COVID-19: CNYCF and Philanthropy Center Update

COVID-19 Response: Operating with Intention

As our local community continues to navigate the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the health and safety of our partners, staff, and neighbors are always our top priorities. We are taking precautions in a way that allows us to continue our work, help those in need of resources and contribute to efforts that will limit the spread of the virus.

Below you will find updates on steps the Central New York Community Foundation and CNY Philanthropy Center are taking to operate with intention.

CNY Philanthropy Center Room Usage
We are canceling all external organizations’ meetings and events at the CNY Philanthropy Center until June 30, at which time we will reassess based on the most current information.

Community Foundation Operations & Events
The majority of our workforce is working remotely during the New York State on PAUSE Executive Order. While we take these necessary health precautions, our work for this community must not stop.

What this means for you:

  • You can still reach our team members via their office numbers and email addresses.
  • We will continue to accept and process gifts and issue grants. We will prioritize grants to local organizations affected by COVID-19.
  • Previously scheduled live meetings will be changed to video or telephone conferences or rescheduled for a later date.

In addition, the Community Foundation operations that pertain to the newly created COVID-19 Community Support Fund, and our support to local nonprofits providing essential community aid, have been designated as essential business by New York State. This designation allows some of our staff to be excluded from the New York State on PAUSE Executive Order to the extent we are working on essential services.

If you have questions about our business operations during this time, please contact Kimberly Sadowski, Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer.

Nonprofits Applying for April Community Grant Round

During this time of unprecedented uncertainty, we want you to know that we are still here for you. We know that now more than ever, the nonprofit community is stretched to meet the needs of those it serves. With this in mind, we have taken the following steps to help ease some of the burden during this time:

  • Created the COVID-19 Community Response Fund with our partners to respond to urgent basic human needs
  • Will continue to have responsive April and October grant rounds, though the parameters around requests will be much more flexible and could include general operating dollars to organizations directly impacted by the COVID pandemic
  • For those with open grants with us, we will consider variance requests that could involve repurposing for operations and/or timeline extensions

To discuss any of these options, or any other matter, please contact us as

How you Can Help
We exist to serve our community, especially in times of critical need. Our hearts go out to the individuals and organizations most impacted by COVID-19. As we work together to address their greatest needs, here are a couple of options to help:

  1. In challenging times, those affected first are often agencies serving the most vulnerable among us with food, housing, healthcare and basic needs. That is why we have partnered with United Way of Central New York, Allyn Foundation, The Dorothy and Marshall M. Reisman Foundation, Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County, as well as other partners, to establish a COVID-19 Community Support Fund to aid nonprofit organizations working with communities that are disproportionately impacted by the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Please consider giving to this fund, as we will be making grants for various needs in our region, both in the immediate- and long-term.
  2. It is important to remember that all Central New York nonprofits will need our help in the days, weeks and months to come, regardless of how directly they are involved with response to the virus. We encourage you to keep supporting your favorite charities – especially those directly impacted after having to cancel programs, performances, events and fundraisers.

NOTE: Donor-Advised Fundholders at the Community Foundation can make a grant to the COVID-19 Community Support Fund, or directly to your favorite organizations, through MyGiving or by emailing or calling Monica Merante at (315) 883-5541. Again, we will prioritize grants to local nonprofits affected by COVID-19 and encourage our fundholders to focus their grantmaking in this way as well.

Investment Performance
In this time of market volatility, our active, experienced finance committee and investment consultant are paying careful attention to the market and our investments. As you know, we have responsible investment policies and strategies in place. We want to assure fundholders that the Community Foundation focuses on making investments with an eye toward the long-term and sustaining the well-being of our region. We will continue to monitor our investments closely, with a disciplined approach focused on long-term goals.

We have seen time and again the strength and resilience of our Central New York community. Thank you for standing with us to support the needs of our neighbors and those working to help them. This crisis reminds us all that, in one way or another, we are all each other’s neighbor. We remain deeply grateful for your partnership in this work.

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