Welfare to work? Crisis intervention? Cooperation among service providers? Where does the City of Syracuse need help—and what can be done?
      Those are questions being asked by the School of Social Work and the Rosamond Gifford Foundation in a partnership forged by a $420,000 foundation grant. The Rosamond Gifford Community Exchange Forums will kick off November 18 with a dinner and daylong dialogue featuring Geoffrey Canada, an activist in the areas of teen violence prevention, community development, and building collaborative relationships among human service providers.
      A series of forums will follow over the next year and a half. A survey sent to area service providers helped an advisory board shape the program for the forums, which will bring together stakeholders from the community in search of models, plans, and solutions.
      Gifford and the School of Social Work announced their partnership early this summer at a reception in the Sims Hall atrium. "The School of Social Work has always been about meeting people's needs and striving for immediate care for individuals, families, and communities, and long-term positive change for society as a whole," says William Pollard, dean of the School of Social Work.
      The partnership will have an inclusive approach, Pollard says. "The role of Gifford and the School of Social Work is to bring a collaborative style of expertise to facilitating these forums. It will cut through the barriers to effective partnership, and help our community find solutions."
      The gift from the Syracuse-based Rosamond Gifford Foundation, which recently made a multiyear $2 million gift to the community's Burnet Park Zoo, represents an increasing activism for the foundation. The foundation's move to be proactive and the school's interest in building local support networks created this strategic partnership.
      "We see the role of the Gifford Foundation as one of convener and catalyst to focus the community's efforts on social and economic improvement," says Dean Lesinski, Gifford's executive director and a native Syracusan. "Our goal is to create an environment in which diverse constituencies can gather the information and tools they need to work together for the common good. We believe this joint venture will stimulate social and organizational change in the Syracuse community for many years to come."
      Gifford and the School of Social Work share a long history: One of the foundation's earliest gifts, in 1956, jump-started the school in its formative phase. "We have come full circle," Pollard says.
Many companies support their employees' charitable giving by "matching" their gifts. Your donation to Syracuse's Commitment to PigLearning campaign may be duplicated in part or in whole, or be multiplied by your business's matching-gift program.
      Employers see matching-gift programs as a way to ensure that their charitable resources are directed to causes deemed important by their employees and the community.
      This past fiscal year, July 1, 1998, to June 30, 1999, matching gifts accounted for more than $900,000 to Syracuse University and its schools and colleges. The top five matching-gift companies for the year were:
  • IBM Corporation $379,877
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Company $97,175
  • GE Fund $95,326
  • Exxon Education Foundation $64,278
  • ARCO Foundation $20,000
          Contact your employer's human resources department for instructions on requesting matching gifts. If the company matches gifts, you can include a matching-gift form from your employer every time you send in a contribution. We—and your employer—will take care of the rest.
    Just out of graduate school at Syracuse, Jennifer Carter '73, G'75 received a diagnosis she couldn't entirely grasp. "I didn't even know what the initials MS stood for," the social worker and volunteer says of multiple sclerosis.
    heart       More than 20 years later, with two teenage daughters and an active life centered in New York City, Carter knows full well what those initials represent. She also has a vision of social workers becoming as well acquainted with multiple sclerosis—and other neurological illnesses—as health care professionals and those who live with the disease. To that end, she's given a major gift to the School of Social Work to establish the Jennifer Corn Carter MS Awareness Symposium."
          Multiple means just that," Carter says. "Some of us have cognitive problems, vision problems, or mobility problems. Most of us suffer fatigue. But each patient is different. MS strikes people during their most productive years, between 15 and 50, and it invades all aspects of their lives."
          Carter's experience at SU taught her how to be an advocate for her clients, she says. "I later used this skill for myself, after my own diagnosis." Carter wants this symposium to encourage other social workers to push the system for their clients' benefit.
          The daylong symposium will focus on the medical, social, family, economic, health care, and emotional challenges of living with neurological disorders, and will ensure that social work students are exposed to the latest knowledge in the field. "Students are often unprepared to work with people with neurological disorders—or with any particular disease—unless they've done their placement work in such a setting," Carter says.
          The move to establish the symposium was prompted by her neurologist, Dr. Labe Scheinberg, and his vision to establish MS care clinics in pilot cities. Carter, a longtime supporter of the School of Social Work, served on its Board of Visitors until travel to Syracuse became too difficult. "I hope that through this gift, social work students will begin to understand that a chronic illness invades all aspects of their clients' lives," she says.

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