You spoke, we listened. The results of our survey inside.

More than 700 of you responded to our community engagement survey and our board and I have listened. We crunched the numbers, read your comments, and analyzed your feedback. Thank you so much for participating in our survey! It will make us smarter and stronger going forward.

Here is a summary of some of what you told us:

  --  You view Syracuse somewhat positively and our social media campaigns have made you feel more positive.

  --  You most enjoy hearing from us about fun things to do and about progress happening in Syracuse.

  --  The greatest number of respondents said they strongly approve of Believe in Syracuse and that our communication is good.

  --  More than 45% of you said you were unsure if Believe in Syracuse is making a difference in the community.

  --  Overall you said you were aware of our mission: to promote positive perceptions and improve the quality of life in Syracuse

Perhaps the most loud and clear message we received was from your responses to the last question in this survey. When asked "What activities would you like to see Believe in Syracuse focus most on in 2018?" there seemed to be a theme and widespread agreement. Here are the four most popular responses out of 15 choices, ranked from #1 to #4:

  1. Promote Syracuse as a great place to live
  2. Retain and attract talented people to Syracuse
  3. Promote Syracuse Neighborhoods
  4. Create awareness of employment opportunities here

Clearly, you want us to promote what makes Syracuse a great place to live. This is something we already do, but going forward we're going to seek new and improved ways to promote neighborhoods and employment opportunities with the goal of retaining and attracting people who want to live in our great city.

Going forward in 2018, our Arts and Community Service programming will continue to grow. Art can inspire and improve our community. There's absolutely nothing that makes me believe in Syracuse more than witnessing people volunteer, get books to kids and winter clothing to the homeless. These are things we're doing in significant ways and 45% of you seem to be unaware, so we'll have to work on that.

What can clarify for folks our role in improving the community is a focus on and a creation of a long-term plan to retain and attract people to Syracuse. Based on your feedback, that is something I am committed to, and always have been since Believe in Syracuse began.

Every comment and every response was listened to and read so we have lots of constructive feedback on ways we can do better and we will. In the meantime, please join us January 26th at our Birthday Bash at the Landmark. Click here to RSVP:

Thank you for your feedback and continued support. The full survey data is below. 

Q1. How positively do you view the Greater Syracuse Community?

Answer Choices Responses  
Very positively 29.63% 208  
Somewhat positively 51.71% 363  
Neutral 9.69% 68  
Somewhat negatively 8.26% 58  
Very negatively 0.71% 5  
  Answered 702  
  Skipped 0  

Q2. How has Believe in Syracuse's social media content made you feel about Greater Syracuse?

Answer Choices Responses  
Feel much more positive about Syracuse 10.97% 77  
Feel more positive about Syracuse 33.62% 236  
Feel slightly more positive about Syracuse 26.07% 183  
No change 19.66% 138  
Feel less positively about Syracuse 1.14% 8  
I have not been following Believe in Syracuse on Social Media 8.55% 60  
  Answered 702  
  Skipped 0  

Q3. What types of information do you enjoy receiving from Believe in Syracuse?

Answer Choices Responses  
Fun things to do in Greater Syracuse 73.99% 512  
Showing the positive aspects of Greater Syracuse 66.47% 460  
Highlighting progress happening in Greater Syracuse 72.40% 501  
Believe in Syracuse Events 54.19% 375  
Local charitable initiatives 45.52% 315  
Local Art 43.93% 304  
Opportunities to get involved in the community 56.36% 390  
New Local Restaurants, Breweries, and Wineries 67.77% 469  
New locally owned businesses 62.57% 433  
Other (please specify) 5.64% 39  
  Answered 692  
  Skipped 10  
Other - Written responses categorized
Getting people involved 3 Highlight people 3
Government/politics 3 Keep up good work 3
Have not received much 6 Public services 2
Highlight other orgs 2 Reduce Poverty 4
Want more communication 1 Too much boosterism 2
Young people 2 Too much info in society 2

Q4. How would you rate the Believe in Syracuse communication you receive?

Answer Choices Responses  
Excellent 16.10% 113  
Good 52.85% 371  
Fair 19.09% 134  
Poor 2.14% 15  
I do not receive such communication 9.83% 69  
Comments / Feedback   26  
  Answered 702  
  Skipped 0  
Other - Written responses categorized
Improve committee communication 3 New person 1
Improvement Suggestion 5 Not enough 4
Love it 1 Too busy to read it 2
Too much 6    
Too much (breakdown) - 5 from email list subscribers, 1 from a member, zero from social media followers

Q5. Do you approve of Believe in Syracuse?

Answer Choices Responses  
Strongly approve 44.51% 312  
Approve 42.80% 300  
No opinion 10.70% 75  
Disapprove 1.57% 11  
Strongly disapprove 0.43% 3  
  Answered 701  
  Skipped 1  

Q6. How much does Believe in Syracuse make a difference improving our community?

Answer Choices Responses  
A lot 24.79% 174  
A little 27.21% 191  
Not sure 45.73% 321  
Not at all 2.28% 16  
  Answered 702  
  Skipped 0  

Q7. Our mission is to promote positive perceptions and improve the quality of life in the Greater Syracuse Area. How aware of this were you?

Answer Choices Responses  
I was very aware 49.72% 349  
I was somewhat aware 41.03% 288  
I was not aware of your mission at all 9.26% 65  
  Answered 702  
  Skipped 0  

Q8. What activities would you like to see Believe in Syracuse focus most on in 2018?

Answer Choices Responses  
Supporting the Arts 30.91% 217  
Increase awareness and excitement about Syracuse Arts and Cultural activities 48.72% 342  
Promote Syracuse a great place to live 65.10% 457  
Create awareness of employment opportunities here 56.13% 394  
Celebrating Syracuse 52.85% 371  
Civic Engagement 45.30% 318  
Voter registration 30.34% 213  
Countering local cynicism 45.87% 322  
Community Service 43.73% 307  
Increasing access to books in our neighborhoods 19.23% 135  
Creating art to inspire local pride 28.49% 200  
Providing essential goods to the less fortunate 34.62% 243  
Promote Syracuse Neighborhoods 57.12% 401  
Retain and attract talented people to Syracuse 59.54% 418  
Increase awareness and excitement about Syracuse Sports & Nature Activities 29.20% 205  
Other (please specify) 9.26% 65  
  Answered 702  
  Skipped 0  
Other - Written responses categorized
All are important 6 Jobs 3
Collaborate with other Organizations 3 Politics/Government 2
Crime, Safety, Police 7 Poverty 7
Education 5 Promote Activities 3
Focus more narrowly 2 Promote to rest of USA 2
Health 3 Young families 2
Inspire Optimism 4 Youth 6

P.S. - our 5th Birthday Party is an amazing assembly of people and organizations that make Syracuse a great place to live. It will include locally owned food vendors, artists, non-profits, neighborhood groups and some major employers. The event is next Friday night and to be sure you can get in you should RSVP. Click here:


John DeSantis
Believe in Syracuse

RSVP NOW: Believe in Syracuse Party Next Friday night!

Believe in Syracuse's 5th Birthday Party next Friday night is a celebration and showcase of everything that makes Syracuse a great place to live.

Admission is $10 and 100% of the proceeds will go to our charitable community service programs. Click here to learn more about the big event or click here to signup to attend right now.

We're all sold out of vendor space with 80 organizations signed up to be there to serve free food samples, showcase locally made art, promote job opportunities and great local causes. It's going to be a heck of a party, and a party for a good cause:


In 2017, Believe in Syracuse's Community Service Committee erected its first Believe in Syracuse Book Swap in our city, increasing 24-7 access to books for kids and adults who could benefit most from them. They also launched the Community & Caring Initiative which distributed thousands of books to kids to fill the summer reading gap and is currently collecting winter warmth items for the homeless.

Our 5th Birthday Party will provide our community service team with the resources they need to make an even bigger impact in 2018. For your $10 donation, you support them, get to sample food, beer, and coffee from local vendors, network with local employers AND enjoy live music by Joe Driscoll!

Our 3rd Birthday had 600 people and 30 vendors. Our 4th Birthday had 1,200 people and 80 vendors. This year we sold out of vendor space at 80 vendors and we expect to sell out of tickets as well. Click here and RSVP to attend today:


P.S. Are you already a member of Believe in Syracuse? The Birthday Party is free for members and members can RSVP Here. Interested in becoming a member for the year for just $25? Click here.



John DeSantis
Believe in Syracuse

Vendors like these make Syracuse a great place to live

Greater Syracuse is a great place to live. Syracuse has great art, culture, and quality of life. You can be in Armory Square at Empire Brewing, Cathy's Cookie Kitchen or at the Landmark Theatre and drive 15 minutes and be in an apple orchard in Lafayette.

Syracuse has great local restaurants, local artists, and local charities. We're still signing up new vendors through this Friday so if you'd like your organization to join us, click here. However, we already have more than 60 organizations confirmed to join us January 26th at our 5th Birthday Party!

Check out the initial vendor list below and then signup to attend the event for just $10 at


To add your business or non-profit to this list, visit

We're also extremely excited that local musician Joe Driscoll will be performing, making this an amazing party. Joe's a great entertainer and is now a local city councilor as well! His performance alone is worth the $10 price of admission - 100% of which goes to charity.


Performers, vendors, and events like these are what make Syracuse a great place to live. Join us! Learn more at




Release: Believe in Syracuse Requests Proposals for Local Artistic Mural

pride_banner.png-    Press Release     -

Believe in Syracuse Requests Proposals for Local Artistic Mural

Syracuse, November 5 2017 – Believe in Syracuse announced plans to install a mural at 1022 W. Fayette St. Syracuse in the summer of 2018.   The official request for proposals (RFP) was recently released for all artists with a total budget of up to $20,000.

Paul Colabufo, President of the Believe in Syracuse Board of Directors, noted a renewed interest in the arts in CNY with many projects and new venues.  “Combined they change Syracuse drastically, and for the better, by making it a more beautiful and interesting place to live,” Colabufo stated.  

Complete details and the official RFP can be found on Believe in Syracuse’s website at   

Artists must submit proposals no later than March 16, 2018. A panel of local judges will choose the winning submission on May 1. The project is expected to begin shortly after. The submission will be chosen based on a variety of factors focusing heavily on the artist whose artwork promotes a positive perception and inspires a sense of pride in Syracuse.

Believe in Syracuse is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote positive aspects of Greater Syracuse and help improve the quality of life for its residents.  Artwork which helps spread the Believe in Syracuse message can increase the emotional connection to the area.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of Summer.  The mural is in a high traffic area on Syracuse’s West Side.  The area has gained a lot of attention in the artistic community and is becoming a bright spot in the community.

“The Gear Factory and Lipe Art Park are drawing talented and creative people to the Near Westside,” Colabufo said.  ”We want our mural to fit into this culture and help advance the wonderful changes they have already made possible.”

High visibility and recognition will be great for any established or struggling artist.  


Believe in Syracuse’s mission promotes positive perceptions and improves the quality of life in the Greater Syracuse area.  Learn more by visiting the website and become a member today.


Press Contact:  MarkAvery Claridge


Mobile phone:  (315)289-2500

Major Announcement about the Believe in Syracuse Birthday Bash!

Today we are so excited to officially announce our Presenting Sponsors for our 5th Birthday Party January 26th! They are a locally owned provider of electricity, natural gas, & green energy: BlueRock Energy and a provider of locally-sourced dairy products: Byrne Hollow Farm! Also - huge shout out to our Platinum sponsor - Staffing Agency AP Professionals

These sponsors are enabling us to grow this event to new heights. Last year we had 1,200 people and 80 vendors! Made possible by support from our sponsors, we have already booked dozens of vendors for this year's event and Joe Driscoll is slated to perform live. This event supports an amazing cause, 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales will go toward our community service initiatives that support people in need in our community.

It's going to be one heck of a party with one theme: Celebrating Syracuse. There will be dozens of vendors serving local food, dessert, beer, wine, and liquor. There will be local nonprofit vendors, local art vendors, and locally owned corporate sponsors. This event has grown year after year. This year we're going to sell out of tickets and vendor space. To become a vendor, click here and sign upClick here to get tickets and to become a sponsor, click here for more info.


This fall we conducted a survey of our members and followers like you and the results were striking. There was near unanimous agreement about what's important to you in events like this. Three things: 1) Local Food and Beverages 2) Celebrating Syracuse 3) Proceeds go to a good cause. 

That's why we've reserved our lowest vendor fees for local food and beverage vendors and redoubling our efforts to recruit local food and beverage vendors. We're focusing on Celebrating Syracuse by highlighting Syracuse neighborhoods, local causes, local business and all the qualities that make Syracuse prosperous and fun. That's why for the first time, all proceeds from our ticket sales are restricted to only be used for our Community Service charitable initiatives.

Our most recent Birthday Party had 1,200 people and 80 vendors. This event has doubled in size every year and this year we expect to sell out of tickets and vendor space. For more info or to sign up to be a vendor, sponsor or attendee visit

Here's a year by year history of our Birthday Party:

Read more

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.

book_distribution.jpgIn 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.

Wide_Collage.jpgOver 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.

Mighty_Salt_City_Mural_and_Sharyl_Crow.pngIn 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 PartyBecome a vendorsponsor or attendee January 26th or visit 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.


Believe in Syracuse Announces New Board Members

To view our entire roster of active board members visit

Jessica_Bumpus.jpgJessica Bumpus - Board Member

Jessica Bumpus has been a resident of the Syracuse area since 2004, moving from central Texas to pursue a Bachelor’s degree at SUNY ESF. After having her son in 2007, she decided to settle in the area. She currently works at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo as the Gift Shop Manager and Buyer, the Chair of the Conservation Committee, and member of the Education Committee. She is the Treasurer for the Rosamond Gifford Zoo chapter of American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) and former Executive Board member of GreeningUSA. She recently moved to Lyncourt, has one son (aged 9), a wonderful husband, and a personal zoo (3 cats, 2 dogs, 1 guinea pig). In her spare time she enjoys reading, hiking, and running (both competitively and for fun). She is very interested in sustainability, civic engagement, and community organizing.




Kim Parker - Secretary

Kim Parker is the Founder of the AP Professionals Syracuse, NY office, a professional staffing firm which opened in May 2014 and is the newest office of the firm which was founded in 1993 in Buffalo and has offices in Rochester and Scottsdale, AZ. Leveraging 25+ years of management experience in Fortune 500 companies as well as community-based organizations, Kim’s focus is on placement of finance, accounting, human resources and administrative professionals on a direct hire, temporary and temporary-to-hire basis in the greater Syracuse community. She loves helping people get the job they want with the employer they want and everybody wins! Kim resides in Cazenovia and her pride and joy are her two sons, a 23-year-old who is a U.S. Marine Corps Officer and a 12-year-old who is in 7th grade and an avid hockey player. Kim is excited and honored to be a part of Believe in Syracuse and to be a member of the Board.

Sally_Photo.jpgSally Sayles-Hannon - Board Member

Sally is a diversity educator and active community organizer/advocate in Central New York. She has been an instructor at five U.S. universities and colleges. Currently, she holds an instructor position at Cayuga Community College in Auburn, New York in the School of Social Sciences and Education. She holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies from Grand Valley State University, an M.A. in Women’s Studies from Texas Woman’s University, and is a Ph.D. Candidate in Cultural Foundations of Education at Syracuse University. Sally is presently the Chair of Believe in Syracuse’s Community Service Committee.


Sally moved to Syracuse in August of 2008 from Dallas, Texas. Her love of Greater Syracuse, especially the community, has since made Syracuse her home. When she has the opportunity, she enjoys visiting family in Michigan, spending a good weekend in the outdoors, and listening to live music. She resides in Clay, New York with her significant other and two cats, Otto and Ollie.

Job Opportunity! Program & Outreach Specialist Position.

Sharing for a friend! A local nonprofit organization is seeking applicants for the following full-time position! Please note that this is not a position with Believe in Syracuse and all inquiries should be directed to the hiring organization by email at

Job Title: Program & Outreach Specialist / Full Time / Syracuse

Education: Minimum Associates Degree

Experience: Minimum 2 years nonprofit experience in a related field preferred.  

Appropriate experience in for profit business may be substituted.

Good social media skills a plus.

Delivery of direct program services to clients

Salary:$28k - $31k annually / DOE

Benefits: Medical insurance available, paid vacation, paid holidays, misc.

Apply: Send resumé & cover letter to:


Assist in the smooth and efficient operation and administration of a variety of organization programs, as well perform outreach activities as directed, to ensure effective and timely delivery of mission-driven services.


  • Coordinates the delivery of services & outreach throughout the CNY community to increase effectiveness & efficiency.

  • Process large volume of client requests/intake for program services.  Heavy client contact.

  • Develops forms, documents and maintains records of programmatic, outreach & volunteer activities.

  • Compose and edit internal and external correspondence.

  • Maintain agency databases & files, tracks activity data, and assist in preparation of pertinent reports.

  • Utilizes designated evaluation tools and conducts periodic reviews / reports findings.

  • Direct liaison to volunteers and community partners, providing direction, input and feedback.  

  • Assists in promotion of organization programs & activities to increase public awareness and program units of service.

  • Assist in planning and implementing special projects.

  • General office duties.

  • Other duties as assigned.



  • Ability to maintain confidentiality.

  • Able to work independently and manage time effectively.

  • Exceptional organizational skills.  Able to prioritize and plan work with minimal oversight, while developing realistic action plans with a high level of commitment and follow-through.

  • Exhibits sound and accurate judgment and includes appropriate persons in the decision-making process.  

  • Ability to align work with organizational strategic goals.

  • Self-starter -- Maintain a high degree of professionalism and able to approach others with tact.  

  • Ability to synthesize complex or diverse data & information.

  • Ability to identify and resolve problems in a timely manner, as well as use reason when dealing with emotional topics.

  • Excellent written, social media, and oral communication skills.  Able to respond well to questions, as well as read and clearly interpret written information.

  • Willingness to learn new concepts and skills.

  • High degree of empathy balanced with an understanding of ethical behavior and business practices.  

  • Teamwork – Contributes to building a positive team spirit.  Gives and welcomes feedback.



  • Phone and voicemail system

  • High degree of proficiency with computer software, particularly Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Publisher)

  • E-mail and Internet

  • Copier, scanner, misc office equipment



  • General office environment, occasional outreach/events offsite.

  • May be required to occasionally work some evening and weekend hours.

  • Occasional, light lifting of supplies (under 25 lbs.) for program activities.

  • Must have valid NYS driver’s license.

Our 5th Birthday Party - Where should it be?

We turned 4 years old this past January and held a huge celebration at the MOST in Armory Square. Other recent birthday party locations: Sky Armory and the Landmark Theater!

Where do you think we should hold the next big event? Click here and let us know!

Aside from a location, we'd love to hear your feedback on our big events. Just a few quick questions in our survey. Average completion time so far has just been 4 minutes. Fill it out here:

Believe in Syracuse's Community and Caring Initiative is hosting a feminine hygiene drive for low-income and homeless women and girls in need of tampons, sanitary napkins, disposable cleansing wipes, and condoms in the Greater Syracuse community. We're holding a fundraiser via Facebook in order to make a big impact with this. Click here to donate $10, $50 or whatever you can.

Finally, we're doing one last big push for Fall Fellowship applicants! Interested in interning with Believe in Syracuse this fall, or do you know someone who might? Click here and apply or spread the word!



Shape the Future of Believe in Syracuse's Special Events

Thank you to the hundreds of you who came out to the Greater Syracuse Arts & Culture Festival on Friday at the Zoo!

Special thank you to our Presenting Sponsor AP Professionals! Thank you to our Platinum sponsor Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways, Gold sponsors CH Insurance, CNY Community Foundation, Unorthadoxed Studios, Breadcrumbs Productions, our 60+ amazing vendors and thank you to Rosamond Gifford Zoo!

I am writing to you today because we want your feedback on this event and all out big special events. From the Progress Gala to our Birthday Parties to this year's Arts & Culture Festival, we want your honest opinion of our events. More importantly, we want to know what types of events you'd like to see us plan and what types of events you'd like to attend in the future!

By taking this 6 question survey, you have a real opportunity to help shape what will be some incredibly exciting and cutting-edge events that are purposeful and fun. We want our events to build up our community and bring us together to celebrate and enjoy Syracuse.

New ideas and suggestions are encouraged! Click here and let us know what you think.

If you were a vendor or a sponsor at any of our events over the past two years, click here to fill out our vendor/sponsor survey.

Here are some photos of our Arts & Culture Festival Last Friday at the Zoo: