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Building Bridges for Economic Inclusion: Welcoming Economies Convening Comes to Syracuse

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • May 17, 2017

WE Convening

 

This October, CenterState CEO and the Welcoming Economies (WE) Global Network will host the 5th Annual Welcoming Economies Convening: Building Bridges for Economic Inclusion in Syracuse. This three-day conference “weaves together cutting edge policies, successful programs, innovative ideas, and a network of trailblazers in our emerging field of immigrant economic development.” While the schedule of events are still being developed, the Convening will feature a community tour, workshops, presentations and more. Individuals and organizations can register here under the Early-bird Special to receive a discount on the conference.

The WE Global Network is a program of Welcoming America in partnership with Global Detroit. Their mission is to “strengthen the work, maximize the impact, and sustain the efforts of local economic and community development initiatives across the region that welcome, retain, and empower immigrant communities as valued contributors to the region’s shared prosperity.” To learn more, visit the program’s website.

To get an idea about past Convenings hosted in different Rust Belt cities, check out these recaps from 2016 Philadelphia, 2015 Dayton, and 2014 Pittsburgh.

 

 

More AmeriCorps VISTA Positions on the Northside

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • May 15, 2017

VISTA

 

Last week we outlined several AmeriCorps VISTA positions under the Community Prosperity Initiative (CPI) at CenterState CEO. But, there are a few other Northside organizations seeking VISTAs to serve in other capacities. Both the Syracuse Northeast Community Center and NEHDA are looking to for VISTAs.

 

The Syracuse Northeast Community Center (SNCC) is seeking a passionate, flexible person who is comfortable working with a diverse populations to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA. The position is created in partnership with Syracuse University to help strengthen SNCC’s capacity as a community school partner. The VISTA’s projects may include: creating a series of events, and communication pieces between SNCC and Dr. Weeks Elementary School; researching, designing, and administering surveys to parents; working with Syracuse University professors, courses, and community engagement initiatives to design programming that will engage neighborhood families and teach healthy eating practices.

For more information, view SNCC’s recruitment flier and check out the job listing on the VISTA website. If you have any questions, please send them to Lexie at  (315) 472-6343 ext. 215 or lkwiek@snccsyr.org.

 

NEHDA currently has two VISTA positions open: one as part of CPI and another in partnership with the the Neighborhood Preservation Coalition of New York State (NPCNYS). This VISTA would serve with NEHDA and help develop and implement outreach campaigns, write grant proposals, and organize community meetings and events. NPCNYS encourages any person who is interested in community development, public health, and/or affordable housing to apply and gain skills that will “create positive change in historically underserved communities by empowering community-based organizations and residents.”

For more information, view NEHDA’s website or the full job listing on the VISTA website.

 

The AmeriCorps VISTA program includes a living allowance, an End of Service Education Award or Stipend, personal and medical leave, health benefits, child care assistance (if eligible) and a relocation travel allowance. To learn more about the AmeriCorps VISTA program, visit the VISTA Campus website.

Gain Experience in Community Development: VISTA Opportunities with CenterState CEO

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • May 10, 2017

VISTA positions

CenterSatte CEO‘s Economic Inclusion team is searching for individuals to fill five different AmeriCorps VISTA positions as part of the Community Prosperity Initiative,  a long-term vision to develop a diverse set of community revitalization strategies guided by organizations who share resources to collaboratively address collective challenges. Each VISTA will serve a unique partner organization while receiving further support from CenterState CEO. The sites that make up the initiative are Cooperative Federal Credit Union, Home HeadQuarters, Jubilee Homes of Syracuse, Inc., NEHDA, Inc., and CenterState CEO.

Cooperative Federal

Since 1983, Cooperative Federal Credit Union (Coop Fed) has been building a strong, fair, and inclusive local economy by investing over $120 million in homeownership, small business, and affordable consumer credit primarily in the urban, multicultural neighborhoods of Syracuse. The Coop Fed VISTA will assist in building program capacity and enhancing alignment with community-based development initiatives in workforce and small business development. The VISTA will also assist with strengthening and improving programs and systems in the credit union and lead key strategic planning initiatives. For more details about the position and how to apply, click here.

Home HeadQuarters

Home HeadQuarters (HHQ) meets the needs of underserved Central New York homeowners and potential homeowners by providing low-interest loans, homeownership education and counseling, and real estate services designed to make home ownership a reality. The HHQ VISTA will assist in measuring and documenting the organization’s impact, which includes providing support to the local Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, updating neighborhood plans and maps, and utilizing different tools to analyze neighborhood revitalization efforts. For more details about the position and how to apply, click here.

Jubilee Homes

Jubilee Homes of Syracuse, Inc. (JH) is a key organization in Syracuse’s Southwest community. JH is a catalyst for achieving the revitalization of the Southwest community, with efforts in neighborhood rehabilitation, community building and business development. The Jubilee Homes VISTA will support joint JH workforce and economic development programs by developing outreach materials, implementing recruitment channels, planning special events, and more. For more details about the position and how to apply, click here.

NEHDA

NEHDA facilitates community development that promotes strong and safe neighborhoods, thriving businesses and active civic engagement on the Northside, Syracuse’s historic melting pot. Since 2008, unprecedented public-private partnerships have led to over $250 million in neighborhood investment. New collaborations are moving forward today, catalyzing private development. The NEHDA VISTA will assist in fostering a stronger and more connected business and entrepreneurial environment by planning neighborhood beautification efforts, assisting the Northside Business Partnership, identifying opportunities where NEHDA can assist businesses and potential entrepreneurs, and more. For more details about the position and how to apply, click here.

CenterState CEO

CenterState CEO’s Economic Inclusion team is dedicated to creating thriving communities through increased prosperity for all Central New York residents. The CenterState CEO Economic Inclusion VISTA will assist in fostering a stronger and more connected environment by researching national trends in economic inclusion, helping with program development in ways that incorporate stakeholder feedback and processes that allow the work to be scaled and replicated, and more. For more details about the position and how to apply, click here.

 

The AmeriCorps VISTA program benefits include $973/month living allowance, an End of Service Education Award or Stipend, personal and medical leave, health benefits, and a relocation travel allowance. Those in the Community Prosperity Initiative will also gain access to community immersion experiences. To learn more about the AmeriCorps VISTA program, visit the VISTA Campus website.

Call for Art: Mural Proposals for SNCC’s Community Garden

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • April 10, 2017

Mural

The Northeast Hawley Development Association (NEHDA) and the Syracuse Northeast Community Center are teaming up to organize the creation of a mural for SNCC’s community garden. The proposed design should incorporate a theme of “connectivity” and be submitted to NEHDA either in person (101 Gertrude Street) or via email to Rachel (rachel@nehda.org) by April 28th.

For all the details, check out the “Call for Art” and the “Artist Agreement.”

Re-imagining Syracuse’s Churches

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • March 28, 2017

CNY Central--Churches

Earlier this month, CNY Central reported on the many different churches in our city that have found new uses in a changing community. Many of the examples are from the Northside, including the Samaritan Center, the Myanmar Baptist Church, and Assumption Church.

“It would be easy to be discouraged at the number of church buildings closing in the Syracuse area. But people who watch religious trends say changes for church buildings, are not the same as changes to Faith.

Professor Margaret Thompson, who studies religious trends at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School, says that yes, we are changing. But, we’re not abandoning our houses of worship.

She says some congregations may leave their buildings, but other groups often replace them, often representing groups that are new or growing in the community. A perfect example, the former Friedens Church on Syracuse’s Lodi Street, which was established by German immigrants. The congregation closed after 111 years as numbers dwindled, but the building is now occupied by the Myanmar Baptist and the Syracuse Nepali Churches. . . 

Big changes are also coming to Assumption, the landmark twin steepled church complex on Syracuse’s North Salina Street. Shockwaves went through its community, and actually the whole North Side community, when for sale signs went up on some of its buildings. Friar Rick Riccioli, the pastor at the Franciscan church says it’s part of a continuum: ‘This was orignally a German parish, and the Assumption Campus was the hub for them, both spiritually and culturally. The North Side has changed.’

Assumption is not closing, but it is reinventing itself. The buildings that have housed services to the community, including the soup kitchen, medical clinic and legal aid, are being sold. Those services will be relocated to the building that now houses the friars’ residence. It, and the church itself are the only two properties that will remain in Franciscan hands.

Assumption is also selling its old high school, which will once again become apartments, only this time they’ll be rented at ‘moderate prices, with the hopes of attracting more young adults to the area.”

To read the entire article and watch the video, visit CNYCentral.com.

The Syracuse Northeast Community Center is Hiring!

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • March 16, 2017

SNCC Collage

SNCC is looking to hire a full-time Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (CAPP) Educator. This person “will support a citywide initiative that aims to engage youth, 10-21 years old, in dynamic and meaningful programming to increase self-confidence and self-worth while decreasing the likelihood for teen or unwanted pregnancies.”

Duties will include outreach to schools, organizations, health centers, and parents; educational interventions using curriculum and program requirements dictated by the grant; documentation and record-keeping of program data.

Minimum requirements for the position include a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Education and one to three years of experience.

To read the full job description, click here. Interested candidates are asked to send a cover letter and resume to Sarah Walton (swalton@snccsyr.org) by Thursday, March 23.

To learn more about the SNCC, visit their website and follow them on Facebook.

New Developments at 437 North Salina Street

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • March 13, 2017

437

Last week our  Vice President of Economic Inclusion at CenterState CEO, Dominic Robinson, met with the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA) to propose a plan that would bring life into the long-vacant building at 437 North Salina Street. OCIDA currently owns the building as part of a purchase from the Syracuse Land Bank that included the building next door—what is now the With Love teaching restaurant and entrepreneur incubator from Onondaga Community College. The proposal asks OCIDA to help with a portion of the renovation costs for the building and, in turn, a design team that includes  Home HeadQuarters and Northside UP would purchase the building, finish the renovations, and put the building back into use with commercial space on the bottom floor and apartments on the upper floors. Because of the buildings obstacles, including its small square footage and need for extensive renovation, past efforts to get the building back on the market were unsuccessful.

OCIDA won’t vote on the proposal until April, but the Agency’s chairman, Pat Hogan, told Syrcause.com that he views the project as an “outstanding idea:” “I think this is exactly what we should be doing.”

To learn more about the proposal, read the full article, “Partnership proposes redevelopment of long-vacant Syracuse commercial building” from Syracuse.com and stay tuned to our blog for updates about the property.

 

Syracuse.com Explores the Rooms at Saint Clare Gardens

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 27, 2017

St

Earlier this month, Assumptions Church announced that they were in the process of selling several buildings on their campus to local developers Troy Evans and Steve Case. Included in that sale are the Saint Clare Garden apartments and the Parish Hall, the subjects of a recent article from Syracuse.com that explores the buildings’ rooms, their history, and their potential.

“Peek inside the former Saint Clare Gardens apartments on Syracuse’s Northside neighborhood and you’ll be forgiven if you can’t tell whether you are in an apartment building, a school or a convent.

During the building’s 92-year history, it’s been all three.

It opened in 1891 at 1109 N. Townsend Street as the Assumption Church sisters convent. In 1925, an addition was built to house Assumption Academy, a high school for the children of the parish. In 1981, with student enrollment declining, the Franciscan Friars, the building’s owner, closed the school and sold the building to a developer who turned it into apartments.

The friars later reacquired the building and operated it as apartments for low-income tenants. But without the money required to make needed repairs, the religious order closed the apartments early last year and relocated its tenants to other housing.

‘We have no more savings,’ said Friar Rick Riccioli, pastor of Assumption Church. ‘If the roof goes or the boiler goes, we have no money.’

Now, two developers, Troy Evans and Steve Case, have agreed to buy the building, as well as Assumption Church’s parish hall and three other nearby buildings, from the friars. Case said he and Evans plans to spend about $1 million to renovate the building’s 29 apartments and reopen them as affordable alternatives to the pricey downtown apartments that people with average incomes cannot afford.

Case said rents will be in the $700 to $1,000 a month range, compared with the $1,000 to $1,500 (or higher) rents charged at many of the apartments that have come onto the market in downtown Syracuse in recent years.

The renovations will include a new roof and heating system. Case said carpeting will be ripped up to expose the building’s original hardwood floors. The apartments’ layouts will not be changed, but kitchens will get new cabinets, appliances and counters.

The building contains many reminders of its past uses, and Case said they will remain in place. The Assumption School’s blackboards are still there, hanging in hallways and living rooms. So is the fine wood paneling in an apartment that once served as the entrance to the convent. 

‘They’ve still got the charm of old apartments,’ Case said.” 

To read the entire article and explore all of the photos, click here.

Syracuse.com Publishes Findings from New American Economy Study

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 22, 2017

New American Economy Study

Image credit: Syracuse.com and New American Economy

 

Yesterday Syracuse.com’s article, “Immigrants boosting the economies of Syracuse and Buffalo: study,” highlights the contributions of New Americans to the economy of Central New York. Our Vice President of Economic Inclusion at CenterState CEO, Dominic Robinson, met with Syracuse.com’s editorial board to discuss the study and highlight some of the findings.

“Robinson said immigrants help reduce housing vacancies created by Syracuse’s and Buffalo’s declining population bases and provide labor for jobs, such as low-wage, assembly-type manufacturing, that otherwise might go unfilled.

‘Refugees and immigrant populations are economically important to Central New York as they contribute to the local labor force and to the tax base as the region battles population loss,’ he said.

Although refugees often require social services and other government assistance when they first arrive, the federal government pays most of that cost and it is offset within a few years as they obtain jobs and pay taxes, he said. Key findings about Syracuse from the report, titled ‘New Americans in Buffalo and Syracuse’:

- In 2014, foreign-born residents in Syracuse contributed $1.7 billion to the metro area’s gross domestic product

- 5,658 refugees resettled in Syracuse between 2009 and 2014.

- 26.2 percent of Syracuse’s foreign-born residents, or 10,707 people, were refugees in 2014.

- Foreign-born residents tend to have higher levels of education than U.S.-born citizens in the Syracuse area. Approximately 30 percent of foreign-born residents and 22 percent of U.S.-born residents in the area have college degrees.

- The top six countries of origin of the foreign-born population in the Syracuse area are China (8.2 percent), Canada (7.8 percent), Cuba (5.1 percent), India (4.3 percent), Ukraine (4.2 percent) and Italy (3.7 percent).

- The foreign-born population in the Syracuse area contributed $140.4 million in federal taxes and $93.9 million in state and local taxes in 2014. 

- Foreign-born residents in Syracuse contributed $89.2 million to Social Security and $22.4 million to Medicare in 2014.

- Between 2000 and 2014, immigrants and refugees helped offset decades of population decline in the Syracuse area. During this period, the native-born population declined from 620,928 to 620,631, while the foreign-born population grew 42.5 percent from 28,644 to 40,815.

- Between 2000 and 2014, the increase in the foreign-born population raised the total housing value in the Syracuse area by $406.5 million.

- The Syracuse area’s 1,681 foreign-born entrepreneurs generated $22.3 million in business income in 2014.

- By 2014, the 40,815 foreign-born residents in the Syracuse area had helped create or preserve 1,877 local manufacturing jobs that otherwise may have left the area.”

To read the entire article, click here. To view the report from the New American Economy, click here.

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