Monday, January 31, 2011

40 Below Partner, the CNY Political Leadership Institute, Announces 2011 Session

Although 40 Below has remained an apolitical organization since its creation, we have never hesitated to provide opportunities for 40 Belowers to be more engaged and informed about politics in Central New York. It is for this reason that we've partnered with the Central New York Political Leadership Institute on programming a portion of our Statewide Summit ( The CNY Political Leadership Institute is a non partisan group that offers a political training course, consisting of eight sessions, that teaches participants the basic skills necessary for running a campaign for office.

If you have always been interested in getting politically involved in your community we recommend you attend the We Live NY Summit and sign up for the CNY Political Leadership Institute's full course. Registration is now open for the weekly course, which starts on February 9th and ends on March 30th, and additional information is available at

Friday, January 28, 2011

Syracuse mayor to Albany: Since you can't give us money, give us reform reported that mayor Stephanie Miner said she slashed $15.3 million in city operating costs last year and plans more savings this year, but the city may drown anyway in the coming fiscal storm unless New York state comes to its aid.

In her second State of the City Address, delivered tonight at the Everson Museum of Art, Miner laid out optimistic plans for the future. But she also warned that Syracuse faces dire consequences if the state cannot help the city cut its personnel costs.

She made clear that she doesn’t expect more money from Albany. She expects reform. “Despite the aggressive steps my administration has taken to cut costs, we are beholden to Albany to help us right our fiscal ship,” Miner said.

The state provides more than half of the money to run Syracuse and its school district — $339 million out of a combined budget of $633 million. Miner anticipates a significant cut in state aid this year, but said Albany can make up for it with reforms.

Specifically, she called on state leaders to impose an emergency salary freeze on public employees, including municipal workers; to enact pension reforms that cut expenses; and to require arbitrators to weigh the impact on taxpayers when resolving disputes between the city and its unions.

Salaries and benefits account for at least 70 percent of the city’s costs. The state must “change the rules” so the city can bring those costs under control, Miner said following the speech. “If you can’t give us money, give us reform,” she said.

The mayor ruled out raising property taxes as a way to solve the city’s money troubles. “Our families cannot afford any further increases,” she said, noting that the average home in Syracuse is assessed at just $69,906.

Despite warning that the “day of reckoning” has arrived, Miner’s 40-minute speech offered an upbeat vision of new opportunities arising from crisis.

She outlined several initiatives under way that will help modernize city government and make it perform better, including:

• Miner’s administration has changed the way the city handles a federal Community Development Block Grant of more than $8 million. The city has cut back on the amount of money it uses for administrative costs, freeing up $1 million for housing initiatives. Grants will be awarded to a smaller number of targeted projects, rather than distributing money to a wide variety of nonprofit agencies. Details of this year’s grant proposal will be released by the city today.

• Miner is seeking bids for a private contractor to provide security at the airport instead of paying overtime to city police officers. The switch won’t save the city money, but it may help reduce costs for airlines and help lower fares, she said.

• The division of code enforcement will install new software to replace a cumbersome, paper-based case management system.

• The city will modernize the “city line” that residents call to report problems or request service, implementing new software for online requests and to enable tracking of results.

• Miner plans to undertake a “comprehensive sustainability plan” that will contain strategies to enhance urban forestry, stormwater management, alternative energy, green building and other environmental goals.

• The City of Syracuse
Facebook page and YouTube channel were unveiled Thursday. Miner said the city will use social media to provide timely information about water main breaks, trash pickups and street closings, among other things. Videos also will be posted online.

During the past year, Miner said, she has taken significant steps to cut personnel and to reduce overtime costs. More than 180 jobs have been vacated through budget cuts and an early retirement program, yielding annual savings of $7 million.

During 2010, non-uniformed overtime expenses were reduced $1.1 million, almost 30 percent, she said. Police overtime also was cut by $1.1 million. Firefighter overtime increased because of vacancies in the department, which produced a net savings.

Miner was greeted with a standing ovation by a crowd of roughly 250 people, before and after the speech.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Nonprofit Awards 2011

Celebrate the exceptional accomplishments of the leaders driving the area’s nonprofit organizations (NPOs) by nominating someone you know for one of our Nonprofit Awards. BizEventz and the Central New York Business Journal believe that these leaders deserve to be recognized for outstanding accomplishments on behalf of their organizations. With the support of M&T Bank, on March 28th, we’ve planned The Nonprofit Awards Luncheon. Award recipients will be honored for excellence, leadership, fiduciary responsibility, management practices, creativity, impact, and business acumen.

Nominations are due February 10, 2011. Click here to nominate.

Executive of the Year: Submit nominations for nonprofit executives (president, CEO, executive director) who exhibit leadership, planning skills, strong staff growth, board development, solid fiscal management, and increased fund-raising.

Board Leadership: Nominee is a lay leader of the board of directors. He/she may be a present or past president of the board, long-term board member, and/or major contributor. Cite how the nominee strengthened the organization, implemented the corporate mission or vision, and enhanced the strategic plan.

Board Development: Nonimee is a lay leader of the board of directors, who "grew" the organization through fund-raising or through dynamic ideas, which improved operations. Nominee's efforts enhanced the board through a higher level of participation.

Impact Award: Nominee may be an employee of the NPO, a board member, or a volunteer, who created and/or implemented a new or exisiting program that not only changes the organization but also the community.

Career Achievement: Nominee is a lay leader who makes a lifetime commitment to the community by advocating for NPOs and by dedicating his/her time and resources for the betterment of the commonweal.

Luncheon Information
Date: March 28, 2011
Time: 11:00am-2:00pm
Location: Double Tree Hotel, Syracuse NY

This event is made possible by M&T Bank, Business Journal, Classic Hits Sunny 102, YNN, and Wells Fargo Advisors

Don’t get burned. File the 501(h) election!

With much of America gripped by below-freezing weather this winter, it’s nice to imagine being on a sunny beach, with white sand all around, gentle island breezes playing in your hair, and nothing for miles but a cloudless blue sky.

Did you bring your sunscreen?

Reality check – whether freezing or on a beach – you still want to protect your nonprofit from getting burned.

Filing the 501(h) election protects nonprofits from being burned.
By filing one simple form, IRS Form 5768, a charitable nonprofit can protect itself from penalties for engaging in "too much" lobbying. (Charitable nonprofits can lobby; read why lobbying is legal.) A charitable nonprofit can only spend an insubstantial amount of its activities on lobbying. But there is a hazy ill-defined line between what "activities" are considered "substantial" and which are "insubstantial." Here’s where the sunscreen comes in. By filing IRS Form 5768 (also referred to as "taking the 501(h) election") instead of being judged by the uncertain “substantial part” test that evaluates undefined "activities" -- your nonprofit will have the added protection of being evaluated with a more specific test called the “expenditure” test that offers a bright line based on how much money the nonprofit spends on its lobbying activities. If you don’t take the 501(h) election, it’s li! ke guessing how long to stay in the sun before you’ll get a sun burn.

Read all about the advantages of taking the 501(h) election on the National Council’s website. (Note: Private foundations, churches, and integrated auxiliaries of churches are not permitted to file the 501(h) election.)

It’s so simple and effective that some nonprofit practitioners have called it the "cheapest and best insurance on the planet." Indeed, we wonder why more nonprofits don’t use this easy process. Once a nonprofit files the 501(h) election by completing Form 5768, it simply reports annually how much money it spent during the year on lobbying activities on Form 990, Schedule C. As long as the nonprofit’s expenditures are within the acceptable (and generous limits) established by law, the nonprofit is protected. However, if it does not file Form 5768, not only is the reporting to the IRS more detailed, but the IRS will decide, based on uncertain criteria, whether the charitable nonprofit’s lobbying activities are “substantial” or not. Because the IRS has never defined how much is “too much,” the results of this analysis are uncertain. Why not file the! 501(h) election and be sure?

Start off the New Year by protecting your nonprofit with the 501(h) election – it’s easier than putting on sunscreen. (You only have to do it once!)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Nonproft Program Offers Governance and Financial Report Update

Not-For-Profit Conference
Date: January 18, 2011
Place: Doubletree Hotel, Carrier Circle
Time: Registration 8:30 AM, Program: 8:50 Am - 12:30 PM
Cost: Free

Topics inlcude:
2010 Financial Reporting and Corporate Governance Update
Board Responsibilities
The 'ART' of Budgeting your risk management responsibilities
2010 Federal and State Tax update

Register or email:

Conference sponsored by Dannible & McKee, LLP

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hospital Merger Talks Continue and Public Forum Announced

The Syracuse Post-Standard related that Community General Hospital continued to lose money and patients last year, underscoring concerns about its ability to survive unless it is taken over by Upstate Medical University.
Community lost about $2 million in 2010, the fifth consecutive year of operating losses, according to a report by Moody’s Investors Services.

The number of inpatients also dropped for the fourth year in a row, the report said. The hospital’s deteriorating financial health prompted Moody’s to downgrade Community’s bond rating on Dec. 23 from B2 to Caa1, which means the agency considers Community’s ability to repay its debt very weak.

The nonprofit 306-bed hospital on Onondaga Hill has been in merger talks with Upstate since May. Upstate’s goal is to have a purchase agreement in place by July 1. Without a takeover by Upstate, Community may not survive, said Dr. John McCabe, chief executive officer of Upstate University Hospital.

“If we weren’t doing this, 1,100 jobs might disappear from the Syracuse community,” McCabe said.

Upstate, part of the State University of New York, is an academic medical center with a 409-bed teaching hospital and colleges of medicine, nursing, health-related professions and graduate studies. Upstate’s hospital is full and it wants more beds so it can expand enrollment in its schools, provide more clinical training sites for students and at the same time preserve services at Community.

“This is not a hospital acquiring a hospital, it’s a university acquiring a hospital,” McCabe said. “This is designed to expand our educational and research footprint so we can train more primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants and other health professionals.”
Community is the smallest of Syracuse’s four acute care hospitals serving the general public. Inpatient volume at Community between January and November of 2010 dropped 9.2 percent compared to the same 11-month period of 2009, according to the Hospital Executive Council, a local hospital planning agency. That decline came while overall inpatient volume at the city’s four hospitals grew 5.7 percent.

The number of inpatients dropped because some older doctors have left and not been replaced by their medical groups, said Tom Quinn, Community’s president and chief executive officer. At the same time, Community is facing increased competition from other hospitals and outpatient surgery centers, he said. Those same factors were behind Community’s decision to become part of a larger hospital system, he said.

“It’s not a place that’s flailing or failing,” Quinn said. “I think we have shown ourselves to be very resilient.”

The hospital has made incremental improvements that have led to growth in orthopedics, rehabilitation and some other services, Quinn said. It also has the lowest rate of inpatient complications of any hospital in the city, according to Ron Lagoe, executive director of the Hospital Executive Council.

Click here to learn more

Public Forum Offered
A public forum on the proposed Upstate-Community General merger will take place 6 p.m. Jan. 20 at the CNY Philanthropy Center, 431 E. Fayette St., Syracuse. It will feature presentations by Dr. John McCabe, CEO of Upstate University Hospital, and Tom Quinn, president and CEO of Community General. A period for public comment, questions and discussion will follow the presentation. The forum will be co-hosted by the Central New York Health Systems Agency and the Health Advancement Collaborative of Central New York.

Online: Upstate and Community General have created a website with information about the proposed merger:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Human Services Leadership Council Meeting January 14th

The next meeting of the Human Services Leadership Council will be
Friday, January 14, 2011
8:00 – 9:30 AM
United Way Building
518 James Street

Human Services Leadership Council
January 14, 2011
518 James Street; Rosamond Gifford Conference Room in basement
(enter from rear of building)

8 – 9:30 a.m.

Upcoming meetings: March 11, May 13

Introductions (with announcements)

Main Program – Guest: Linda Lopez (ON CARE)

Linda Lopez will provide an overview and update regarding ON CARE, a collaborative system of caring and support that seeks to provide what families need for their children and youth with emotional or behavioral challenges to be happy and successful in home, school and the community.

Chair’s report: Randi Bregman

Treasurer’s Report: Mason Kaufman

Committee announcements:
Liz Nolan
Mike Melara

Community/ Business Communications:
Sara Wall-Bollinger
Michael Crinnin

Internal Communications and Networking:
Aggie Glavin

Program and Training:
Susan Horn
Marsha Weissman

Randi K. Bregman
Executive Director
Vera House, Inc.
6181 Thompson Road, Suite 100
Syracuse, New York 13206
(315) 425-0818 ex. 204
24 hour support lines
(315) 468-3260/ (315) 422-7273

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


January 4, 2011 – The Central New York Community Foundation has announced this year’s Marsellus Sabbatical grant recipients. The John F. Marsellus Sabbatical Program awards two grants a year to nonprofit executives seeking personal and professional growth. The program provides executives with a stipend to research, study and reflect for a period of four weeks.

This year’s recipients are:

Barbara Henderson, Executive Director, Cazenovia Area Community Development Association (CACDA). Barbara will attend Harvard University’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations and Harvard Business School’s Social Enterprise Initiative’s Performance Measurement for Effective Management of Nonprofit Organizations.

“Directing a small nonprofit is very rewarding, yet often exhausting, especially when the director also serves as the main staff person,” said Henderson. “The sabbatical’s potential impacts on the organization and community served will include a refreshed, better centered director who is therefore ready to take on existing and new challenges with higher energy.”

Patricia Hoffman, Executive Director, Oneida Community Mansion House. Patricia will visit museums and historic sites in New York State that are similar to the Mansion House.

“Aside from the benefits this leave potentially affords our organization and the community in which we are located, it gives me the incentive (and permission) to take some time to recharge,” said Hoffman.

She will be visiting the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, Proctor Theatre in Schenectady and Yaddo in Saratoga Springs to study their organizational structures, artist spaces, museum shops and how their entrepreneurial activities help improve their communities.

“We wholeheartedly support (Patricia’s) choice of time spent on professional development and its potential benefit to not only the Oneida Community Mansion House, but the surrounding community as well,” said Jonathan Pawlika, Board Chair of the Mansion House.

The Marsellus Sabbatical program was created in 2000 to provide nonprofit executives with a unique opportunity for reflection, revitalization and growth. It was established in memory of the late John F. Marsellus, president and owner of the Syracuse-based Marsellus Casket Company for more than thirty years, to honor his commitment to enhancing the leadership capacity of nonprofit organizations in Central New York.

Applicants must have served in a management position of a nonprofit agency in Onondaga or Madison Counties for at least five consecutive years in order to qualify. Twenty one executives have participated in the program since its inception.

The Central New York Community Foundation has served Central New York for over 80 years, receiving, managing and distributing charitable funds for the benefit of not-for-profit organizations. Grants are awarded for programs in the areas of human services, arts and culture, education, environment, health, economic development and civic affairs. The region’s largest endowed philanthropic foundation, the Central New York Community Foundation awards over $5 million in grants to not-for-profit organizations annually. The Community Foundation, of 431 East Fayette Street, Syracuse, NY 13202, can be reached at (315) 422-9538 or


Monday, January 3, 2011

Syracuse's Dunbar Association - which will lose all of its United Way money - searches for ways to continue services

The Syracuse Post-Standard reported that the Dunbar Association — one of Syracuse’s oldest nonprofits serving the black community – this year will lose $200,000 in United Way annual funding, about a quarter of its yearly revenue.

The group – which operates Dunbar Center at 1453 S. State St. – is working to revamp its operations to try to preserve its services. It serves about 5,500 people annually.

The United Way of Central New York, which provides funding to 39 nonprofit agencies in Onondaga County, cut funding to only two agencies: Dunbar and Liberty Resources, which serves people with developmental disabilities and the mentally ill.

Liberty was excluded because it failed to submit an audit, while Dunbar was dropped because of concerns over its governance and management, said Frank Lazarski, president of the United Way. The United Way did not invite Dunbar to reapply for any money in its next three-year funding cycle which begins in June.

Attendance at Dunbar’s board meetings, the work of the board’s fundraising and finance committees and strategic planning are all areas that need improvement, he said.

“I’m not saying there is anything illegal, immoral or unethical,” Lazarski said. “We are hoping as they go on they look at revamping the board.”

Louella Williams, president of Dunbar’s board, said the action by the United Way has forced her organization to “think outside the box.” It recently formed a group of Dunbar alumni, who benefited from the organization’s programs when they were young, to lead fundraising efforts.

Who was Dunbar?
The Dunbar Center in Syracuse is named after Paul Laurence Dunbar, one of the first African-American to gain national eminence as a poet.
Born in 1872 in Dayton, Ohio, Dunbar was the son of ex-slaves and classmate to Orville Wright of aviation fame. Dunbar, who died when he was 33 years old, was prolific, writing short stories, novels, librettos, plays, songs and essays as well as the poetry. He was popular with black and white readers of his day.
His style encompasses two distinct voices — the standard English of the classical poet and the evocative dialect of the turn-of-the-century black community in America.
Source: University of Dayton

Dunbar — founded 92 years ago as a settlement house named after African-American poet Paul Dunbar — will survive, Williams said

“We have had challenges before and we have overcome them,” she said. “We do what we need to do and get things straightened out. That’s where we find ourselves.”

In its early days, the Dunbar group in Syracuse helped blacks migrating from the South find jobs, housing and other social services. Over the years it evolved into a recreation center and a human services agency providing after-school care, emergency food services and other programs for youth, families and senior citizens. It has 25 employees.

Dunbar is needed more than ever now when Syracuse is seeing more and more of its young people killed in shootings, Williams said.

“Let the police deal with the violence, but we have to look for alternatives that are going to help the youth,” she said.

In recent years Dunbar’s revenues have declined and it has consistently spent more than it brings in, according to annual 990 reports filed with the IRS. Dunbar reported revenue of $1.06 million in 2007. Now its annual revenue is down to about $900,000, Williams said. Between 2006 and 2008, Dunbar reported a cumulative budget deficit of $148,171.

Dunbar has been operating in the red because like many other nonprofits its government and United Way funding have declined while it provides the same level of services, Williams said.

To cut expenses, Dunbar has outsourced its financial operations to Catholic Charities, which handles its payroll and accounting, Williams said.

More than half of Dunbar’s United Way funding pays for its after-school program which serves 60 children.
To preserve that program, Dunbar is partnering with the YWCA, which provides after-school programs at eight elementary schools — six in Syracuse and two others in the Baldwinsville and East Syracuse Minoa school districts. The YWCA will seek United Way funding to provide those services at Dunbar after Dunbar loses its funding, according to Joan Durant, executive director of the YWCA. The YWCA also is working to bring one of its programs that works with teenage girls to Dunbar, she said.

Williams said the YWCA is a perfect partner for Dunbar because they focus on the same issues. “They are empowering families, women and fighting racism,” she said.

Lazarski said it’s important for Dunbar and other organizations to look for ways to collaborate.

“I think there is a real concerted effort among several not-for-profit organizations that want to see Dunbar retool and move ahead,” Lazarski said. “We really want to see the services for the people in that community and that neighborhood continue, however best they can be implemented.”

Williams said what makes Dunbar different from many agencies is the “one to one personal time” it gives to children, families and seniors.

“We’ve been down this road before,” Williams said. “Any organization that has been in existence for a long time doesn’t reach this age without overcoming challenges.”


Sponsored by M&T Bank

BizEventz announces:

Nomination Deadline: Thursday, February 10, 5:00 p.m.
Our goal is to identify those professionals, board members, and volunteers who best exemplify the categories listed below. Please select one category before completing this nomination form. In the event that your candidate qualifies for more than one category, please make each entry separately.

• Executive of the Year
• Board Leadership
• Board Development
• Impact Award
• Career Achievement

Executive of the Year
Submit nominations for nonprofit executives (president, CEO, executive director) who exhibit leadership, planning skills, strong staff growth, board development, solid fiscal management, and increased fund-raising.

Board Leadership
Nominee is a lay leader of the board of directors. He/she may be a present or past president of the board, long-term board member, and/or major contributor. Cite how the nominee strengthened the organization, implemented the corporate mission or vision, and enhanced the strategic plan.

Board Development
Nominee is a lay leader of the board of directors, who “grew” the organization through fund-raising or through dynamic ideas, which improved operations. Nominee’s efforts enhanced the board through a higher level of participation.

Impact Award
Nominee may be an employee of the NPO, a board member, or a volunteer, who created and/or implemented a new or existing program that not only changed the organization but also the community.

Career Achievement
Nominee is a lay leader who makes a lifetime commitment to the community by advocating for NPOs and by dedicating his/her time and resources for the betterment of the commonweal.
A panel of judges will review nomination finalists for each category. The winners will be announced at the NonProfit Awards Luncheon on March 28, 2011. Judges are not liable for the honorees chosen.
If your applicant becomes a finalist:
• You (the nominator) will be notified within two weeks of the nomination deadline.
• All finalists will be special guests of BizEventz and our sponsors at the NonProfit Awards Luncheon.
• All finalists will be listed on the BizEventz Web site.
• Your honoree will be recognized at the event and presented with an award.
• Your honoree will be publicized in The Business Journal and in ads promoting the event.
If your applicant is not chosen:

The nominator (you) will be notified within two to three weeks after the nomination deadline. If the nominator would like BizEventz to notify the person on the nomination form, BizEventz will do this per request, via a letter.

Step 1 - Nominate
Nominee Category:
 Executive of the Year
 Board Leadership
 Board Development
 Impact Award
 Career Achievement
First Name:
Last Name:
Nonprofit Organization (NPO):
Description of NPO:

Nominee’s years Of Service:
Current Position:
Organization Street:
City: State: NY Zip:
Nominee’s Place of Employment:

Step 2 – Nominator information:
Nominator name (required if other than self):

City: State: NY Zip:
Affiliation with NPO, if any:

Step 3 - Written Qualifications:
Attach a separate sheet with information (300 words max) detailing the qualifications you feel are relevant for the specific award you are nominating your candidate for. Consider how this candidate has made a positive contribution to the NPO and how he or she has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills within this organization. Provide a resume or other document that details nominee’s career history and significant achievements.

Thank you very much for taking the time to submit a candidate for the 2011 NonProfit Awards. We appreciate your time and effort on behalf of your nominee and this worthy program.


Marny Nesher
Event Manager