Strategic Planning Letter of Report

Dear TNT Members,

It has been a pleasure having many of you join us for the three sessions of our strategic planning process that took place in March, April and the beginning of June. We have completed follow-up and debriefing within our Strategic Planning Committee and with our facilitators, Sheena and Heidi from the Gifford Foundation, and hereby present to you this letter affirming the results of the process.

It was agreed that TNT is at its best when it serves as a forum, a bridge, and a catalyst for action. It was also agreed that there are many areas that TNT could improve on to be more effective. Below are recommendation for short-term, mid-term, and long-term objectives for TNT, and brief notes about each recommendation.

Short-term goals (within 1 year):

•      Complete a Facilitator Handbook - Scheduled for completion in September

•      Provide more detailed information about TNT at monthly Sector meetings - Staff Coordinator will compile and make available a binder that contains by-laws, updated list of policies, Facilitator Handbook, contact info of all Facilitators and Citywide Board Members.

•      Create clear job descriptions describing the roles and responsibilities of TNT personnel (Facilitators, Board Members, Coordinator, etc.) - An organizational chart and descriptions are in development.

•      Create more consistency between sectors in regards to how meetings are run, elections are held, and sector funds are dispersed - Sample agenda formats are provided that contain adequate space for assigning a welcomer at the door, introductions, printed mission statement, personnel contact info, ground rules, Board report-backs.

•      Improve outreach and communication between sectors - More outreach methods on a consistent basis, including Facebook, postcards, website, newsletter, door to door, emails, technology, and Board Members/Facilitators

•      Develop a formal, written fundraising policy for the Sectors - Scheduled for completion by end of August.

•      Celebrate accomplishments - Organize picnics, public events, press events, etc.

•      Become more intentional about inclusiveness - Work to reach out and engage diverse groups within the community

Mid-term goals (within 2 years):

•      Develop a leadership pipeline that allows new leaders to join the Board and become Facilitators - TBD

•      Create a communication flow chart - This is a document that will list "if you

need.... this is who you call or email”

•      Have an annual summit for leadership development like Syracuse Neighborhood Action Conference - TBD

•      Strengthen citywide collaboration to address common concerns - Develop a collective voice which will have more power when trying to improve our city.

•      Provide training for TNT personnel - clarify roles and responsibilities and how communication should flow between Board members, Facilitators, Sector Meeting Participants, the Coordinator, etc.

Long-term goals (within 5 years):

•      Resolve issues with the TNT Ordinance - discuss applicability of the city’s TNT Ordinance and remove reference to it if it no longer applies to TNT.

•      Strengthen the relationship with City Departments and clarify how Sectors can most effectively provide planning input - TBD

•      Reevaluate the TNT Sector sizes and areas - TBD

•      Reevaluate the By-Laws related to Sector representation - TBD

•      Increase the amount of city budget provided for special projects and develop formal participatory budgeting relationship with City - TBD

•      Hire an Executive Director - TBD

The recommendations listed above were the product of a collective effort that involved residents from all TNT sectors. We appreciate the strong interest and involvement we’ve seen from across the City, and we’ll need everyone to stay engaged in order to work on these objectives and improve TNT. Ultimately, if we are successful, we believe we will build capacity to fulfill TNT’s purpose and vision to:

•      Create a safe space for residents to dialogue, plan, make decisions and discuss concerns/issues as well as explore opportunities.

•      Represent a unified voice that reflects what’s in the best interest of our residents and neighborhoods.

•      Support and enhance neighborhoods through community building projects.

•      Increase civic engagement, community involvement, awareness, training and education within the City of Syracuse.

If you would like to be involved in future meetings of the Strategic Planning Committee or groups working on the objectives above, please let us know. More information about this effort will be shared on our website at and reported at Sector meetings.

Thanks for your involvement,

TNT’s Strategic Planning Committee


The NEW meeting location is:

Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central (ITC) in the school cafeteria

258 E. Adams St.

Syracuse, NY 13202

You can enter the school parking lot from Adams St. 

The school cafeteria is on the first floor. After you enter the building, turn right toward the office, go past the office, the cafeteria is at the end of the hall.  

The meeting is still Thursday, April 27th

Food will be served starting at 5pm.

Session #1 Notes

TNT Strategic Planning Meeting

Session #1 Notes

March 30th 2017

1.) Welcome:

a. Sheena Solomon and Heidi Holtz welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming.  Ms. Solomon facilitated an ice breaker focused on introductions, it allowed each person to introduce who are, what sector they were from and to share a positive memory about their neighborhood or the city of Syracuse.

2.)    Activity:

a.  Ms. Holtz informed the group that the goal of today was to address 4 questions.  In an effort to get everyone’s input, the questions were posted on the wall around the room.  Each person received post-it notes to write down their response and post them under the questions.  The questions were:

                   i.  How can TNT be an asset to the community?

                   ii.  What does TNT look like at its best?

                  iii.  What does TNT look like now?

                  iv.  What could TNT look like in 3 years?


3.) Action:

a.  Once everyone had an opportunity to post their answers to each question the groups were split into 4 groups to analysis the answers

4.) Report Out Common themes:

a.   Structure – what are the roles and responsibilities of the board and facilitators and TNT staff…..there is a need for clarity

        i. Continue to have relationship with the city, but different type of relationship

       ii.  Re-examine ordinance & map

      iii.  Each sector keep task forces, committees..etc.

       iv.  MOU (Memorandum of Understanding)

b.  Cohesive communication strategies:

       i.   Who do you call when you need something….etc.

c.  Funding – fundraising plan

d. Transition from being tied to the city to being on your own:

        i.  Self-determining

       ii.   Flexibility

e.  Focus on common issues:

          i.  Quality of life

          ii.  The value of Forum, Bridge, Action

         iii.  Matching priorities across sectors

f.   Advocacy

Notes from Meeting #1

There were about 60 people who participated in TNT's first Strategic Planning meeting, facilitated by Sheena Solomon and Heidi Holtz from the Gifford Foundation. The goal of the Strategic Planning Meetings are to look at where TNT has been, where it is now, and where TNT wants to go as a newly independent non-profit corporation.

Participants included residents from all 8 TNT sectors, TNT Sector Facilitators, the TNT Coordinator and City-wide TNT Board Members. Everyone was asked to answer 4 questions:

  • How would you describe TNT now?
  • What does TNT look like when it is at it's best?
  • What are TNT's greatest potential/current assets?
  • What should TNT look like in 3 years?

Participants divided into 4 groups to summarize everyone's input on those questions and achieved consensus on many points. Main comments included:

  • TNT is in a period of transition. It is challenged by many issues, including communication with City of Syracuse officials, differences in sector groups, and few staff resources to coordinate/manage the organization.
  • At its best, TNT is working well with the city and has sufficient funding.
  • TNT should ideally serve as a Forum for discussing neighborhood issues, a Bridge between residents and solutions, and a group achieving Action to address common concerns.
  • For the future, TNT wants/needs more leadership structure, good communication across the organization and with the city, and good funding.

on Thursday April 27th and Thursday June 1st

March 30th Strategic Planning first meeting

Thanks to all of you who participated in last night's meeting! It was a great start to a process that we believe will steer TNT's future course in a positive direction. In the next few weeks we will be following up with notes from the meeting and posting all the information on the new TNT website. Visit for updates as we move forward.

Last night's meeting was the first part of a 3-part process, so please save the dates for the next 2 meetings:

Thursday, April 27th

Thursday, June 1st (note: this is changed from the original date)

Both meetings will take place from 5 PM - 7:30 PM, with food served from 5 PM - 5:30 PM. Please RSVP so we can make sure we have enough food & a large enough meeting space!

On behalf of the Strategic Planning Committee, thanks again to everyone for your role in this process! Hope to see you next month.