Coffee Crawls Are Back in 2023!

Our Coffee Crawl continues in 2023… let us buy your coffee and connect!

Gail Belokur

Interim CEO

Happy New Year!

United Way of Tompkins County is moving boldly into 2023 with several collaborations that were conceptualized in the third and fourth quarter of 2022! New and expanding partnerships with Cornell University, Community Foundation of Tompkins County, Greater Ithaca Activities Center, eCornell, Human Services Coalition, and Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce are just some of the ways we will live out being BetterUnited this year. Please be on the lookout for news about them in this newsletter in the weeks to come. 

As we share what is new and upcoming, we also want to take the time to share with you our annual report from the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2022. If you would like a printed copy, feel free to ask for one by contacting us in one of the ways listed at the bottom of this message.  

In this issue you will also read about a recent grant through our T. Merrell Shepherd Fund, which is designed to address emergent needs or innovative, new ways to address existing needs. Thanks to our collaboration with the Tompkins County Funders Group, we are able to share these needs and help facilitate great outcomes for our local nonprofits. In this case, donor advisees with Community Foundation of Tompkins County joined with UWTC donors to meet the need and keep their essential childcare service and employer operational. These are the types of collaborations and ways to increase access to resources that your donor dollars support. Thank you for making this and our other impactful work possible.

In upcoming issues, you will also hear from other members of the UWTC team. Next up will be Cal Walker, UWTC Relationship Liaison, to share what he is excited about for 2023. 

In the meantime, we hope you might be able to drop in for coffee and conversation on Tuesday, January 10, at Gimme Coffee or Botanist Coffeehouse. Or, at any time, please feel free to connect with us simply by reaching out. 

We are your local United Way, focused on finding collaborative, equitable, and sustainable solutions for everyone living and working in Tompkins County. We invite you to engage with us!

Downtown Ithaca Children’s Center Benefits from Emergency Funding Collaboration

Downtown Ithaca Children’s Center (DICC) was recently able to address an unexpected boiler failure and remain operational thanks to a collaborative, responsive, and accessible process in place to address emergent needs for local human services nonprofits. Together, United Way of Tompkins County (UWTC) and Community Foundation of Tompkins County (CFTC) were able to direct donor gifts to address the need in a matter of days due to a process first created with the onset of the pandemic which has continued to evolve.

When faced with this unexpected need, DICC Executive Director Meghan Guerra Lyons quickly accessed UWTC’s T. Merrell Shipherd Fund. The Fund not only has an online application reviewed on a rolling basis, but it is also set up to share applications with other Tompkins County funders. While UWTC staff and community volunteers moved through our internal review process, our partners at Community Foundation also shared the need with its donor advisees. “Within a matter of days, the donations from both UWTC and CFTC fully funded the new boiler and kept DICC operational,” explained UWTC Interim CEO Gail Belokur.


Lyons shares, “Downtown Ithaca Children's Center is grateful to United Way of Tompkins County's TMS Fund for ensuring that DICC can remain open for the staff we employ and the families we serve when needing a new boiler system for our building. Together with Community Foundation of Tompkins County, UWTC made sure our building stayed open and warm. This project was in addition to other programs through which UWTC provides comfort and support to our non-profit child care center.”


Our annual radiothon on Lite 97.3 continues with streaming now available! For 13 hours enjoy informative community impact interviews, bid on packages from local restaurants, wineries and breweries, dedicate a song… all while raising funds for our Community Care Fund! Stay tuned for how to register to bid and make song dedications!