2017 Year in Review - Believe in Syracuse
Believe in Syracuse is a non-profit organization with the mission of promoting positive perceptions and improving the quality of life in the Greater Syracuse Area.
We advance our mission by using arts to inspire civic pride. Believing in Syracuse also motivates us to give back to those in need, increasing access to books and essential items like hats and coats for the homeless. Through our social media and events, we are lifting up our collective spirit and pride in our community.
2017 Believe in Syracuse Year in Review:
2017 started with a bang for us with our 4th Birthday Party in January. 1,200 people came together to celebrate the work Carrie Lazarus and Symphoria have done in the Arts. Eighty vendors converged on the Museum of Science & Technology in Downtown Syracuse. Art vendors, non-profit vendors, and locally owned business vendors - everything from the growing Creole Soule to Dinosaur BBQ, from Empire Brewing Company to our presenting sponsors AP Professionals and BlueRock Energy. The event had an approval rating of over 90% and it raised thousands of dollars to help us advance our mission. It showed off the best of Syracuse and helped build a sense of community.
This spring was a time of strategic planning and board development. More than 60 of you came together for our Spring General Interest Meeting. There was a presentation about Syracuse and about why we believe in it. There was also a presentation about our organization and our structure. There were breakout sessions for each of our committees. This spring we put a lot of focus into the Gifford Foundation POWER program - it was an honor to be selected for this and we learned so much about capacity building by developing more administrative systems. The Gifford Foundation provided our board members with some valuable training.
This summer was a season of action for our organization. Thanks to a grant from the Central New York Community Foundation, the Community & Caring Initiative collected over 2,500 children's books and distributed them to local children in need to help fill the summer reading gap. It was amazing to see smiles on the faces of children as we distributed K-5 books in partnership with Hopeprint and the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County at their Summer Learning Day.
In August we hosted the Greater Syracuse Arts & Culture Festival Presented by AP Professionals. We had 65 Art & Culture Vendors. It was amazing to taste food from cultures from all over the world. There was Ice Cream from the first ever Syrian sweets company in the United States that launched here in Syracuse, Filipino food, Pakistani food, Indian food and so much more. There was even an Irish dance performance. The event generated a lot of local news media attention, helped showcase the diversity of Syracuse and break down barriers between different cultures.
Over the past few months, our membership committee ramped up in a major way, hosting a successful Meat Up at Dinosaur BBQ and a members-only holiday party at Maxwells. Our Community & Caring Initiative wrapped up a feminine hygiene drive for low-income and homeless women and girls in need of tampons, sanitary napkins, disposable cleansing wipes, and condoms. We also released our request for proposal for our $20,000 mural competition. This will harness the creativity of the local art community to come up with the best idea for how to inspire civic pride through a public mural. The mural will be located at 1022 West Fayette St near the corner of Geddes Street.
In November we unveiled our first BIS Book Swap - Believe in Syracuse's free, accessible and open 24/7 community library box in the Hawley Green Neighborhood at the corner of Lodi and North Crouse. The project was funded by Eastwood Rotary and done in partnership with NEHDA, Hawley Green Neighbors, and SALT Makerspace.
Currently and entering 2018, the Believe in Syracuse team is focused on a number of programs. One is our Creativity Crates initiative which will support and inspire the next generation of local artists. Our Winter Warmth Drive will benefit We Rise Above The Streets Recovery Outreach and the Samaritan Center. Our 5th Birthday Party - the premiere annual Syracuse showcase and celebration of our community will be held January 26th at the Landmark Theatre! 100% of the ticket sales from our birthday party will benefit our community service programs such as our summer book drive and our BIS Book Swaps.
We believe in Syracuse. That's what motivated us to do this work in 2017. We use the arts to inspire civic pride, give back to those in need, lift up our collective spirit and build a sense of community.
Do you believe in Syracuse? Join us for the 5th Birthday Party. Become a vendor, sponsor or attendee January 26th or visit believeinsyracuse.org to learn about other ways to get involved.
On behalf of our Board of Directors and our entire organization - THANK YOU for all your support. Together we will make 2018 a great year for all of us in the Greater Syracuse Community.