Introducing Our Newest Team Member

            It has been widely and correctly observed that the internet has become the new “town square”. Breaking news, social dialogue, commerce, the arts, political activism, and even classroom education has all gone digital, a process that has been accelerated by the coronavirus. Moreover, this shift has meant that organizations and businesses alike have to incorporate digital media into their daily operations. With this in mind, The Gifford Foundation decided at the end of last year to bring on a fulltime team member to concentrate primarily on communications. I am extremely excited to take on that role as their Communications and Grants Specialist.

            In the past, Gifford’s communications were primarily handled as a team effort with individual staff members working on different initiatives and projects. However, the centralized and technical nature of website and social media development made this model difficult to maintain. I began working with The Gifford Foundation in the spring of 2019 as a consultant, helping them reimagine their web presence and improve their communications. Since then, we have rebuilt the website from scratch to not only provide more up-to-date information but also to more accurately reflect our personality as a Foundation. We also restarted our quarterly newsletter which had been paused, providing an opportunity to showcase the exciting work being done among CNY nonprofits and individuals.

Communications and Grants Specialist Maximilian Eyle is the newest addition to the Gifford team.

            Now that much of this new digital infrastructure is built and operational, we are looking ahead to the ways in which we can increase transparency and better present our efforts to the community we serve. One example is our decision to publicly showcase the results of an extensive evaluation of ADVANS – our flagship capacity building program. The evaluation was conducted by an outside firm, and underscores not only the positive impact this program has had on CNY but also the ways in which we can improve it. The results were presented in a multimedia format, including video interviews with participants. Without a digital platform to present it, and the newsletter to distribute it, revealing our findings would have been much more difficult if not impossible. Moving forward, we hope to do more of this kind of work: leveraging data, technology, and storytelling to guide us and interact more directly with our community.

            As a Syracuse native and inner-city resident, I am eager to give back to the city that I love. This city has real heart, and you feel it when you meet its people, eat its food, listen to its music, or walk down Walton St. on a cool summer night. The Gifford Foundation has been an overwhelmingly positive force here for more than sixty years, and it’s an honor to help continue that legacy.

Maximilian Eyle | Communications & Grants Specialist

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