FOCUS Greater Syracuse, Inc.

FOCUS: Forging Our Community's United Strength

aka F.O.C.U.S.   |   Syracuse, NY   |

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GuideStar Charity Check

FOCUS Greater Syracuse, Inc.

EIN: 16-1606023


FOCUS is a citizen driven organization that taps citizen creativity to bring about change in Central New York by enabling citizens, organizations and government to work together to enhance the quality of our lives and our economic future.

Ruling year info


Board President and Interim Executive Director

Ms. Rita Reicher

Main address

201 E Washington St

Syracuse, NY 13202 USA

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Subject area info

Information and communications

Urban development

Community improvement

Human rights

Human services

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Population served info


Ethnic and racial groups

Immigrants and migrants

Economically disadvantaged people

NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (A01)

Public Health Program (E70)

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Tax forms



Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

FOCUS Greater Syracuse is committed to helping the people of Central New York come together to identify the issues that matter most to them, learn about the resources and efforts made to address those issues, and help them work together to resolve them. Among the topic our stakeholders have identified and addressed are economic and environmental sustainability, maintaining a livable community for people of all ages, helping our research institutions address the health concerns most important to our population, workforce development and education.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Citizens Academy

Citizens Academy is an interactive, educational program that informs citizens about how local governments are organized, and how services are funded/delivered. It is a place to learn about citizen involvement through an integrated approach to economic vitality, social equity, and a healthy environment. The Program facilitates a dialogue between government leaders and the community. Participants join a strong network of 600+ engaged citizens. Citizens Academy has been a conduit of change and learning in Central New York for 18 years. Participants take the first steps to being informed about their community. Citizens Academy is a collaboration between the City of Syracuse, Onondaga County, and FOCUS Greater Syracuse, Inc. The program provides the opportunity to meet with key government officials and engage in a dialogue by asking pertinent questions about your community and learn from the experts, as well as meet other engaged citizens.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups

FOCUS Greater Syracuse, Inc. hosts free, monthly forums that bring together a panel of experts on a particular topic, issue, project, or initiative that is important to the CNY community. All participants have a chance to ask questions to the panel and engage in a dialogue with fellow engaged citizens.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Life Needs Assessment in Onondaga County

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Ethnic and racial groups, Adults

Related Program

FOCUS Forums

Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

The Life Needs Assessment survey has questions directed towards people’s personal needs. We have added questions that will help us understand perceptions of community needs as well as awareness of how

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

FOCUS works to enable the people of Central New York, their organizations and government to work together to enhance the quality of life and the economic future of the community.

FOCUS brings individuals and groups together in public forums and other settings to collaborate on common agendas and goals, eliminate duplicated efforts, and maximize progress on the community’s visions and goals.
FOCUS produces reports to inform the community on issues and advances made on the goals.
FOCUS pursues creative ways for organizations to achieve the goals and bring disparate groups together to develop a plan of action.
FOCUS identifies community resources and projects underway, exposes gaps, develops benchmarks and indicators for measuring progress, and reports to the community. FOCUS was an originator of “The Indicators Report” that became the CNY Vitals project of the Central New York Community Foundation.
Champion and Celebrator
FOCUS uses its citizen-based research and idea-gathering efforts to help citizens and officials work together to champion community interests and action, and to foster and celebrate community pride.

FOCUS has a small staff and a large group of volunteers, including nearly 500 graduates of our Citizens Academy who work collaboratively with positive intent to meet goals. In 2018 FOCUS celebrated 20 years of effort and identified 20 examples of progress made by our community toward achieving the 87 goals set in a broad community visioning process in 1998. You can read about the goals at .
FOCUS taps the intellectual resources of universities in the region and experts in government, business and economics to participate with community volunteers as they address issues such as environmental sustainability, workforce development, poverty, land use planning and community engagement.

In 2019, FOCUS completed its 15th year of Citizens Academy, and doubled the number of participants reached by FOCUS Forums. In 2020 FOCUS strives to continue its mission using virtual formats.
It is time to update the 2018 edition of the text for that program Patterns of Government in Onondaga County which is available on the web at and for the first time through Syracuse University's open source publishing project at .
In light of the current pandemic FOCUS has developed a series of public forums highlighting the challenges and opportunities for improving the quality of life in Central New York in ways now demanded as never before. The 2018 series on economic development brought outside experts and local business and government experts to meet with the public and field questions about how our community can support and get the optimal benefit from development in this area to reduce poverty and continue the momentum building around revitalization of this central city and the region around. In 2020 the experts as in the past are drawn from the health care and environmental community as well as business interests but with new energy.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback


FOCUS Greater Syracuse, Inc.
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

FOCUS Greater Syracuse, Inc.

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

FOCUS Greater Syracuse, Inc.

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Board President and Interim Executive Director

Ms. Rita Reicher

Rita Reicher is a past chairman of the board, president and founding partner of the marketing and consulting firm of KS&R. Reicher earned a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University and has expertise in advanced analytics and modeling. Reicher's primary area of expertise is market research and related research such as needs assessment and program evaluation. A long-time resident of the city of Syracuse and a former city employee, Reicher's interests include developing a vibrant urban community with a strong, diverse young professional component. Reicher is president of the Upstate Foundation and has been a member of the board of directors of the American Red Cross of Central New York, American Heart Association Syracuse Chapter, Central New York Community Foundation and a former trustee and current Finance Committee co-chair of All Saints Roman Catholic Church and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization locally and nationally.

FOCUS Greater Syracuse, Inc.

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

FOCUS Greater Syracuse, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 06/26/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Ms. Alicia Ernest

FOCUS Greater Syracuse, Inc.

Term: 2020 -

Robert Haley

Architect, AIA, LEED, AP

Carrie Carapella

SRC, Inc.

Sean Daughton

Dannible & McKee LLP

Brian Hoke

Bentley Hoke LLC

Michelle Jones Galvin

former Onondaga County administration

Rita Reicher, PhD

KS&R co-founder

Amy Rood

Burns & McDonnell

Matthew Oja

Syracuse Commissioner of Assessment

Andrea Latchem

former Syracuse University and Food Bank of Central New York

Donald Radke

FM Realty

Nancy H. Smith

NH Smith Consulting

Maritza Alvarado, MD

Syracuse City School District

Brian Fay

Syracuse Northeast Community Center

Sam Gordon


Greg Riley


Reginald T. Braggs

SUNY Oswego

Gerianne Corradino

Central New York Community Foundation

Robert Haley

Architect, AIA, LEED, AP

Lanessa Owens-Chaplin, Esq.

The New York Civil Liberties Union

William Sanford

Brown & Sanford Consulting, LLC

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Not applicable
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 6/26/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/26/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.