Sheena Solomon Wins National Philanthropy Award

Exponent Philanthropy has announced Sheena Solomon as the recipient of their 2023 Outstanding Impact Award.

Posted on Oct. 23rd, 2023

          The Outsized Impact Award honors an individual at an Exponent Philanthropy member organization whose style of philanthropy is achieving outsized (or greater than expected) impact.

“Sheena’s programs and leadership reflect a deep commitment to inclusive philanthropy,” Exponent said in a statement. “She authentically brings community members into the fold as leaders, while simultaneously equipping them with the tools and resources they need to improve their neighborhoods and build their capacity as individuals.”

In 2007, Sheena started in an entry level job at The Gifford Foundation and worked her way up over sixteen years to now lead the entire organization. She is also the foundation’s first executive director who is a woman of color. 

During her years as a program officer, Sheena created many of the foundation’s most impactful initiatives. She was essential in the creation and implementation of Gifford’s city-wide initiative—the “What If…” Mini-Grants. These foster growth in Syracuse neighborhoods and strengthen the capacity of residents who seek to make positive changes in their neighborhood, while encouraging creativity, collaboration, and innovation.

Gifford Executive Director Sheena Solomon smiles and poses with her award, She is wearing a tight orange dress and braided hair.

Sheena Solomon is the Executive Director of the Gifford Foundation in Syracuse, NY and was announced the winner of Exponent Philanthropy’s 2023 Outstanding Impact Award during their annual conference in Baltimore, MD.

She has also been instrumental in the design and planning of Nourishing Tomorrow’s Leaders, a leadership development training that focuses on increasing the diversity and inclusiveness of nonprofit boards, and has trained over 200 people for board service. To further this work, Sheena developed a lasting and codified model of the program, which M&T Bank and the Community Foundation of the Greater Capital Region in Albany, NY have since replicated.

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