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Literacy Coalition News
January/February 2016


Challenge Grant Goal reached for Sixth Straight Year!

Since 2011, the Central New York Community Foundation has issued annual challenge grants to the Literacy Coalition matching dollar-for-dollar our contributions received up to $50,000 for operational support. We’re thrilled to announce that for the sixth straight year, we have exceeded 100% of our match goal with cash donations, grants and net proceeds from our Stories of the Season event.

According to Peter A. Dunn, President & CEO of the Community Foundation, “One of the advantages of our nation’s foundations sector is that we have the ability to take a long-term view..."

“Our investments have included general support for the Literacy Coalition, participation by our staff in planning and research, and funding for Imagination Library and projects by local nonprofits to encourage reading across generations.  Recently, we sponsored a statistically relevant study which revealed that nearly 30% more Syracuse children participating in Imagination Library were prepared for kindergarten, based on literacy outcomes, than those who had not participated. This finding motivated Onondaga County to budget funds in 2016 to expand the program throughout the County.”

“For us, this is a great case study on several levels. First we mobilized broad participation in this issue- it’s not just about us. Second, we’ve provided long-term support to create capacity and prove outcomes. Third, our funding mobilized other funders, including the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County, to support programs that have proven impact. And, lastly, we’ve adapted this model to other counties in our region, including new coalitions in Madison and Cortland Counties.”

Read Peter Dunn’s full “Point of View” statement on page 2 of the Community Foundation’s Smart Giving newsletter »

Consensus Challenges us to Challenge the Status Quo

Former congressman Jim Walsh talks about consolidation of local city and county governments at an editorial board meeting at the Syracuse Media Group headquarters. Flanking Walsh are committee co-chairs Cornelius Murphy (left) and Catherine Richardson (right). (Michael Greenlar | mgreenlar@syracuse.com)

By Editorial Board | syracuse.com
January 29, 2016

After 18 months of study, the Consensus Commission came out Tuesday with its preliminary recommendations for streamlining and modernizing local government. The commission's show-stopping topline recommendation -- a possible merger of Syracuse and Onondaga County governments – got everyone talking. And that's a good start.

Citizens and leaders of our community and our region need to talk a lot more, think more deeply about the commission's recommendations, question the assumptions of each other and ourselves, and summon the will to challenge the status quo.

Our call to citizens of Onondaga County is to read the Consensus commission report. Attend a public meeting. Make your voices heard. Keep an open mind. Demand solutions from your leaders, not just the same old rhetoric and excuses.

Our region has an opportunity to lead, grow and prosper. Let's not let it slip away. Read full editorial »

Book Buddies: Making a difference in Syracuse, one book, one child at a time

Volunteer Karen Rutkowski and 1st grader Edwianys Torres (age 6) read together in the Book Buddies reading program at Seymour Academy. (David Lassman | dlassman@syracuse.com)

By David Lassman | dlassman@syracuse.com
February 14, 2016

Syracuse, N.Y. -- Edwianys Torres, a first grader at Seymour Academy beams a big smile as she reads a story about a hungry frog. Sitting close by, Karen Rutkowski, a Book Buddies volunteer, reads along with Torres offering help and encouragement.

Book Buddies at Seymour is a partnership between SYRACUSE 20/20 (a coalition of Central New York business and community leaders) and Seymour Academy. The program evolved from The Campaign for Grade Level Reading, a local community initiative. The goal is focused on ensuring that all students are reading at grade level by third grade which the program views as a pivotal marker in a child's academic success.

Book Buddies program coordinators Laurie Black and Ashley Rivera say the 2014-2015 school year brought tremendous results with 100% of the students improving at least one reading level, 80% of the students moving three or more reading levels and 50% moving five or more reading levels throughout the program year. During the 2015-2016 school year Book Buddies has more than doubled, serving a total of 96 students: 72 first graders and 24 second graders.

Read more about Book Buddies »

To learn more about how you can become a Book Buddy, email syracuse2020@yahoo.com.


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