One of Central New York’s most distinctive characteristics is its beautiful natural environment. It’s where rolling hills, waterfalls, rivers, lakes and woodlands all create stunning landscapes, and where bountiful gardens and agriculture thrive for the benefit of our residents. Also, we can’t forget man’s best friends. Central New York is home to a world-class zoo, nature centers and a network of organizations that help pets find loving homes and connect animals with those who seek their support. The Community Foundation has historically supported programs that enhance and preserve these amazing resources that enrich the lives of local residents beyond measure.

By developing places where residents can gather and interact, we can strengthen our region’s social fabric. From 2004-2009, we awarded Grants for Green Spaces to help improve neighborhood spaces. Knowing that the life and vitality of a community depends on the combined efforts of its residents, this program helped to implement a variety of volunteer-driven projects in Onondaga and Madison counties including the landscaping of pocket parks and improving access to local trails.

Beginning in 2015, we partnered with the Syracuse Parks Conservancy to continue this effort by offering Neighborhood Greening Grants, which fund the costs of volunteer-driven, environmental improvement projects within the City of Syracuse. Neighborhood associations, schools and community groups have already completed more than 35 projects that beautify, preserve and improve access to public spaces.

Over the past 10 years, more than $1 million in grants have supported a variety of programs that engage our wider community in preserving our local environment and protecting animals. From planting trees and flowers to promoting responsible animal care and pet ownership, our grants support local programs that guard natural resources, beautify neighborhoods and ensure the welfare of animals great and small.