Meet the Judges

Sean Kirst Writer & Author Sean Kirst is a longtime Upstate writer, journalist and storyteller. He has written for five newspapers in the region, including 27 years as a columnist with the Syracuse Post-Standard. His third book, The Soul of Central New York, will be released in December by the Syracuse University Press. Ashley Kang…

Christine Henderson: HumaneCNY

What matters to me is the care and support of our animal friends who have to face being out in the cold this season. I totally support the HumaneCNY for the wonderful work they do caring for animals not lucky enough to have homes. There is where I would want the funds to go. They…

Ann Byrne: The Samaritan Center

The Samaritan Center now located in the former St. John The Evangelist Church on State Street in Syracuse matters greatly to me. The guests who come here, young and old are so grateful for this facility. Yes, they are grateful for the lovely biblical stained glass windows and the gothic quality that seems to express…

Mary Bean: Spafford Area Historical Society

What matters to me is community. The Spafford Area Historical Society (SAHS) is the largest organization in the Town of Spafford and surrounding area that provides a vehicle for social interaction, meaningful volunteer work, and supports education about and preservation of historical sites and information. In a Town of approximately 700 families, 300 belong to…

Debra Delaney: Perform4Purpose

My “compelling story” starts with a somewhat brief introduction of my situation to lay the ground work for how and why I am so compassionate about the non-profit organization Perform 4 Purpose and the people who run it, co-founders, the altruistic Jim VanArsdale and his beautiful daughter Jen VanArsdale. Together they are a hard-working, dedicated…

Laura Adams: CancerConnects

CancerConnects—with love Imagine hearing over the phone that you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer. You’re not alone, you know, but you are by yourself when you hear the words, “your test was positive.” It’s Friday on a holiday weekend, and your doctor rushes and promises to get you in to a specialist the following Tuesday….

Kayleen Wilkinson

Non-profits as economic and cultural stimulants What would happen if we truly became educated on the missions of our local nonprofits and began to leverage them as the social, cultural and economic stimulants that they are designed to be? Additionally, how better could we achieve this if we as employees of non-profits understood our role…

Christine Krahling: Chadwick Residence

Home. It’s a word that means different things to different people. For some, home is a place where you can kick back at the end of a long workday, and, maybe—if you’re truly blessed—have a loving spouse, a child or two, and a dog waiting to greet you.  Perhaps you’re lucky enough to carry fond…

CONTEST WINNER: Ellen Spencer

Ellen Spencer was chosen as one of the five winners of our online “What Matters to You?” Contest. We asked community members to tell us what matters to them in CNY. Learn more about Ellen below and scroll down to view her entry.: Charity to receive donation: Samaritan Center Why is Central New York important to…

Neva Pilgrim: CNY Arts Groups

What matters to me in CNY? That there are people who love creating things from scratch, who enjoy working really hard together to produce worthy programs by ‘locally grown’ creative artists. This is crucial in order for CNY to stay on the cutting-edge artistically, just as the tech companies do. And thinking outside the box…

Joan Hickey: The Samaritan Center

May all beings be happy, may all beings be free from suffering, may all beings be at peace and may my actions contribute to this. These are the words of a Buddhist mantra that I love and every time I silently repeat it I think of the people at the Samaritan Center, the staff, the…