNY, the Community Foundation is calling on residents to consider leaving a portion of their estates to its local endowment to ensure the continued support of local charities.

“Over the course of our history, people have put their faith in our ability to facilitate their charitable intentions,” said Dunn. “If everyone set aside even a small portion of their estate for charity, we could increase our support for local organizations and causes that will greatly improve the lives of our families, friends and future generations.”

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 more than $226 million. It awarded $14 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations. Since its inception, it has invested nearly $170 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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