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Sheena Solomon

Gifford Foundation
Director of Neighborhood Initatives
Syracuse, NY
Sheena E. Solomon, Director of Neighborhood Initiatives has been with the Gifford Foundation since 2007. In addition to her work with grant applicants, the grants management team and various initiatives, she also serves as the Foundation’s representative in their community engagement work. She is deeply engaged in community organizing within the City of Syracuse which includes regular communication and meetings with local activists and residents. Sheena was essential in the creation and implementation of Gifford’s city-wide initiative, the “What If…” Mini Grants, which provides a resource in fostering growth in neighborhoods and strengthening the capacity of residents who are focused on making positive changes in their neighborhoods.

Sheena is currently partnering and advising with the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York on neighborhood issues and serves on the advisory committee of The Leadership Classroom, a project of the Central New York Community Foundation. She has been instrumental in the design and planning for the new Syracuse Food Co-op, insuring community buy-in and strengthening neighborhood partnerships. Sheena is a 2012 graduate of the PLACES (Professionals Learning About Community Equity and Smart Growth) program, a yearlong professional development program designed to explore key issues that affect grantmaking decisions that are responsive to the needs and assets of low-income neighborhoods and people of color. Prior to joining the Foundation Sheena spent nine years working at local non-profit organizations where she developed an understanding and joy for working with people in the community.

Sheena has a passion for helping others and the patience and understanding that many in today’s society need. She truly believes the “teaching people how to fish” concept is the best way to building strong vibrant communities. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and treasuring every moment because tomorrow is promised to no one. She plans to continue on her path of being a confident, calm and courageous leader in the community.