Community Foundation Announces Black Equity & Excellence Advisory Council

The Central New York Community Foundation has launched a new Advisory Council for its racial equity funding priority. The Black Equity & Excellence Advisory Council is charged with reviewing grant proposals and making funding recommendations as well as identifying gaps and opportunities to create a more equitable and economically inclusive Central New York for the Black community. Members represent a cross-section of industries and backgrounds for varying viewpoints.

The Community Foundation launched the Black Equity & Excellence Fund this June to support projects that encourage self-sufficiency and improve the physical and economic conditions that affect Black community members’ quality of life. It also seeks to encourage dialogue that will strengthen collaborative engagement on race-related matters and support social and educational growth in the community.

The Black Equity & Excellence Fund Advisory Council members are:

Jalyn Clifford— Clifford has more than ten years of professional experience and is currently the Director of Human Resources for the Syracuse Housing Authority. She serves on the Board of Directors for LAUNCH CNY, is a member of the Junior League of Syracuse and serves on the Leadership Council of the Women’s Fund of Central New York.

Bishop Ronald Dewberry — Bishop Dewberry is the senior pastor and founder of New Life Temple of Praise and CEO of Center of Hope International, a charitable organization dedicated to financial literacy and economic development. He is also founder and host of the Minority & Women-owned Business Economic Empowerment Summit, the largest business summit of its kind in Central New York, and a former member of the board of the Community Foundation.

Dr. Tanisha M. Jackson — Dr. Jackson joined the Department of African American Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences at Syracuse University as the Executive Director of the Community Folk Art Center and a professor of practice in 2019. Jackson teaches classes in African Diaspora Art, including Art of the Black World and Contemporary Black Film. Jackson’s research focuses on the representation of Black women’s wellness in contemporary art and popular culture in multimedia and community spaces.

LaToya Jones — Jones is the regional healthcare organizer for Syracuse and Central New York with the Healthcare Education Project. She is described by her peers as a “changemaker” in the arena of healthcare and disability advocacy. Jones is a social justice advocate, influencer, educator, community connector, volunteer, and promoter of health and wellness within the Central New York community.

Naquia Lacey MSN, RN-BC — Lacey is a clinical leader at SUNY Upstate Medical Center where she is the Clinical Training Specialist at the Joslin Diabetes Center. Naquia is a product of the Syracuse community, graduating from Thomas J. Corcoran High School in 2010.

Minister Mark Muhammad — Minister Muhammad, a Syracuse native, is a citizen diplomat. He serves as the student representative of Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam in Syracuse. Mark received his Doctor of Education degree in Executive Leadership at St. John Fisher College in 2019. In addition, he holds associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Onondaga Community College, Cornell University and Syracuse University, respectively. Muhammad is an associate professor of Communication Studies at OCC and a part-time instructor at SU. He has been serving as an elected commissioner of education on the Syracuse City School District’s Board of Education since 2015.

Rahzie Seals — Seals is a promoter, organizer, and activist dedicated to social justice. Rahzie is one of many leaders in Black Lives Matter-Syracuse and is the founder of Black Cuse Pride, an organization committed to providing access to entertainment, community resources and creating an inclusive, welcoming environment for LGBTQIA+ people of color communities in Syracuse.

Black Equity & Excellence Fund
The Community Foundation’s Black Equity & Excellence fund was launched in June 2020 in response to the tragedies and ensuing national conversation on race that has brought to light a common truth – that anti-Black racism is still woven into the fabric of the country. The Fund supports community-based projects for the Black community of Central New York that promote and encourage self-sufficiency and improve the physical and economic conditions that affect quality of life. It also encourages dialogue that will strengthen collaborative engagement on race-related matters and support social and educational growth in the community.

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