A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF FOCUS
As many have stated, these are challenging times, no less true for FOCUS Greater Syracuse. I am happy to say, however, that we are alive and functioning, albeit remotely.
A quick summary of much that has happened since late March:
- Our FOCUS Forums are on hold for the time being. We are investigating the option to conduct virtual forums and hope to begin to do so in the near future. We have been working with our SU Community Link intern on a final report on the survey we conducted earlier this year on potential topic areas of interest for our forums.
- We are in the initial stages of planning, together with Syracuse University’s Office of Community Engagement and the City of Syracuse, our very popular Citizens Academy to be held this Fall. Citizens Academy is an eight-week program that introduces people from all walks of life to the operations of local government and the people who make it work. More than 400 people have been through the Academy and we look forward to opening the application process again as soon as possible. The specifics on how we will proceed with this program will be ironed out as we learn more about how we reopen Onondaga County and the City of Syracuse.
- The Wisdom Keeper committee has been meeting and is recommending that we hold off our next Wisdom Keeper celebration until the Spring of 2021.
- We are finishing up a few health and age-friendly-related projects that are due to be completed this Spring. Additionally, we continue to seek new projects for which FOCUS is uniquely suited and are submitting applications as appropriate.
From a financial point of view, funds are very limited and there are more unknowns than usual about the potential for sponsorships of our flagship programs.
FOCUS is an independent 501 (c) 3 organization supported by your charitable contributions, grants and sponsorships. Donations can be made using the DONATION link on the homepage or by sending a check to our offices at 201 E. Washington St., Suite 704, Syracuse, NY, 13202.
Rita L. Reicher, PhD
THE BEGINNING OF A NEW DECADE
FOCUS began 2020 with a look to the future
Attendance at FOCUS Forums roughly doubled year-over-year in 2019 driven by topics of vital interest to the community, coordination with like-minded organizations, and introductions to new leadership in city and county government, police, and broadcasting. Thank you to Syracuse University’s Office of Community Engagement and Thursday Morning Roundtable, WCNY, Leadership Greater Syracuse and National Grid, Onondaga Community College, Onondaga County, and the City of Syracuse for support and collaboration in these efforts.
FOCUS, which is the independent not-for-profit Forging Our Community’s United Strength, invites anyone with an interest in improving the quality of life in the Greater Syracuse area to bring ideas and questions that need answers to this launch for the new decade of FOCUS and Forums.
There are so many opportunities open here and now that the challenge for Greater Syracuse will be setting priorities and continued devotion to the work at hand. Come tell us where you want this community’s energy to go as the STEAM School and Syracuse Surge, I-81, the Southside Campus for the New Economy, Blueprint 15, and regional mega-warehouses and a statewide canal trail and lake loop are on the verge of becoming a reality. Building a more attractive welcoming, sustainable community and environmentally sound economy requires your focus.
What is FOCUS Greater Syracuse?
“Forging Our Community’s United Strength,” FOCUS 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 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. FOCUS Greater Syracuse is a not-for-profit organization.
What is different about FOCUS Greater Syracuse from other visioning programs is that the ideas came from thousands of every day folks, the citizens of Syracuse and Central New York, not from people in authority positions.
FOCUS 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? They came up with real goals. READ ABOUT THE COMMUNITY GOALS HERE.
FOCUS Mission Statement
FOCUS is a citizen driven organization that taps citizen creativity
to bring about change in Central New York by enabling citizens,
organizations and government to work together to enhance the quality of our lives
and our economic future.
FOCUS engages in citizen-centered research, engagement and planning.
FOCUS Board of Directors
FOCUS Board of Directors
Carrie Carapella, SRC, Inc.
Sean Daughton, Dannible & McKee, LLP
Robert Haley, Architect, AIA, LEED, AP
Suzann Hensley, American Red Cross
Brian Hoke, Bentley Hoke LLC
Michelle Jones Galvin, Onondaga County administration, retired
Carlene Lacey, National Grid
Michael LaMontagne, C&S Companies
Andrea Latchem, Syracuse University retired
Matthew Oja, City of Syracuse
Donald Radke, FM Realty, Immediate Past President
Rita Reicher, Board President & acting Executive Director
Amy Rood, Brown & Sanford Consulting, LLC
Nancy H. Smith, N H Smith Consulting
Ahmeed Turner, Say Yes to Education
Bill Brod, Syracuse New Times
Lucille Browning, Citizen Volunteer
Daniel Feng, P.E.C., Inc.
Kevin Magdon, Hilton Worldwide
Andrew Maxwell, C&S Cos., SUNY ESF
Judith Mower, JC Mower Consultants
George Puzey, GA Puzey Consultants
David E. Rogers, SUNY Morrisville
William Sanford, Brown & Sanford Consulting, LLC
Rosie Taravella, American Red Cross
Mary Thompson, Home Builders & Remodelers of Central New York
Acting Executive Director and Board President
Immediate Past Board President
Former FOCUS Executive Director
Charlotte “Chuckie” Holstein
Executive Director Emeritus
315-448-8731 (o) 315-559-0812 (m)