Issue 5- February 4, 2020
Building a Stronger Tompkins County Together
Welcome back to our bi-monthly newsletter.
Please enjoy our first Connecting Our Community Newsletter of 2021!
Later this month, be on the look out for a second newsletter celebrating Black History Month.
As we settle into 2021...
We Celebrate New Beginnings
& Endless Possibilities...

AND we want to recognize our funded partner Habitat for Humanity of Tompkins and Cortland Counties because a safe affordable home gives its residents the room to dream and plan for the future.
Habitat for Humanity of Tompkins and Cortland Counties (HHTCC) is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a global, nonprofit housing organization working in nearly 1,400 communities across the United States and in approximately 70 countries around the world. They build strength, stability and self-reliance in partnership with people and families in need of a decent and affordable home.
HHTCC partners with local, first-time homebuyers to help them build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homebuyers invest 250“Sweat Equity” hours by working alongside volunteers to build or renovate their own home. In addition to construction, HHTCC provides homeowners-to-be with financial and homeownership training classes. The organization has three current ongoing projects, two new builds and one renovation.
Volunteers of all ages and abilities help HHTCC staff and home-owners-to-be build their homes. HHTCC partners with contractors and material suppliers to obtain discounted or donated materials and services, to help keep our construction costs down. The organization is committed to building as energy-efficient and environmentally friendly as possible, while still ensuring that each home is affordable and a pleasant place to call home.
During this time of COVID-19, Habitat for Humanity of Tompkins and Cortland Counties has been able to continue its work with engaged homebuyers and volunteers. Due to the outdoor nature of their work and the size of their worksites HHTCC was able to continue their projects after a brief shutdown at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. Since reopening their sites all staff and volunteers have practiced socially distancing and sanitizing while on the project site.
For more information about Habitat for Humanity of Tompkins and Cortland Counties visit
AND we want to recognize our funded partner Open Doors English because in Tompkins County knowing and feeling comfortable speaking the English language opens many doors.
Open Doors English provides affordable, comprehensive English classes, to empower students to live fuller lives, and to build richer community connections. The agency's name came from a conversation one of the founders had with a student many years ago. The student told her that living in Ithaca without knowing English is like living in a house with windows but no doors. You can see out, but you cannot go out and participate in life outside your house.
During this time of COVID-19, students and teachers have had to adapt to virtual, remote learning via Zoom. These virtual classrooms have introduced new challenges as well as opportunities to the organization. Students have have had the opportunity to take on new leadership roles in the classroom, supporting and guiding their classmates and teachers in operating new technology. In an effort to avoid "Zoom fatigue" teachers have re-envisioned the use of in class learning time, providing students with more time to practice speaking and less time presenting lessons. Teachers have supplemented in class learning with written instructions and homework which were not previously part of the curriculum.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has paused Open Doors English's field trips and service opportunities. These immersive community experiences are meant to give all students opportunities to practice their language skills as they learn more about their community and actively give back to their neighbors. Both staff and students are looking forward to reinstating these activities as soon as it is safe to do so. As an alternative to these immersive experiences Open Doors English has created Conversation Partners which virtually connects students with community volunteers allowing them to practice speaking English in a safe environment.
For more information about Open Doors English visit their website.
AND we want to recognize our funded partner The Learning Web because by offering a developmental series of community-based learning experiences for you they build a bridge that helps their participants travel the path into positive adulthood and towards new opportunities.

The Learning Web's vision is to provide Tompkins County with high-quality programs and services that will help ensure that all our young people will make the transition to adulthood successfully, finish high school, develop a productive career path leading to gainful employment and self-sufficiency, and contribute in a healthy and positive way to better our community. The agency offers the following programs.
Youth Explorations Services which provide a gateway to all Learning Web services. This program broadens youths’ expectations about options in jobs and life by exploring their interests and potential career fields. Tailored to each young person’s interests, the program includes career exploration tours, apprenticeships, and community service. If participants need support beyond exploration and apprenticeship they are connected to the agency's Life Skills or Youth Outreach services.

Life Skills Services which focuses on prevention and supporting youth to overcome challenges and achieve self-sufficiency. This program provides life-skills and intensive case management for youth still living with a parent or guardian, but who share risk profiles similar to those of homeless youth or those residing in family foster care. These services support youth in their education needs, in preparing for a career, building skills to manage a household, and in recreation activities, transportation and family support. 

Youth Outreach Program Services which includes supported housing for homeless youth. This program assists homeless and transient high school age and young adults ages 16- 24 to move from a state of dependence to self-sufficiency. These services support youth in their education and employment needs, as well as in building the skills needed to parent and manage a household-virtually all of the components of independent living. we assist young people in moving from instability to stability. Through a combination of experiential learning, case management, life skills training and a supported housing program The Learning Web helps youth to develop the skills needed to live successful adult lives.
During this time of COVID-19, staff have been flexible and creative in their efforts to continue to meet the needs of their participants. Through a combination of phone calls and virtual meetings youth have continued to receive mentorship, skill building, and support. The agency also established cleaning and personal protection equipment policies that allowed young people in supported housing to continue to receive in person visits from staff members.
For more information visit
AND we want to recognize our funded partner Gadabout because providing seniors and those with disabilities access to transportation opens doors to various activities and enhances independence.

Gadabout aims to help bring accessibility to the citizens of Tompkins County who need it most. Gadabout provides:

Quality Transportation- Gadabout's fleet of trucks are equipped to provide the greatest comfort and accessibility for riders of all ages and needs.

Caring Staff- Gadabout staff and volunteers deeply care for the well-being of their riders and continually strive to offer the best service.

Access to All of Tompkins County- Gadabout enthusiastically provides transportation throughout all of Tompkins County and extensively in the city of Ithaca.
During this time of COVID-19, Gadabout has been a major partner in United Way of Tompkins County's Emergency Food Delivery Program. As of January 1st, Gadabout drivers had made 257 food deliveries to households in Tompkins County, serving 873 individuals since the program's start in April 2019. Drivers have also provided delivery for the Child Development Council baby supply support program, making 133 deliveries in 2020. Gadabout drivers continue to support both of these initiatives.

For more information visit
To register for UWTC's Emergency Food Delivery Services, click here.
To register for Child Development Council's baby supply support program, click here.
Learn more about our additional Funder Partner Agencies in our future
UWTC Spotlight newsletters or by visiting
Corporate Cornerstone Partners (CCPs) provide the infrastructure upon which UWTC works and serves. This generous and committed group of individuals and employers join together and underwrite UWTC’s administrative costs so that 100% of all other donations can be used for needed programs and services.

Alternatives Federal Credit Union
Alternatives Federal Credit Union is a Community Development Credit Union, member-owned, locally controlled and self-supporting. Their purpose is to meet the financial needs of the members of our community and support our community-at-large in efforts to become more self-reliant. They take pride in their services, policies, and procedures because they contribute to a better society, a healthier community or a financially sound member. They also take pride in being a Corporate Cornerstone Partner where they are able to do even more to strengthen financial stability, health and education in Tompkins County. 

For more information visit their website
Cayuga Medical Center
Cayuga Medical Center believes that hospitals are shaped by the people they serve. Cayuga Medical Center is a not-for-profit, acute-care medical center that brings state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment services to the residents of Tompkins, Cortland, Seneca, and Tioga counties. They house 212 beds, employ over 1,500 health-care professionals, and have a medical staff of more than 200 affiliated physicians. Cayuga Medical Center works every day to help members of our community meet their health-care needs, and supports UWTC’s work to strengthen health, education, and financial stability in Tompkins County by being proud Corporate Cornerstone Partners. 

For more information visit their website
Dryden Mutual Insurance Co.
Dryden Mutual provides a broad range of personal and commercial insurance products. The company is organized as a NYS co-operative. This means that Dryden Mutual does not issue stock and is not publicly traded. The company exists solely for the benefit of their policyholder owners. Dryden Mutual is committed to supporting the local economy through efficient transfer of risk for families and businesses, and are committed to strengthening the lives of individuals and families as proud Corporate Cornerstone Partners.

For more information visit their website
Park Grove Realty
Park Grove Realty is a real estate development and management company focusing on multi-family residential, mixed-use and commercial projects in Rochester, NY. The company is currently constructing East Pointe Apartments in Lansing, bringing140 state-of-the-art apartments to the area. Park Grove Realty recognizes the importance of collaboration with local leaders and are committed to pursuing and developing projects that are beneficial to the community. They are also proud to be UWTC Corporate Cornerstone Partners.

For more information visit their website
Learn more about our additional Corporate Cornerstone Partners in our future UWTC Spotlight newsletters or by visiting
A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who made our recent event, "One Compelling Ithaca Story Take Two: 2020 in Review" a success!

If you weren't able to join us for the event to enjoy these stories that celebrated the spirit, intelligence, love and courage that illuminated Tompkins County in 2020, you can view the full line up of recorded stories below.
You may receive additional information on charitable organizations from the NY Office of the Attorney General on their website or by calling (212) 416-8401. You may also receive UWTC’s last financial report by going to