Award Recipient: 40 Below

The Onondaga Citizens League (OCL) awarded the 2011 Levi L. Smith Civic Education Award to 40 Below at the OCL annual meeting, held at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo on, June 8, 2011. 40 Below is an independent organization launched seven years ago to connect, engage and empower young adults in Central New York.  The group’s mission is to harness the collective strength of our communities to make positive change; build pride and hope in our communities;  spark a cultural renaissance that will put us on the “creative” map; and make Central Upstate New York a more vibrant place to live, work, learn and play. As such it has involved thousands of young and young at-heart, creative energetic Central New Yorkers into projects and processes, serving as a catalyst to implement its mission in concert with and in support of existing organizations.

Kathy Goldfarb-Findling, former executive director of the Gifford Foundation, also received special recognition for promoting civic engagement.  Kathy joined the Gifford Foundation in 1999, serving as executive director from 2000-2010.  The foundation’s mission is to use its financial and human resources to build the capacity of individuals and organizations to enhance the quality of life for the people of Central New York.   A lifelong Syracuse resident, Kathy dedicated her work at the Foundation to ensure that all the community’s voices are heard and that civic leadership is developed within all Syracuse communities.  The Onondaga Citizens League recognized Kathy Goldfarb-Findling for helping citizens to work in partnership with each other and with the public and private sectors to shape our shared future.

The Onondaga Citizens League, administered and supported by University College of Syracuse University, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization designed to promote citizen education and involvement in public affairs. OCL was created in 1978 by a group of concerned citizens to study problems and propose solutions to issues facing Central New York. The League does not promote specific legislation nor function as a lobbying group. For more information, visit the web site,, or call 315-443-4846.