We convene citizens, organizations, businesses and institutions to identify common interests and work towards tangible outcomes. We work to foster neighborhood revitalization by creating financial, artistic and civic opportunities for members of our community. Our efforts ultimately fall within three categories: People, Place and Business. These three pillars create the foundation upon which we build our work.
Northside UP is collaboratively sponsored by CenterState CEO, Catholic Charities of Onondaga County, Franciscan Collaborative Ministries, The Greater North Salina Business Association and St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center. Each of these organizations has unique strengths, identities, and influences, which Northside UP leverages to take an integrated, comprehensive approach to neighborhood revitalization.
Northside UP Staff
My work on the Northside started when I met a Franciscan friar in 2005. Despite nearly a 50 year age difference, Canice Connors and I became fast friends. Canice was then directing Franciscan Collaborative Ministries, which provided an impressive array of ministries and services to people living in the Northside of Syracuse. Canice’s vision expanded beyond social services, however. He wanted to initiate a movement, one rooted in creativity and collaboration, that was dedicated to ‘radically’ improving quality of life on the Northside and begin breaking the cycle of poverty that the neighborhood had come to know over several decades. I was invited to help make this vision a reality in December of 2006.
It’s amazing to think what has happened in a few short years. From philosophical conversations over coffee, to the Northside Collaboratory and Northside UP, we have made incredible and unexpected progress. It’s been made possible by the countless people that have supported our efforts over the years and the many colleagues that have joined me in this organization. I am truly blessed to do creative, fulfilling work, while being surrounded by creative and kind people. The neighborhood still has a ways to go, but I am hopeful about the direction in which we’re headed.
Program Manager – Place Making and Small Business Development
Although I grew up In Seneca Falls, my ties to the Northside go back over 100 years when my great grandfather emigrated from Italy, married a German girl from the neighborhood, and started a small grocery store. After completing my undergraduate at SUNY ESF, I lived in Pennsylvania and Virginia but I eventually wanted to move back to the area to be closer to my family and friends. Upon learning about the work of Northside UP, which melded well with my own interests in urban planning and landscape architecture, I decided to move back to Syracuse, live in the home my mother and her mother grew up in while being part of an exciting effort to revitalize the Northside.
Program Manager — Workforce Development
My journey to the Northside started by simply being in the right place at the right time. Since I was young, I’ve always had a passion for learning about other cultures and the traditional customs they practice. Growing up in Auburn, NY, I thought the only way to experience these different lifestyle practices would be to travel to other countries or move to a bigger city. After having a chance conversation with a customer at my previous job, I learned that there was a chance for me to work with people from all over the world through a position at Northside Urban Partnership, by working with the vast refugee population located on the Northside. The rest is history!
Program Coordinator – Communications and Organizational Development
After graduating from Syracuse University with my painting degree, I stumbled upon a summer job at the Northside Urban Partnership engaging youth in public art. At that time, I was searching for a community and eager for compelling work opportunities. The Northside provided both for me, so I stayed. Through my work, I’ve rediscovered this city and the energy and potential that lies within it. What brought me into this community keeps me here.
AmeriCorps VISTA – Business and Property Development
My passion for great food is what usually drives me to a place and it is what ultimately brought me to the Northside. Growing up on Tipp Hill in Syracuse, I have come to appreciate the little pockets of culture that seem to define our neighborhoods and the food that comes with them. The Northside neighborhood is full of some of our city’s best hidden gems. I can’t wait to use my work at Northside UP to make them more known!
AmeriCorps VISTA – New Venture Development
While studying Social Science at Cazenovia College, I ventured into the Northside for an internship in refugee resettlement. I quickly developed a strong connection to the people I worked with and I found myself dreaming about the potential of the places I visited. Despite growing up in central Illinois, after graduation, I decided the Northside was the community I wished to serve.
Americorps VISTA – Workforce Development
Since 2003 I have been researching disabled people’s organizations in Ghana. Most people with disabilities in Ghana are unemployed or underemployed. I have witnessed up close their impressive local and national organizing efforts toward community economic development and asserting their rights as citizens. A research fellowship with the Center on Human Policy brought me to Syracuse in 2010. My collaboration with Syracuse seniors toward restoring the Ida Benderson Senior Center downtown has brought home to me the idea that by working together we can reshape the community we live in. To me, Northside UP exemplifies this promise.
Mary Beth Schwartzwalder
I grew up in Auburn, NY and often ventured into Syracuse for shopping and good food. The past nine years I’ve spent pursuing a love of literature and libraries and trying to be a part of various communities in Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Akron. In the end, I returned home interested in investing in a community that I can help nurture and develop, and vice versa. The Northside is so rich with different cultures, businesses, and stories and I’m excited to have a chance to interact with the neighborhood through Northside UP.
Certified Business Advisor, Onondaga Small Business Development Center – Small Business Development
I live and work in Syracuse because it has provided me opportunities for personal, social, and professional growth. My job allows me to be able to combine my interests and experience in natural resources and the environment, with business and organizational operations/development. When I first started as an employee of the Onondaga Small Business Development Center, it was facilitating energy audits to small businesses in the neighborhood – helping them become more sustainable. Now I continue to bring businesses closer to higher social and environmental standards through the Green Core Company program and a cooperative business initiative for educating and developing coops - www.cny.coop. All the while, focusing on providing basic free business advising and counseling for start-ups, entrepreneurs, and existing small businesses.
Adult Education Instructor, Syracuse City School District – Workforce Development
As a lifetime resident of Syracuse and the descendant of a grandfather who emigrated from Italy to Syracuse, the North Side has a special significance for me. For the past 10 years I have been an Adult Education Instructor with the Syracuse City School District working primarily with the refugee population of the North Side. I have worked in several capacities with a strong focus on ESOL instruction related to work place literacy and employment preparation. I was first introduced to Northside UP in the organization’s beginning days and my passion and idealism were instantly ignited upon learning about their mission. After working indirectly with the program for about a year, I was fortunate enough to be invited to be part of the Green Train Construction and Weatherization Program offering educational support and collaborative assistance. I am proud to be part of all the important and efforts and successes that Northside UP has made and looks forward to continued success.
Construction and Weatherization Instructor, OCM BOCES – Workforce Development
I was born right here on the Northside, but the winds of change had me moving away with my family at a very early age. I grew up learning the carpentry trade like my forefathers before me and I traveled the world in search of my place in it. After twenty eight years fate brought me back to the Northside to apply all the skills, knowledge, and passions I had learned in my life’s travels. I now spend my days teaching carpentry and construction skills to people from all over the world, so that they can better their neighborhood and their lives.