September 1, 2016 – Non-profit and public sector contributions to economic development


Laura Bronstein, Dean of CCPA at Binghamton University

Melinda Sanderson, Director of the Matilda Cuomo Mentoring Initiative for Upstate NY


Post Event Article:
By: Travis Clines

For Laura Bronstein there is no one way to improve a community.“

It is a combination of looking at what is out there so we are not reinventing the wheel,” the Dean of the College of Community and Public Affairs (CCPA) said. “[And] looking at the local initiative and listening to people.

”During a talk at the September SUNY BEST (SB) meeting Bronstein emphasized the location of the CCPA is a part of the revitalization in downtown Binghamton.

Bronstein said that issues such as poverty, barriers to education success and transportation, among others need to be addressed in Binghamton. But she also emphasized the strengths of the community such as, increased job opportunity, greater diversity and an increased entrepreneurial culture.

“I would say the collaborative culture is something that has been in the community even long before I came,” she said. “That’s something that’s really unique that we have here.”

Adding to that culture is the CCPA the dean said. The CCPA sponsors and is involved with projects that impact and improve educational opportunities and the local economy. During each academic year CCPA undergraduate students spend 5,040 hours total in internships and service-learning opportunities. For graduate students that number is 33,720 hours.

Increasing the community and economic vitality or the region is done using three strategies, which are: rigorous and informed research, service learning, and mutually beneficial partnerships.

The second speaker of SB was Melinda Sanders, the upstate director of the New York State Mentoring Program. Sanders said the program pairs students at the cusp of success with mentors from organizations in their area. The program targets fourth through fifth grade children, an area where they believe they will have the most success.

“This program is 1:1 and it is based in the schools and it is social and emotional support of the children,” she said. “We always say that mentoring helps mentees but it also helps the mentors—and this changes two lives.”

The children meet with the mentors once a week for an hour and the focus of that hour is improving student’s academic performance, school attendance and behavior.

Local partners in the program are Binghamton University and Modern Marketing Concepts. SUNY BEST is a monthly meeting put on by the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Partnerships.

Melinda Sanderson Presentation
Laura Bronstein Presentation

Binghamton University, Downtown Center, Binghamton, New York.


  • Laura Holmes called the meeting to order. She thanked Melinda Sanderson, Laura Bronstein and the sponsors for attending.
  • Speaker, Laura Bronstein
  • Speaker, Melinda Sanderson
  • Extended Q&A session followed among attendees.

Next Meeting:
The next meeting will take place on October 6, 2016 from 10:00am – 12:00pm at the Binghamton University, Downtown Center, Binghamton, New York