As the Greater Syracuse region begins to experience economic growth, rates of poverty, particularly in inner city neighborhoods, are also rising sharply. This dynamic leaves individuals and families struggling at the margins of our community, while undermining the long-term health of our region. When it comes to combatting poverty, there are no easy answers. However, we must recognize that poverty is ultimately an economic condition, which requires economic solutions, first and foremost. We also acknowledge that poverty is not evenly distributed; it exists in concentrated geographies, where vicious cycles are reinforced over years and generations. We, therefore, must pursue solutions that concentrate efforts and resources in these places. Most importantly, we recognize that poverty is exemplified by countless individuals who have the talent and motivation to succeed but struggle to access opportunity and find the footing they need to succeed over time.
What would happen if an anti-poverty agenda was transformed into a community prosperity agenda? What if, rather than “solving the problems of poverty”, we were committed to empowering the thousands of individuals in struggling neighborhoods, who are ready to change their own story and rewrite their community’s narrative?
Community Prosperity is defined by strong neighborhoods, where all individuals and families can access opportunities, build wealth, and enjoy a high quality of life.
The Allyn Family Foundation seeks to disrupt concentrated poverty in targeted Syracuse neighborhoods by empowering residents to fulfill their full potential, while contributing to the wellbeing of their families and the revitalization of their neighborhoods.
To advance a community prosperity agenda, there must be leadership and engagement at the neighborhood level. However, small neighborhood organizations struggle to catalyze change alone. They must be connected to resources, ideas and opportunities that exist outside of their communities. Therefore, the Allyn Family Foundation will convene partnerships between networks of community-based organizations and services agencies, economic and community development entities, and businesses. Together we will develop common strategies that advance the goals of neighborhood leaders and residents.
The Allyn Family Foundation will help build community prosperity in targeted Syracuse neighborhoods by investing in Economic Opportunity, Economic Empowerment, and Vibrant Neighborhoods.
Work Train Collaborative
The “Work Train Collaborative” (WTC) is a partnership dedicated to furthering prosperity in the Syracuse community by providing career pathways to low-income individuals while fulfilling employment needs of local employers. This initiative is built upon workforce development strategies developed by the Metropolitan Development Association (now Centerstate CEO) in 2007 – and the pilot efforts of Northside UP (Green Train and Health Train). Work Train's platform for demand-based, employer-driven workforce programming works to align and aggregate the resources of different partners. The Collaborative is a unique partnership comprised of leaders from the philanthropic community, city and county government, educational institutions, business organizations, community-based organizations and workforce agencies.
Funders in this initiative include the Allyn Foundation, the Central New York Community Foundation, the Gifford Foundation, the Reisman Foundation and the United Way of Central New York, who is serving as the fiscal agent for the partnership.
The WTC is a partner site within the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, an initiative of national and local funders supporting a national network of employer-driven workforce initiatives to help low-wage jobseekers obtain career opportunities. Partnership with the National Fund allows us to have access to resources and technical assistance from National Fund expert staff; share best practices and network with other partner sites; and be eligible for philanthropic and federal funds that come to the National Fund.
WTC represents a community-wide effort that aligns multiple partners from all aspects of the workforce development system. The effort is different than any other workforce development initiative in Syracuse because it primarily functions to engage employers and aggregate job demand. The Collaborative will engage and align community partners to develop initiatives that link community residents to employers within targeted industries. In that sense, it seeks to enhance various efforts around the community.