About F.O.C.U.S.

What is F.O.C.U.S. Greater Syracuse?

“Forging Our Community’s United Strength,” F.O.C.U.S. Greater Syracuse is a community-wide visioning program created with the goal of making Syracuse a better place to live and work. Started by a group of Leadership Greater Syracuse graduates and interested residents, the program, loosely modeled after several visioning projects around the country, came out of the desire to determine a course of action and growth for Syracuse. F.O.C.U.S. Greater Syracuse is a not-for-profit organization.

What is different about F.O.C.U.S. Greater Syracuse from other visioning programs is that the ideas came from thousands of every day folks, the citizens of Syracuse, not from people in authority positions.

F.O.C.U.S. asked the citizens of Greater Syracuse what their dreams were for the future of our community. What did they want Central New York to look like in the future?

Board of Directors



The Process

Approximately 200 trained volunteers went out into the community to facilitate visioning sessions at schools, workplaces, houses of worship, in private homes, and anywhere else they could assemble a group. Their mission was to ask our community what their dreams were for Central New York. More than 4000 people participated in a total of 124 sessions. From those sessions 15,500 ideas were generated. This list was then categorized and entered into a database at Onondaga Community College. Another group of volunteers then whittled the ideas down to 87 common goals.

Vision Fair
In May of 1998, the public was invited to a Vision Fair, where they were asked to vote on the goals they felt were most important. All told, over 4,000 people visited the Vision Fair at the Convention Center at ONCENTER that day and registered their vote. A group of volunteers then tabulated the votes and ranked them accordingly.

Next came the analysis phase. The goals were categorized into the areas of education, government, health and human services, neighborhoods, downtown, and economic development, recreation and environment, arts and events and tourism. A group of volunteers then took an inventory to determine what actions were currently taking place to achieve the 87 Goals. Not only was this inventory compiled into a report to the community, but it also served as a benchmark by which to measure our progress.

Through our analysis, we found that groups were working on many of our goals, and in some cases duplicating efforts. Thus the need to combine forces in a collaborative effort. In doing so we would achieve a type of synergy.

Now that the inventory has been taken and the results have been provided to the community through our Dreamshaping brochure, F.O.C.U.S. volunteers continue to pursue action. F.O.C.U.S. identifies local and regional resources that have the capacity to implement the 87 goals. Once resources are identified, F.O.C.U.S. works with them to act on the goals.

Making Our Goals a Reality
In order to achieve our goals, F.O.C.U.S. Greater Syracuse functions in six different capacities: as a convener, communicator, catalyst, clearinghouse, champion and celebrator.

Convener – With our knowledge of the community we are able to bring groups together to determine a course of action to achieve our goals. We have been successful at bringing groups together who might not ordinarily work together.

Communicator – Through our monthly community report and occasional progress reports, we keep the community informed on the progress of our goals. Currently, we distribute the information to approximately 5,000 stakeholders. A stakeholder is anyone interested in the future of our community. To be added to our stakeholder list email your Name and Organization to focus@ci.syracuse.ny.us

Catalyst – By gathering groups together to join forces, set agendas and create action, we make things happen

Clearinghouse – F.O.C.U.S. has an extensive community network of individuals to which we distribute information and from whom we receive information. Because of this, we are continually updated on progress toward the goals, and expected to pass that information along to our stakeholders.

Champion – We fight for the goals and continually remind key decision-makers that the people of Central New York determined our goals. F.O.C.U.S. has been asked to sit on a number of committees to provide our viewpoint.

Celebrators – 1st Annual Wisdom Keeper Award event. June 10th, 2010.

Who Are Our Stakeholders?

F.O.C.U.S. Greater Syracuse is an all-inclusive group open to anyone who is interested in the future of Central New York. Our Core Group meets one Friday a month to share information and review progress on our Goals. All are welcome.

To become a stakeholder and receive progress reports or Core Group Meeting notices, send us an email at: focus@ci.syracuse.ny.us