Issue 6- February 23, 2021
Building a Stronger Tompkins County Together
In the Month of February...
We Celebrate Black History Month...
AND we want to recognize our funded partner Greater Ithaca Activities Center and the exciting ways that they are celebrating this month because by providing multicultural, educational, and recreational programs focused on social and individual development they are able to improve the quality of life for the youth, families, and disenfranchised populations they serve. In doing so, they make Tompkins County stronger.
Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) provides programming for community members of all ages including youth, teens, and seniors. During this time of COVID-19 their programming looks a little different, but GIAC staff members have remained committed to staying connected with and supporting their participants.

The center's programs provide enrichment, advocacy, and structured employment training opportunities for at-risk youth and adults; as well as fight against oppression and intimidation in our community.
In celebration of Black History Month, Greater Ithaca Activities Center is continuing its tradition of hosting a series of events and activities. Of course, like with everything else, COVID-19 has tempered the festivities, but certainly did not stop them!
They began their Black History Month celebrations with the raising of the Pan African Flag followed by discussion sessions with the participants on the significance of each color and the meaning/pride of the flag. GIAC's staff decorated their internal spaces to reflect educational and artistic information about the month's celebration, coupled with trivia about Black history and culture.
GIAC curated 28 days of Black History facts about historical Black people or events to be shared on their Facebook page throughout the month of February and also in the Ithaca Voice.

GIAC will close their celebrations with a virtual Black History Month Community Talent Show on February 26 at 6pm. The event will feature singing, dancing, drumming, poetry and more.

For more information about GIAC visit their website.
AND we want to recognize our funded partner OAR (Opportunities, Resources and Alternatives) and the important ways that they are celebrating this month and beyond because black individuals are disproportionally effected by our criminal justice system, and providing programming that protects the civil liberties of our neighbors while maintaining their inclusion in our community makes Tompkins County stronger .
For over 40 years, OAR has been protecting the civil liberties of those incarcerated in the Tompkins County Jail. This important work is done by providing the following services:
Assigned Counsel- OAR conducts intakes for Assigned Counsel representation four days a week at the Tompkins County Jail, guaranteeing swift assignment of legal representation.

Community Partner Services- OAR activates a network of services for their clients so that they can maintain family and community ties, access available resources and support, and reduce the negative consequences of incarceration. Partners provide:
  • Legal Assistance
  • Social Services
  • Healthcare
  • Mental Health Support
  • Housing Assistance
  • Employment Guidance
  • Educational Services
  • Substance Abuse Treatment & Support
  • Religious Services
Education- College Initiative Upstate is a learning community of educators, students, and volunteers from Tompkins County working together to build pathways from criminal justice involvement to college and beyond. They help clients choose a college, apply for financial aid, work with outstanding student loans, receive tutoring, and engage in college readiness courses.

Liaison Services- OAR offers a comprehensive liaison services between clients and different entities in the community. They maintain a direct line for receiving phone calls from clients at the Tompkins County Jail. This line allows staff to relay messages from lawyers, employers, landlords, and family members. OAR also set up phone appointments so that family members can use this line to take to their loved ones at the Tompkins County Jail for free.
Re-Entry Services- OAR works with their clients to ease their reentry back into the community by providing them with various resources. Visit their Resources Page for more information.

Rides to Court (Pilot Program)- For years a group of dedicated volunteers have given rides to the jail on visiting days. These same volunteers are now offering to drive clients to court dates on Tuesdays during the day.
Rides available on Tuesdays to:
  • Caroline Town Court
  • Ulysses Town Court

While OAR does have any specific celebrations planned for Black History Month, this month they are increasing their capacity to help black families and individuals with their newest initiative....

In partnership with Second Wind Cottages and REACH Medical, OAR opened a downtown crisis center early in February. From this location they will by able to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to their clients with a particular focus on people of color.

And next month, staff members will be participating in talking circles about diversity and inclusion facilitated by Community Dispute Resolution Center.
For more information about OAR visit
AND we want to recognize our funded partner Village at Ithaca and the innovative ways that they are celebrating this month because advocating for educational equity and excellence for all students, particularly Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino/Latinx, low income, and any other underserved student makes Tompkins County stronger.

The Village at Ithaca’s vision is that all students have equal access to resources and opportunities to thrive in and outside of school. To make this happen, they provide the following services:

Youth & Family Advocacy
The Village advocates for the ever-changing needs of students and families in public schools and related systems throughout Tompkins County. Village staff and volunteers advocate for both individual families and all children by engaging in conversations with teachers, principals, administrators and other community organizations. They use their voice as an organization to amplify the voices of those who have not traditionally been heard.

Academic Support & Mentoring
Program Educators and volunteers provide in-person and virtual academic support to K-12 students. Whether students are going to school virtually, 5 days a week or partially in-person and partially virtual, staff are able to provide assistance.
Village Emergency Fund
In March 2020, the Village launched the Village Emergency Fund which provides financial assistance to families when other programs cannot meet their needs in a timely manner. The Emergency Fund has supported a variety of requests but is particularly focused on ensuring that families can maintain internet access for distance learning and remote work.

Youth Identity Groups
The Village facilitates peer support groups for young men and women of color living anywhere in Tompkins County. They meet regularly and are driven by the agendas of the youth themselves
Youth Employment Program
In partnership with Tompkins County Workforce and thanks to additional private funding, the Village hosts youth employees ages 14-24 in a variety of supportive work opportunities that include program creation and implementation, the development of administrative skills, and collaborations with community partners.

Ongoing Food & Household Support
Thanks to Friendship Donations Network and support from volunteers, the Village has been distributing food and household supplies throughout the county since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. They make weekly food deliveries and supplement packages with household items whenever possible.
In celebration of Black History Month, Village at Ithaca partnered with local school districts to celebrate Black Lives Matter at School Week, February 1-5. This is a national movement committed to a Week of Action, a Year of Purpose, and a Lifetime of Action.

The Village is working to eradicate white supremacy in our public schools by ending oppressive grading, attendance, disciplinary and other policies and practices that strengthen the School to Prison Pipeline. In it's place the Village is working to create a culture of love and acceptance where all students can thrive.

The Village is also highlighting their Stolen Joy Project, an opportunity for people of color to share stories of oppression in the public school system. Learn more about the Stolen Joy Project on Instagram @stolenjoyproject or on their website.
For more information about The Village at Ithaca visit
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.

BorgWarner is reliably delivering what’s needed today. There are few challenges as important today as creating solutions that support a cleaner, more energy-efficient world. This requires a commitment to constantly improve the transportation of people and things. BorgWarner, made that commitment decades ago and have since been creating technologies to improve efficiency, emissions and performance in all types of vehicles. They are also proud to be UWTC Corporate Cornerstone Partners.

For more information visit their website
CFCU Community Credit Union
As a local not-for-profit financial institution, CFCU Community Credit Union doesn't just say we care, the very foundation for their existence is to care for their members. As they grow and evolve, the local communities they serve grow and strengthen too! As a Credit Union their earnings are put back into their members' hands through better rates and yields, more services, and support for local non-profits and charities like United Way Tompkins County. They are proud to be UWTC Corporate Cornerstone Partners.

For more information visit their website
Equus Advisors
With Equus Advisors, it is like having your own accounting department. When you engage them to perform your accounting work, it’s like having a trusted advisor on staff. Their team handles all of your day-to-day accounting tasks so you can focus on what’s important—running your business. They work collaboratively with you via their advanced, secure website platform to support a streamlined and highly efficient workflow. And because work is performed online, you always have real-time views of your data and financial situation. Equus Advisors are proud Corporate Cornerstone Partners.

For more information visit their website
Guthrie is a not-for-profit, integrated health care system designed to offer patients a full-spectrum of health services incorporating primary care, complex specialty care, behavioral health services, surgical services, inpatient care, durable medical equipment services, home health, long-term care, palliative care and hospice care. Their integrated approach creates a better experience for their patients and works to decrease the cost of delivering health care. They are proud to be UWTC Corporate Cornerstone Partners.

For more information visit their website
Learn more about additional Corporate Cornerstone Partners in future
UWTC Spotlight newsletters or by visiting
Special thanks to following CCPs who have already committed to being partners next year: Concept Systems, Inc., Renvyle Associates, and Vector Magnetics.
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