40 Below

40 Below is a non-profit organization of young professionals and community members with a passion for local revitalization and unparalleled dedication to Central Upstate New York. The organization acts as a vehicle for members to pursue passions, make changes, instill a sense of pride in the community, and promote the region as a vibrant place to live, work, learn and play.

40 Below was created as a result of a summit that took place in the fall of 2004, where more than 630 young professionals, artists, entrepreneurs and community members gathered in Syracuse, NY to share their creative visions for the future and ideas for regional improvement. Since the 2004 summit, the engagement of these community members has brought about meaningful changes to the Central New York area through:

  • Adaptively reusing downtown space by seeding investments in the Wilson building through Adapt CNY, which has now become part of the newly opened Pike Block
  • Opening a regional Coworking Space within the Tech Garden that supports the region’s emerging entrepreneurial community
  • Volunteering in hundreds of events over the years, establishing partnerships with VolunteerCNY.org, United Way of CNY Initiative, and more
  • Hosting four subsequent Summits, a statewide summit in 2011, and monthly events designed to educate young professionals and help them expand their professional networks
  • Installation of numerous public art projects, including many of the bike racks, sculptures and painted surfaces that are in downtown today, and assisting in the creation of many events that connect artists directly to the community
  • Activated underutilized spaces through events and projects such as last year’s food truck rodeo in partnership with the Connective Corridor in Forman Park and the creation of LIPE Art Park, a public art park on West Fayette Street

All of these activities have been primarily driven and achieved through the commitment and support of volunteer leadership. Over the years, 40 Below’s volunteers have gone on to lead organizations, develop successful businesses, and create some of the most prominent public artwork in the community. 40 Below has achieved this success because it acts as a vehicle to allow energetic and talented community members to collectively impact Syracuse.

Since the establishment of the organization in 2004, it has had the capability of strategically reorganizing itself to fit the needs of the community. During the summer of 2011, 40 Below underwent a strategic planning session that transitioned the organization from developing large summits to having more regular, monthly engagement opportunities. It was in this session that the annual New Years Eve fundraiser was developed, and the Syracuse Coworks concept was born. In February 2013, the organization launched two new task forces to retain and attract talented members of the workforce, and improve the quality of transportation in Syracuse and Central New York, which complemented its existing task forces that focus on keeping young professionals engaged in their communities and cultivating a culture of public art in Syracuse. The task force additions were a result of a 3-day strategic planning workshop and were both provided seed funding to effectively execute the new initiatives. Nearly three years since the last strategic planning workshop, we continuously are striving to better suit the expanding needs and desires of our community.