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, 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 – Work Train
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 Manager – 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.
Mary Beth Schwartzwalder
Program Assistant – Business and Communications
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.
Program Coordinator - Business Development
A thirst for cultural diversity and a hunger for palate invigorating food is what attracted me to the Northside. Although I grew up 30 minutes outside of Boston, I couldn’t feel closer to home than I do now living and working in Syracuse. Here on the Northside I am surrounded by friends as welcoming as family, and a community more ambitious than I have ever seen, heard or read about. My journey here started in Massachusetts, took me to D.C. to volunteer for City Year, and most recently through a political science and policy studies degree at Syracuse University and doesn’t end but continues here on the Northside. As a VISTA for NorthsideUP everyday will be a journey in itself, exploring the infinite and always changing intricacies that sets this place apart. I couldn’t be happier to call myself a Northsider.
Certified Business Advisor, Small Business Development Center at Onondaga Community College - 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 social justice and ecology, 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 New York Cooperative Network - an initiative for educating and developing cooperatively owned and operated businesses - www.newyorkcooperative.net; and striving to develop an awareness of ecological and environmental responsibility for “people and planet before profit” through outreach and education efforts connected to relevant policies such as those campaigned for through the American Sustainable Business Council - http://asbcouncil.org/issues. 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.
Program Manager — Social Enterprise Development, Salt Works
Curiosity, appreciation, and a huge stack of reclaimed lumber are a few of the things that brought me to the Northside. Upon moving to Syracuse in 2010 I began volunteering as a way to become educated about the community; little did I know what wonderful people I would meet! After getting to know me and my design and construction background, the Near Westside Initiative and Northside UP looped me in on an idea to start a social enterprise that would provide job skills training by transforming reclaimed heavy timbers into furniture. I now spend my days happily volleying between neighborhoods, helping to develop and showcase the talent and creativity of area residents.