CNY Community Foundation to invest at least $1M to address racial equity in the region

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Central New York Community Foundation will be investing $1 million over the next few years toward efforts that work to achieve racial equity in the region.

The new Black Equity and Excellence funding priority will be used to support Black-led nonprofit organizations and projects that counteract systemic racism.

CNYCF President and CEO Peter Dunn tells NewsChannel 9 staff and board members were driven to take action from the recent racial tragedies and ensuing national conversation regarding racial inequities, including daily local protests.

“We’re were built for, ideally, doing some of our best work in a time of crisis,” he says.

Details of how funding will be used are still being developed, but the Community Foundation has two basic missions it is looking to address when it comes to racial equity.

“Support for black-led organizations that are working in vulnerable communities. Organizations that may have not have had the level of investment they should have over the years. We’re also interested in broader issues like building community and community dialogue and structural racism in general,” Dunn tells NewsChannel 9.

He says the organization will first spend the next few months listening to residents, nonprofit organizations, civic leaders, foundations and government partners to determine how best to focus on funding and amplify efforts already in place.

The $1 million commitment from CNYCF is the minimum committed for the fund, Dunn expects that number to rise.

“There are organizations that have been around for decades that have government contracts but still suffer from a dearth of resources. There are startup organizations with a younger, new generation of civic leaders who are really engaged and could use some support to take their work to the next level,” he says.

The goal of the new fund is to invest in work that’s going to be done over multiple years, to get an impact over time.

“We have an obligation to listen and learn and be thoughtful as we figure out how to deploy resources towards the community,” Dunn adds.

The Community Foundation, just a few months ago, partnered with several organizations to quickly put together a COVID-19 fund to support groups impacted by the pandemic.

To date, the COVID-19 Fund, which received $1.7 million in support, has distributed over $1 million to more than a hundred organizations.

For the Black Equity and Excellence Fund, organizations interested in convening around this issue, or receiving funding, will be asked to submit a letter of interest outlining their efforts and commitment toward building racial equity.

Contributions may be made to the Black Equity and Excellence Fund by clicking here or by contacting Thomas Griffith, vice president, development at or (315) 883-5544.

Click here for more information about both the COVID-19 Fund and the Black Equity and Excellence Fund.

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