The Gifford Newsletter

Summer 2021  |  Giving Youth a Seat at the Table

Hasan Stephens on Identity and Opportunity

In an exclusive interview, we sat down with the CEO of The Good Life Foundation to discuss youth programming, the challenges of concentrated poverty, and his latest project located in the Salt City Market.

Sheena Solomon is the Executive Director of The Gifford Foundation.

Broadening Perspectives:
Building Unexpected Leaders

When I began to challenge other organizations about who was represented on their board, the common response was “we can’t find anybody” or “we can’t keep them.” I began to ask myself, “What if we created a space where nonprofits could have access to people who don’t look like them? What if we provided a space for people to learn how to be effective board members?”

Once Upon a Star

At only 25 years old, Sultani Campbell launched his own youth mentorship program called Once Upon a Star. By teaching life skills and connecting participants with employment opportunities, Campbell supports young people as they seek their own path and identity.

Perspective: Superintendent Jaime Alicea

Jaime Alicea began his career with the Syracuse City School District nearly 40 years ago as a young Teaching Assistant at Seymour Elementary school. After working his way up through a wide variety of teaching and administrative positions, he was appointed as Superintendent in 2017. In this interview, Alicea discusses how an inclusive mindset and strong community partnerships have helped the SCSD navigate an unprecedented series of crises.

Snapshot: The Girl Empowerment Mentoring Society Ball

Graduates of the G.E.M.S Program (Girl Empowerment Mentoring Society) celebrated the end of this year’s program in high style. “The Diamond Ball is our end of the program celebration to reintroduce our mentees and showcase their growth, and look fabulous while doing so,” says Founder and CEO Kenyata Calloway. “The primary long-term goal of The G.E.M.S. Program is to provide young ladies with the necessary and appropriate skills to foster sustained healthy relationships, discourage criminal behavior, reduce school truancy/drop-out, and combat substance abuse.” Funding for this event was made possible from a Gifford “What If…” Mini Grant.

“What If…” Mini Grants

For the first time in Gifford’s history, Syracusans as young as 12 years old can apply for a “What If…” Mini Grant!

  • Yes, adults can still apply.
  • Orientation sessions will be held from July through November.
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