How FOCUS Fosters Change
FOCUS engages in the following roles to increase community, organizational, and individual capacity and create the base needed for a sustainable community:
FOCUS brings individuals and groups together to collaborate on common agendas and common goals thus eliminating duplicated efforts and maximizing progress on implementation of the community’s visions and goals.
Monthly FOCUS Forums enable interested citizens to acquire knowledge about current community issues and endeavors. FOCUS strives to make the Forums educational, and goal oriented and encourage participants to link with the presenters and other individuals who want to translate “talk” into action plans that can move the community forward. FOCUS Forums have addressed the HOPE anti-poverty effort, efforts to reduce substance abuse, I-81 redevelopment, Career and Technical Education, the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, emergency preparedness and a daylong deliberation about pandemic flu prevention.
FOCUS regularly informs the community regarding the advances made on the goals and barriers that are met along the way. FOCUS promotes action through communication, education, and awareness and instills community pride that serves to unite us and strengthen us as a community.
FOCUS reaches more than 3,000 stakeholders with its monthly updates and programs.
Monthly free public forums bring together panels of experts on topics of immediate interest including environmental sustainability, education, economic development and civic engagement.
FOCUS holds regular work group meetings with its Central New York Citizens Aging Research and Action Network and its Age-Friendly Strategic Work Group find ways to help people live well and longer in their own homes.
FOCUS brings together groups that have common goals but different strategies for change and community building. FOCUS pursues creative ways for organizations to achieve the goals and bring disparate groups together to develop a plan of action.
FOCUS facilitates partnerships and collaborations with colleges and universities, business organizations, environmental organizations, governments, schools, corporations, and other organizations. FOCUS advises public officials on citizen concerns
FOCUS identifies community resources and projects underway, exposes gaps, develops benchmarks and indicators for measuring progress, and reports to the community.
FOCUS was an originator of “The Indicators Report” that became the CNY Vitals project of the Central New York Community Foundation. FOCUS with students from the Syracuse University Maxwell School of Public Citizenship periodically updates version of “Patterns of Government” that is a resource for towns and villages, students, and organizations interested in improving governments. FOCUS is completing its third report about citizens interests in Onondaga Lake and has produced several Citizen Action Strategic Reports on Downtown Arts and Culture, Water and Waterways, and Sustainable Communities.
FOCUS uses its citizen-based research and idea-gathering efforts to help citizens and officials work together to champion community interests, let them advocates action on the goals with responsible parties and foster community pride.
The message “Be+” (Be Positive) is associated with FOCUS and widely used in the area. FOCUS supports and works together with organizations such as GreeningUSA, Green Building Council Upstate NY, Sustainability Institute at Onondaga Community College, Syracuse University, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Health Foundation of Western & Central New York, HealtheConnections, Southwest Community Center, and programs with the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, and CNY Arts to name a few.
FOCUS hosts all-inclusive community events to showcase regional assets, new ideas and opportunities in technology, manufacturing, energy, the environment, social entrepreneurship and sustainability.
The annual Wisdom Keeper fundraiser for FOCUS is a celebration of individuals in the community who have show leadership, continual caring and an understanding of the importance of the vision for tomorrow. Our Wisdom Keepers include story teller Sean Kirst, Syracuse University Vice President for Community Engagement Bea Gonzalez, Director of the Nappi Longevity Institute and SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease Dr. Sharon Brangman, the Rev. Jim Mathews, former President of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Cornelius “Neil” Murphy, Faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation Oren Lyons, former Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor, former Assemblyman and longtime Onondaga County Legislature Chairman William Sanford, and the co-founders of FOCUS Judith Mower and Charlotte “Chuckie” Holstein.