Sunday, May 31, 2009

How stimulus works for Central New York

Governor David Paterson offered the following editorial published by the Syracuse Post-Standard:

In the early years of the Great Depression, New York's economy was devastated. The unemployment rate soared to nearly 40 percent. Central New York was hit especially hard. From 1929 to 1933, Syracuse lost half its manufacturing jobs.

Yet New Yorkers did not give up. We banded together to create jobs and get our economy moving again. And, slowly but surely, we succeeded.

Federal, state and city efforts - including President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration - created thousands of jobs. In Syracuse, workers elevated the New York Central Railroad's tracks above street level, built the former MacArthur Stadium, restored Elmwood and Burnet Parks and more.

Today, we face the worst economic crisis our state has seen since the Great Depression. And, just like we did then, we have banded together in an historic effort to get our economy moving again.

As governor, my highest priority is to create jobs and put New Yorkers back to work - and we are succeeding.

Last Wednesday - the 100th day since Congress passed President Obama's economic stimulus package - we reached a significant milestone. We have allocated more than half of the economic stimulus funding we received for highway construction - and we have done so a full month ahead of the federally-mandated deadline.

Here in Central New York, in the weeks ahead, workers will begin resurfacing I-690, reconstructing Warren Road and repairing the bridge that carries Bartell Road over I-81.

Not only are we allocating this funding quickly, we are allocating it effectively. Funds are only being spent on shovel-ready projects - those for which work can begin immediately. Moreover, these projects have been selected by experts, such as the members of the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council, who know the infrastructure needs of this region best.

Finally, we are upholding the highest principles of transparency and accountability. The stimulus dollars are your dollars, and you deserve to know exactly how they are being spent. Through our Web site -

- New Yorkers can monitor how every dollar of stimulus funds has been spent and how many jobs have been created. We will not tolerate waste, fraud or abuse at any level of this process.

Overall, President Obama's economic stimulus plan will preserve or create 215,000 jobs in New York. Our state's management of the stimulus plan has been a model for the rest of the nation to follow. In fact, in a report released last week, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities held out New York as a model for effective management of economic stimulus funds.

In addition to projects that will create jobs in the short term, we are moving forward with a number of initiatives that will transform New York's economy and create jobs over the long term.

For example, thanks to stimulus funding, we are moving forward with a plan to build one of the nation's first high-speed rail lines in New York with a stop in Syracuse.

Stimulus funds are also bolstering our effort to make New York a global leader in the new clean energy economy. We have set one of the nation's most ambitious clean energy goals. By investing in greater energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy, we expect to create 50,000 jobs in New York by 2015.

And we are working to make New York more affordable. Earlier this month, I proposed a cap on state spending, and this week, I will submit legislation to cap property taxes. We must force government to live within its means, so families and businesses can afford to stay here, and new families and businesses can afford to locate here.

In the weeks and months ahead, we will continue allocating stimulus funding quickly, efficiently and transparently so we can create jobs and put people back to work as fast as possible. And we will lay the foundation for a new economy for New York, so we can revitalize our state for decades to come.

I am proud to be leading New York through this crisis, and I am confident that just as we have done in the past we will overcome it together.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Contact Community Services and Mental Health Association of Onondaga County

Contact Community Services, Inc. and the Mental Health Association of Onondaga County, Inc. have announced they are forming a strategic partnership that consolidates governance, management and administrative functions. This new structure will make the best use of combined resources to continue the organizations’ missions and commitments to the community, according to Robert Tyson, president of the board of directors of Contact Community Services, Inc. “Both organizations will operate in a more efficient and cost-effective manner, strengthening the capacity of both,” Tyson said. “By integrating functions, we can reduce overhead and focus more resources on programs.”

Using an integrated governance model, a single board of directors will provide the oversight and policy-setting functions for both organizations. Patricia Leone, executive director of Contact Community Services, will also serve as executive director of the Mental Health Association. The Mental Health Association will move to the Contact Community Services headquarters in East Syracuse. Its telephone number will remain the same.

Both organizations have provided Central New York with mental health support and services for decades. Established in 1971 as a volunteer-based telephone counseling service, today Contact Community Services annually serves over 30,000 people through a variety of mental and behavioral health programs, including afterschool programs, school-based mental/behavioral health services, 24-hour hotline, youth emergency services for mental health hotline, and other educational and support services. The Mental Health Association has been providing mental health information and referral, education and outreach programming, mental health advocacy and other support and assistance since 1962.

“The Mental Health Association and Contact Community Services are a good fit,” says Ms. Leone. “We both have excellent reputations in the community and have earned great respect from funders and clients. This arrangement will make us both stronger and more effective in developing and providing programming for individuals and organizations and improving the delivery of mental health services to our community. Our combined voice will be a powerful tool in advocacy."

“Given the current economic environment, this integration of governance and administration could become a model for other non-profit organizations in Central New York,” says Thomas Dennison, Mental Health Association board member and professor of practice at Maxwell School of Syracuse University. “The Mental Health Association and Contact Community Services have taken an innovative step, and I think we will see other agencies exploring collaborative models.”

Monday, May 25, 2009

Regional Cooperation: A Pathway to Economic Recovery

This is the third in NLC’s “An Economic View from Main Street” series of articles on topics and issues relating to cities and towns in the economic crisis.

Regional cooperation is a proven way to reduce costs, increase economic competitiveness, manage development impacts and create new opportunities and synergies between communities. This was true before the present economic crisis and is even more critical in a time of economic recession.

The long-term strength and stability of local jurisdictions depends on an economic region with a climate for growth, cultivated local assets and healthy, productive residents and businesses. As part of the national economic recovery strategy, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) supports these critical investments in regional development.

Significant funding is being made available for innovation, workforce development and education, infrastructure, energy efficiency and neighborhood stabilization. While not explicitly requiring a coordinated approach, ARRA presents an opportunity to local officials and other regional stakeholders to utilize and enhance current regional governance, or where networks are not in place, to develop new relationships across jurisdictions and sectors.

For example, in the Birmingham-Hoover, Ala. region, local elected officials formed the Alabama Green Initiative (AGI) to jointly pursue federal stimulus funding for projects that enhance sustainable community development, including: recycling; bio-fuel conversion; Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification; infrastructure improvements; and energy conservation.

Leaders in the Mahoning Valley, Ohio region collaborated for a $20 million federal stimulus grant to expand a rail line; a project that regional leaders say is critical to their future economic success and one that could not have moved forward without a joint effort.

Cities also cooperate with each other and other sectors as a way to share costs for services, particularly given decreases in their tax base as a result of the recession.

Suburban municipalities in southeastern Michigan have joined with a non profit organization specializing in weatherization and a local energy provider to develop the Regional Energy Office. The purpose of the office is to help smaller communities in the region identify and implement efficiency improvements on their aging municipal infrastructure. Aggregated purchasing and centralized administrative support allow the communities to take steps toward energy efficiency more affordably than they could on their own.

Other regions have been promoting regional cooperation for many years as a way to increase their competitive positions and to restructure their economies. For example, since 1959 the Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse and Central New York Inc., (MDA) has been a catalyst for redevelopment of the region by working with local governments and the private sector to attract and create industries with high growth potential.

Robert Simpson, president and CEO of MDA, offered several “lessons learned” to local officials based on the success of MDA’s regional economic development plan, the Essential New York Initiative, including:
  • Forge a unified vision for the region;
  • Foster an entrepreneurial climate that encourages innovation and adaptation;
  • Leverage educational assets, including colleges and universities;
  • Facilitate collaboration within industry sectors;
  • Participate in regional organizations even if they cannot or do not drive the regional economic development agenda; participation builds trust and respect; and
  • Take advantage of the credibility and visibility of your local government by supporting the regional initiatives, even if that means following rather than leading.
Although the barriers to regional cooperation, including lack of trust among leaders in the region, disparate community goals or inability to agree on a particular regional strategy, are very real, the immediate and long-term benefits may prove worthy of the effort.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Westcott Community Center presents 2009 Art Trail

The Westcott Community Center's art fair has grown to one of the finest arts & craft offerings in Syracuse. This year we are having 60+ artists, of extraordinary quality, in 18 locations around the neighborhood. Here at the Center we will be hosting the Lost Boys of Sudan and their ceramic cows along with at least 7+ other artists. We will be offering a selection of Cabot cheeses and other refreshments including a bake sale for our youth programming. In addition a Farmer's Market will be set up by a local farmer. The event is a lot of fun and very well attended.We hope you can make it.

Contacts: Lauren Ritchie, 315-472-0108
Steve Susman, 315-478-8634

EVENT: The Westcott Art Trail
June 6th, 10 - 5, June 7th 12 - 5
Art Trail Maps are available on line at
Cost: FREE

Jobs decrease, but Syracuse unemployment down

Private-sector employers continued to cut jobs across the Empire State, but the unemployment rate improved slightly from March to April, according to the latest monthly report issued today by the New York State Department of Labor.

The state's seasonally adjusted private-sector job count decreased over the month by 15,600, or 0.2 percent, to 7,125,200 in April 2009. Since the state's private-sector job count peaked in August 2008, New York has lost 189,000 private-sector positions, erasing almost half of the 400,000 jobs added during the state's last economic expansion from 2003 to 2008.

The unemployment rate improved slightly from 7.8 percent in March to 7.7 in April. That compares to 5 percent in April 2008.

The job picture was similar in Central New York's main cities in April, but with unemployment rates improving by larger margins compared to the March numbers.

In Syracuse, the number of private-sector jobs fell by 4,200 in the past year. The area's unemployment rate was 7.7 percent in April, compared with 8.5 percent in March and 4.8 percent a year ago.

In the Utica-Rome area, the number of private-sector jobs decreased by 1,100 over the last 12 months. The area's unemployment rate was 7.4 percent, down from 8.3 percent in March, and up from 5.1 percent a year ago.

In the Binghamton region, the number of private-sector jobs decreased by 2,500 over the last year. The area's unemployment rate was 7.7 percent in April, compared with 8.6 percent in March and 4.8 percent a year ago.

The nation's unemployment rate was 8.9 percent in April, up from 8.5 percent in March and 5 percent a year ago.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nonprofit Board Benchmark Report

The Human Services Leadership Council was recently contacted with the following request:

I am a research consultant working with the InterFaith Works organization. We are compiling non-profit board representation data for the 2009 Community Benchmark Report. As one of the largest non-profits in Syracuse and Onondaga County we would like your assistance to ensure we have the most accurate data to provide.

Can you please respond to this email with a list of your current board members and also denote which individuals are non-white minorities? Information collected will not reveal any organization’s name or board members. We are only using this data to quantify information for the Syracuse area. We appreciate your assistance!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me via e-mail or by phone at (210) 386-6367.

Luis Toledo
Research Consultant
Interfaith Works

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Get Health Connected

FREE Health Tests

Saturday, May 30, 2009
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
OnCenter Convention Center

Get Health Connected is a consortium of local health agencies and hospitals.
FREE Health Tests:
• Blood Pressure
• Diabetes
• Pap Test*
• Pelvic Exam
• Kidney Test
• Colorectal
• Cholesterol
• Mammogram*
• Breast Exam
• Vision
• Prostate*
• Pulmonary Function
• FREE Food
• FREE Parking
• FREE Centro Bus Transportation*
*Call for an appointment or for information 315-435-3653

This event is for people age 18 and older.
Public Health Insurance enrollment available

Thursday, May 14, 2009

USDA awards SU grant for training, new Web site

The Central NY Business Journal reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded the Environmental Finance Center at Syracuse University a grant of $190,000.

The center will use the money to offer training, outreach, and technical assistance to rural and low-income communities to encourage better land usage and improved water quality.

In addition, the award will help the center launch a new Web site that will focus on trading low-value, agricultural waste products, such as manure, hay, and farm equipment.

The program will help farmers manage waste supplies through the online resource.

The grant will also allow the center to develop collaborations among government officials, nonprofit, and private-sector programs that provide technical assistance.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

TRANS-forming Views of Gender: How do you Identify? Training

Registrations are now being accepted for “TRANS-forming Views of Gender: How Do You Identify?,” an interactive workshop designed for Community Service Providers and LGBT Community Members. This workshop will be held on Friday, June 5, 2009 from 10 am to 4 pm (registration begins at 9:30 am) at the Genesee Grande Hotel, 1060 East Genesee St., Syracuse, NY. Light morning snacks/refreshments and lunch will be served. This workshop is free and open to the public. This workshop will involve a series of activities to lead participants to explore their own concepts of gender:
  • What messages do we receive about what it means to be a female or male?
  • What is the difference between sex, gender and orientation?
  • What does it mean to be Transgender, Genderqueer or Interesexed?
  • What are some of the language issues around gender?
  • What are some of the issues around Non-trans Privilege?
  • How can we become Trans-Allies?
This workshop will also briefly touch upon some of the Health and Legal Issues that touch people that identify as transgender. By the end of the training participants will be able to:
  • Understand terminology related to gender and transgender.
  • Understand the concept of Non-Trans Privilege and name 3 ways non-trans privilege influences the way transgender people are treated.
  • List 3 ways in which participants can become allies for people who identify as transgender.
To register for this free workshop, please call CNY HSA at (315) 472-8099 or email your request to
Brought to you by: CNYHSA / CNY HIV Care Network / Syracuse Area HIV/AIDS Technical Assistance Program, REACH CNY and Heart of New York Community Health Educators (HONY)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

CNY child care sites report falling enrollments

The Post-Standard reported on the economy's impact on child care providers across the country and in Central New York, as parents face furloughs, pay cuts and layoffs.

Nationwide, nearly half the home-based providers and 27 percent of child care centers are feeling a drop in business, according to a survey by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.

The impact of the recession is widespread throughout Cayuga, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties.

"Anecdotally, we have had several programs tell us that they have had parents who have gone from full time to part time, and they are using family members to supplement. They are doing that to reduce their child care costs," said Peggy Liuzzi, executive director of Child Care Solutions, Onondaga County's nonprofit child care referral agency.

The Post-Standard's Gina Chen has more on how daycare providers in CNY are coping in the recession.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Leadership Change at Leukemia & Lymphomy Society

Quentin Lockwood, Jr. "Chip" will be retiring from being the Executive Director of the Central New York Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on May 15.

Human Services Leadership Council Meeting Set for May 8th

Human Services Leadership Council meets this Friday, May 8 at 8 – 9:30 in the usual meeting place (United Way building; 518 James Street; Rosamond Gifford basement conference room).

Agenda: Presentation of “Impact of 23 Onondaga County Not For Profits: 2007-2008”. This is the study commissioned by HSLC, with major support by Food Bank of Central New York. Jeff Grimshaw of SUNY Oswego will share the first draft of the report.

Meals on Wheels of Syracuse: 50 Years of Service

Meals on Wheels of Syracuse was organized on May 20, 1959 as the fourth meals on wheels program in the United States. It is celebrating 50 years of service to the community in 2009.

As far back as 1956, the Council on Aging became aware of the need for community service which would enable seniors to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible. With a grant from the NYS Health Department, a Founding Committee was established to develop and operate a meals program in Syracuse under the auspice of the United Community Chest ad Council of Social Agencies (today’s United Way). In December 1958, a Planning Committee of the Council of Social Agencies received and provided a three-year demonstration project grant of $12,265 from the Rosamond Gifford Charitable Foundation to the meals program Founding Committee for operations. The Syracuse Housing Authority provided kitchen space at 418 Fabius Street (James Geddes Apartments). Equipment was purchased and a part-time Administrator and Cook were hired. The Founding Committee was dissolved into an Operating Committee.

On May 20, 1959, the Meals on Wheels Program in Syracuse began service to eight people daily. In 6 months, 50 people were being served hot and cold meals five days a week for $1.25 daily. From the beginning the program depended on volunteers to package and deliver meals. Seven volunteers grew to 75 volunteers within 7 months.

In June 1961, the program became affiliated with Midtown Hospital after the Community Chest and Council were reorganized. The three-year demonstration grant ended about that time; after 31,000 meals were served. Midtown Hospital provided accounting and secretarial support through 1970. In 1970, the Meals on Wheels Committee completed an incorporation process. In June 1970, “Meals on Wheels of Syracuse, New York Inc.” became a private not-for-profit.

MOW doubled its meal recipients by obtaining funding for low income seniors in 1974 for those with Supplemental Security Income (SSI); in 1980 through federal funding; and in 1984 through New York State Funding. We expanded our service area to Brighton Towers residence, the Onondaga Nation and other portions of Southern Onondaga County in the 1990’s.

In 2008, MOW served 218, 993 meals (more meals than any other year except 2006) to 831 of our homebound neighbors. For all its accomplishments in 2008, MOW of Syracuse was selected the runner-up finalist for 2009 Non-Profit of the Year by the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce. In this decade, MOW will serve more than 2 million meals. With a budget of $1 million dollars, a staff of 20, and a corps of more than 350 dedicated volunteers, we have come a long way!

1960’s- 354,000 meals (estimate)
1970’s – 726,000 meals (estimate)
1980’s – 1.3 million meals served
1990’s - 1.87 million meals served
2000’s – 2.01 million meals will be served

Meals served over 50 years – 6.26 million meals

Sunday, May 3, 2009

CNY Nonprofit Golf Tournaments: Comprehensive List

The Syracuse Post-Standard put a comprehensive list together of nonprofit golf tournaments scheduled this season in Central New York. Included are location, golf format, cost for one player, a contact phone number and/or e-mail address and/or Web site and the net amount the tournament earned in 2008. Click here for the article posted to the Post-Standard Divots blog or here for the sixteen-page list.

Use this list for planning purposes or as evidence to think carefully about planning a golf tournament as a new fundraiser this year.

NYS Senate: Notice of Public Hearing

Notice of Public Hearing

New York State Senate Standing Committee on Elections
Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

Senator Martin Malave Dilan Senator Thomas W. Libous
Senator Jose M. Serrano Senator Joseph A. Griffo
Senator Brian X. Foley Senator Thomas P. Morahan

SUBJECT: To address a number of proposals to update and reform the state’s registration laws and regulations governing casting a ballot and polling places.

May 14, 2009
10A.M. -1 PM.
Syracuse Common Council Chambers
233 East Washington Street
City Hall
4th Floor
Syracuse, New York 13202

The goal of these hearings is to open the legislative process to the public, listen to its thoughts and ideas about proposed election reforms and reinvigorate participatory democracy. The May hearings in Albany (May 11) and Syracuse (May 14) are the second set in a series of five that will continue in June, September and November. In those hearings, the Elections Committee will consider campaign finance reform; Board of Elections oversight; additional election law reforms; and oversight of the November elections.

This dialogue between lawmakers and the public is part of the Senate’s commitment to beginning a robust committee process, developing sound public policy through open dialogue, and creating transparency in legislative process.

The purpose of the hearings in Albany on May 11th, and in Syracuse on May 14th, is to seek public comment on following bills:
  • S3250 The “Early Voting Act,” which would allow voters to cast a ballot at the county board of elections from 14 days before an election until one day before.
  • S5028 Amends the Constitution to allow no-excuse absentee voting by removing the restrictions on a voter's right to vote by absentee ballot.
  • S2868-a Eliminates the requirement that voters who request an absentee ballot disclose private and personal information about why they cannot vote at their polling station.
  • S1701 Requires affidavit ballots to be counted if a voter appears at a polling place in the correct county but in the incorrect election district.
  • S1058-a Requires that all polling places be accessible to the disabled.
  • S1386-a Authorizes the board of elections to employ election inspectors to work half-day shifts with adjusted compensation.
  • S2443 Requires poll workers to inform voters who are not in poll books of their correct polling place and election district within the county, and provides poll workers with sufficient maps and address finders to do so.
  • S5112 Requires that paper ballots have a box, oval or other area that the voter can mark to alert the voting system that all “undervotes” are intentional.

Persons who wish to attend or testify should call Bernadette Oliver at (518) 455-2310, and fill out and return the attached reply form by May 11th via fax. The Elections Committee will accommodate as many witnesses as possible, and encourages the submission of written testimony, which will considered and made part of the hearing record. Written testimony should be e-mailed no later than May 11th as an attachment in any common format to:

Witnesses are requested to keep their oral testimony to no more than five minutes in length, and to please bring 10 copies of their prepared statement to the hearing.

In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the New York State Senate has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. Accommodations will be provided for individuals with disabilities upon reasonable request to afford such individuals access and admission to Senate facilities and activities.

Questions about this hearing may be directed to Bernadette Oliver at (518) 455-2310 or

Friday, May 1, 2009

Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation Offers a Fundraiser Twist

During difficult times, creativity is a necessity in raising money for mission. And when we raise money with a mission-based activity, even better. Here is a great example of a mission-based fundraiser from the The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation (a museum and historic house). A creative idea, this is an example for any nonprofit to learn from.

"Meet the woman who was ahead of the women who were ahead of their time." --Gloria Steinem Join Gloria for an intimate afternoon tea in her apartment to celebrate the ideas of a 19th-century radical feminist that will transform the 21st century

May 31, 2009
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
East Side, New York City $500- $2,000

Seating limited to first 30 people with paid reservations

In this living room, where many historic meetings of the Second Wave have been held ever since the late 1960s, Gloria will talk and answer questions about past events and future hopes. Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner will also reflect on new discoveries about the origins of the First Wave of feminism.
A benefit for the Matilda Joslyn Gage Home Restoration Campaign
- Coline Jenkins, descendant of Elizabeth Cady Stanton
- Jennifer Baumgardner, third-wave feminist activist- Louise Bernikow, History Consultant for Women's eNews- Michael Patrick Hearn, L. Frank Baum biographer
- Sally Roesch Wagner, Ph.D., Executive Director, Gage Foundation
The proceeds from this day will help us to complete the restoration of the Gage Home Museum by January 1, 2010, and begin a program of education and dialogue on the basic issues of peace and freedom that Gage championed. Each of the major rooms will be dedicated to one such area: women's rights, the Haudenosaunee who inspired early feminists, slavery and the Underground Railroad, religious freedom, and the feminist utopia that Gage imagined and inspired her son-in-law to write about for children in his Wizard of Oz series. (For background on Gage, go to )

Your monetary gift will be matched, dollar for dollar, by a secured grant from New York State. The monies will be used to restore and interpret the home of Matilda Joslyn Gage, and gifts will be tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. For more information about the Steinem tea, contact:
The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation
(315) 637-9511