Shineman Foundation Grant Boosts ORA’s Efforts

Paul Stewart, Executive Director of the ORA and Karen Goetz, Executive Director of the Shinneman Foundation.

OSWEGO – The Richard S. Shineman Foundation has awarded the Oswego Renaissance Association (ORA) a $150,000 grant to expand the revitalization of neighborhoods in the city of Oswego.

Paul Stewart, Executive Director of the ORA and Karen Goetz, Executive Director of the Shinneman Foundation.

“The Shineman Foundation continues to be an incredible supporter of the ORA. We are so thankful that the foundation took a chance on us back in 2013 when this Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative was just an idea. We are also immensely grateful for the foundation’s stalwart support over the past six years,” said ORA Executive Paul Stewart. “When we look back at where Oswego was in 2013, compared to the momentum the neighborhoods have today, it’s very clear that there is a positive momentum not seen in decades.”

“We are so proud to be a partner with the ORA,” said Karen Goetz, executive director of the Richard S. Shineman Foundation. “The mission of our foundation is to be a catalyst for change in Oswego County. The funding we have provided to the ORA has proven to be a great investment as the results we are seeing from this initiative have been truly transformative in the city of Oswego. Kudos to Paul Stewart and the residents of Oswego who have been leading this transformation.”

The ORA is now entering its 6th year of operations and hundreds of homes and more than 1,000 residents throughout the city of Oswego have participated in the Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative.

Stewart said the revitalization of Oswego has inspired not only existing residents, but new ones as well.

Jennifer Arroway moved back to her hometown of Oswego after a 17-year absence.

“I first heard about the ORA while working their awards ceremony event at the convention center in May 2018. Just being in that room I could feel the love between neighbors and the pride they have for their neighborhood….I realized that this is the reason I moved back to my hometown 17 years after moving away. That day at the convention center literally inspired me to get my Real Estate License and purchase my first home in the heart of the ORA movement!”

The ORA’s signature program, the Renaissance Block Challenge, allows neighbors to apply in groups of 5 to 15 households for matching funds for exterior home and streetscape improvements.

This year, 25 blocks have applied for Block Challenge Grants, the largest number in ORA history.

Stewart said, “It’s a bottom-up, community-driven approach. It leverages the dreams and abilities of everyday residents at ground level. It’s much more than the small grants. The neighbors become the leaders and drivers of change. It just works.”