Philanthropy Magnified Impact Report
April 2019
Inspiring Philanthropy, Strengthening Communities

Local Community Resources


The 2019 Spring Grant Cycle is underway! 54 organizations submitted requests for funding totaling $242,000. Priority areas include: aging, environmental preservation, animal welfare, youth, and women. 
A diverse, community represented, spring grant cycle review team will carry out a rigorous review process of grant applications. Requests for funding are shared with Community Foundation fund advisors, expanding the opportunities to leverage funding from more than 100 funds held at Community Foundation. Fund advisors learn about community needs and have an opportunity to assist in funding specific projects that are a philanthropic match to their individual charitable priorities and interests.  Community participation in the complete process; from requests, review, funding, and implementation; demonstrates the value and strength of community philanthropy.  
Listing of prior year, 2018 Spring Grant Cycle awards, CLICK HERE
Information regarding 2019 grant cycles, CLICK HERE

Spotlight: Theoria Cason 
Joins Community Foundation Board

Theoria Cason Hopes to Boost Awareness of Community Foundation

When Theoria Cason arrived at Cornell University in 2010 to become a residence hall director, she expected to stay in Ithaca for a few years and then head off to a PhD program in clinical psychology.

But things did not turn out as she expected, and today Cason is the training and education coordinator and co-investigator in Cornell's Office of the Title IX Coordinator. And instead of pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology, she is working on a doctorate of education in higher education management from the University of Pittsburgh.

While Cason has volunteered her time on campus to advise student organizations focused on women of color, her appointment to the Community Foundation Board of Directors is her first opportunity to volunteer in an organization outside of Cornell.

"It's very easy to be consumed by the Cornell bubble and think that my experience on campus is a representation of what it means to live in Ithaca," she says. "That's not the case, so it's important for me to reach out beyond campus and be focused on the experiences of people who live in Tompkins County and not just those who are affiliated with the university."

A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., Cason is a first-generation college student who attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she majored in psychology. While she had planned to become a psychiatrist, Cason changed her mind after a group of student affairs professionals at the university introduced her to the field of higher education administration.

After earning a master's degree from the College Student Personnel Program at Western Illinois University, she landed her first job as director at Cornell's Ujamaa Residential College, a program house for students interested in the African diaspora. Five years later, she became assistant director of what was then called Residential and New Student Programs.

While working in that position, she created the Community and Respect (CORE) Resident Advisor program, which teaches undergraduates how to talk about and combat sexual violence. In the program, Cason trained students working as resident advisors about the pervasiveness of sexual violence on campus and the ways they could influence the behavior of undergraduates in their residence halls.
Last year, Cason was promoted to her current position in the Title IX office, where she facilitates training for faculty, staff and students on their rights and options of how to report incidents of sexual misconduct.

Cason first became aware of Community Foundation when a board member, Christine Barksdale, approached her and suggested she would be a good fit for the organization. When Barksdale explained the mission of Community Foundation, Cason agreed to join the board.

"The principles of the foundation and the way it tries to be accessible to all the people in the county really resonated with me," Cason says. "I like the types of programs and initiatives Community Foundation supports, and though I've only been to a few meetings, I'm learning a great deal about how Community Foundation plays a role in helping to maintain some of the characteristics that makes Ithaca Ithaca."

As a board member, Cason hopes to work on fundraising and has joined the Development and Community Relations Committee. She also wants to help spread the word about Community Foundation, particularly at Cornell.

"In the process of engagement, I will certainly share the word with people with whom I communicate that this organization exists, and that this is what the Community Foundation does and that these are the ways that they can support it or become involved," she said.

Cason, who lives in Ithaca, said she is also excited about the opportunities board membership will offer her. "My connections with Community Foundation will allow me to be introduced to new aspects of the community and see Ithaca through a new lens," she said.

Community Foundation Grant Spurs Change in Tompkins County Government

photo credit: Diane Duthie

A grant from Community Foundation of Tompkins County has led to a change in the way the county government assesses the effectiveness of its services and programs in departments ranging from mental health to the division of motor vehicles.

In 2014, the Tompkins County Department of Youth Services received a $5,900 grant from Community Foundation to hire a consultant to train the staff on implementing a new system of measuring program outcomes, known as results-based accountability.
Three years later, the measurement system was so successful in improving outcomes for youth services programs that county officials decided to adopt it in all of its 30 departments, divisions and offices. The county will implement the system in the last group of 14 departments this year.
After the county adopted the results-based accountability system in youth services, department staff could assess not only the number of people being served by various programs, but also how better off they were after participating.
In one example, the Open Doors Program, which serves runaway and homeless youth, county officials were developing a scorecard of outcomes when they noticed an annual dip in participation rates during the third quarters of 2016 and 2017. Since that falls during the summer when youth are not in school, Family & Children's Service of Ithaca, which runs the program, launched an effort to reach youth through social media, texting or physically locating the teens on the Commons.
"They were the ones who addressed what their action plan should be to move the curve," said David Sanders, the county's criminal justice coordinator who leads the performance measurement initiative. "They went where the kids were and they really spoke to them about how important it was to meet with their caseworkers."
Sanders says the measurement system will help county government make budgeting decisions that are not only based on anecdotal success stories, but also on data on the outcomes of services and programs.

Shanks-Booth noted that the county would not have been able to implement the measurement system if it hadn't been for the original grant from Community Foundation. "The funding the Community Foundation put in had this ripple effect, and I think this is pretty incredible," she said.

Janet Cotraccia, chief impact officer of Community Foundation, said she was pleased the grant has led to a significant change in how county government assesses its programs. "This is a great example of how small grants, strategically placed, can lead to larger impact over time," she said.  
By Sherrie Negrea
Continue reading full story: Click Here

Laurie Conrad Music and Arts Fund News

The Laurie Conrad Music and Arts Fund is excited to announce its first grant 
to co-sponsor:

Ithaca Ballet's SpringDance 2019 performance
 at the Hangar Theater 
on Sunday, April 28 at 7:00 p.m. 

The performance will be dedicated to Laurie Conrad, a longtime friend of the ballet.  Laurie was a pianist and composer and the program will include original choreography to music she composed.   
Tickets are available on the Hangar Theater's website at:
The Laurie Conrad Music and Arts Fund was established to support classical music and ballet instruction and performance by children and adults, and documentary filmmaking to support social justice causes.  This grant is a wonderful tribute to Laurie and her creative genius.  If you would like to make a donation to support the Fund, please follow this link:  
Type in "Laurie Conrad Music and Arts Fund" and select the fund.
For more information, please contact Mariette Geldenhuys at

Hartnett Fund
Continues Howard's legacy of library support 

Tompkins County Public Library goes fine free

As a way to make sure people truly have free access to books, Tompkins County Public Library (TCPL) has done away with fines on late items. The initiative quietly rolled out earlier this winter.

"What it really is is a movement," Library Director Annette Birdsall said. "It's libraries recognizing that this is a social equity issue, that fines have become a privilege and they - not only do they not work - they actually encourage people to keep materials longer if they can afford it. If you can afford it, you pay your fines, you don't feel guilty and you support the library. We love people to support the library. We don't love that it was a privilege and that people who couldn't afford fines stopped using the library altogether."

Birdsall said though fines were in place to encourage the return of materials, they became a barrier to access. She also said the library recognizes that people want to return books, but there are sometimes challenges to doing that on time. And when the fines begin to add up, sometimes people are embarrassed and don't want to use the library because they can't afford to.
"We kept hearing, 'We can't afford to.' Libraries are free. So, we weren't meeting our mission. Now we are," Birdsall said.

The Tompkins County Public Library is not alone in going fine-free. Some libraries in the Finger Lakes Library System, which comprises five counties, have already gone fine free. The movement is gaining traction nationally, too. Birdsall said more libraries have been going fine free because librarians nationwide have started to realize that fines don't work.   Seneca County announced in January that its libraries would all be fine free as well. 

Going fine free can be a slow process for libraries, who have come to rely on fines as a source of income. However, TCPL has been edging toward going fully fine free. When they instituted automatic renewals a few years ago, Birdsall said, it cut their fine revenue stream in half. And a year ago, TCPL removed fines for children's materials.  Though TCPL once collected around $100,000 in fines, the fine deficit is about 1 percent - or $40,000 - this budget cycle, Birdsall said.

To help make up the difference of no longer collecting fines, the library is starting a fundraising campaign, which was kicked off by a  $5,000 grant from the Howard Hartnett Fund of Community Foundation.

"It's exciting. I think it's really going to open doors for people and allow us to really embrace our mission in a way that we just haven't been able to because of that barrier," Birdsall said.

Ithaca Voice reported by Kelsey O'Connor
continue reading:  CLICK HERE

Community Foundation receives $10,000 
"A Growing Promise" challenge gift from an anonymous donor to encourage new Legacy Society memberships
Announcing "A Growing Promise"
to encourage you to provide support now and forever

A generous anonymous donor has challenged the Community Foundation to grow and encourage new Legacy Society memberships with a $10,000 gift toward operating support.

To learn more you are invited to our May 9 luncheonGeorge Ferrari, CEO, will share a story of a Legacy Society member who through his will since 2009, provides local impact forever. He will describe how Legacy Society member's gifts, gifts of all sizes, touch this community

Everything the Community Foundation does is because of donors and Legacy Society members provide for our future, for generations to come.

Membership gives us a chance to thank generous individuals NOW. Currently, 74 Legacy Society members have designed their philanthropy to leave a gift to the Community Foundation of Tompkins County.

We are pleased Kim Rothman, a local estate planning attorney with Bousquet Holstein PLLC, will present at the luncheon. She will explore solutions that might work for you through wills, trusts, donor advised funds, pooled income funds and more.

We are very grateful for our anonymous donor to invest in our community in a way that encourages others to deepen their support.

If you'd like to receive information please contact Nancy Massicci, Chief Development Officer, at

2019 Events Calendar 

Planning for Remaining Community Foundation events
(dates subject to change, details forthcoming)

We have a great line up of a variety of events planned for you in 2019. Whether large events like our annual celebration in June or smaller, midsize offerings like our fund contacts luncheon in April or more intimate gatherings like our Legacy Society luncheon, we have something for everyone. We seek to support all of your philanthropic needs by building connections, fostering community and providing information. More details for each event will be linked below as well as posted in the events section of our website approximately 4 weeks before each event.  Let us know which events interest you and we will be happy to facilitate your participation.

Women's Fund Spring Tea April 28

"A Growing Promise" Legacy Society Luncheon  May 9

Closer Look Site Visits J uly - December

Summer Open House August

Philanthropy Magnified Reception September 

Women's Fund Celebration October 17

Holiday Open House December 13

Check back HERE for the latest on Community Foundation events