Who we are

We are Adapt CNY.

We are artists, lawyers, doctors and entrepreneurs. We are professionals, entertainers and activists. We wear blue collars, white collars or no collars at all. We work day shifts and night shifts or make our own hours. We are Adapt CNY and we call Central New York home.

We are under 40 and over 40 - we're all young at heart. We are creative, energetic and eager. We make no excuses for the past and take responsibility for our future. We are united in our common purpose:

•To make Central Upstate New York a more vibrant place to live, work, learn and play;
•To restore pride and hope to our communities;
•To spark a cultural renaissance that will put us on the "creative" map;
• To harness the collective strength of our communities to make positive change.

We have a highly-skilled workforce and a highly-educated populous. We have more bright, young, college students than almost any other part of the country. We have short commute times, a low cost of living and we make no apologies for our winters.

We have boundless recreational opportunities. We have forests, mountains, lakes and open space. We have a vibrant nightlife. We have high arts and street arts and everything in between. We have a history of inclusiveness, but are neither as diverse nor as tolerant as we would like. We are committed to improving.

We love where we live and we are resilient, but we are tired of watching success pass us by. We are from different backgrounds, with different goals, and we will work where our visions intersect. There is strength in numbers and in unity of purpose. We are committed. We are passionate. We will prevail.

We are ready to take this oath: "We the people of Central Upstate New York swear allegiance to ourselves and our community. Together, we will leave this region better than we found it. We will recognize our differences and focus on our commonalities. We will address our region's shortcomings and infuse our vision into the public debate. We will put our time, energy and resources into our dreams. We will shape the reality of our own future, starting today."

We are Adapt CNY, and we call Central Upstate New York home.

Our Story

On November 12th, 2004 more than 630 young professionals, artists, entrepreneurs and community members for the first 40 Below young professionals summit in Syracuse, NY. From 2004-2011, 40 Below hosted five regional annual summits and one statewide “We Live NY” summit.

The original 3 task forces were Public Arts Task Force, Civic Engagement Task Force, and “It’s All Here” Task Force.

Adapt CNY was born from 40 Below’s work to revitalize the Wilson Building. This became a component of the Pike Block Project.

In 2011, 40 Below reorganized the vision and goals of the organization: Deliverables included the Coworking Task Force, and 40 Below Monthly Events series (alternating between speaker series events and speed networking events at local bars and restaurants), with the 40 BeLOW OUT New Year’s Eve Party as the primary fundraising event each year 2011-2015.

Public Arts Task Force has been a very active group throughout 40 Below History, with initiatives such as

Civic Engagement Task Force has evolved over the years with a variety of initiatives. Originally, CETF focused on connecting 40 Below members with nonprofit board memberships and volunteer opportunities. From 2011-2013? the task force ran the “Future 40 Belowers” job shadowing program to introduce local high school students to careers of 40 Below young professionals

In 2014, 40 Below added the Transit and Career Connect task forces and consolidated the “It’s All Here” Task Force into the Events Committee (now the Marketing Task Force. The Career Connect task force was later consolidated into the Marketing Task Force as well.

The Coworking Task Force developed into Syracuse Coworks. After several years incubating in the Syracuse Tech Garden, Syracuse Coworks grew into a separate nonprofit and a much larger space. 

From 2004-2017, 40 Below was an affiliate of CenterstateCEO. In 2017, 40 Below merged with the Adapt CNY board and transitioned into a separate nonprofit organization. On December 26, 2017 at the annual Come Home to Syracuse event, 40 Below launched the campaign to transition to the name Adapt CNY and familiarize 40 Below members with the new name and identity.