Philanthropy Magnified Impact Report
February 2019
Deepening Community Connections
Training Brings Wisdom to Complex Problems


Why do women of color have worse prenatal outcomes than white women in Tompkins County and across the country?

This question arose as a small group of five representatives of nonprofit organizations worked together to discuss the strategies the county health department might use to improve the health of residents in Tompkins County.

The discussion was part of a three-day training program completed this month, called the Art of Participatory Leadership (AoPL), which engaged community leaders. The training was offered in Ithaca and included leaders from a four county region. Initiated by the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, the program teaches community leaders how to harness the collective wisdom of a wide range of community groups.

Other issues that were discussed in the training sessions included community resiliency, systemic racism, and methods of confronting violence without violence.
The training emphasizes strategies for engaging many voices in solving complex social problems. 

"The Art of Participatory Leadership offers methods and techniques for tapping into the existing wisdom of groups." Says, Jennifer Bertron, Community Impact Manager for Food Bank of the Southern Tier, "For me, this was the missing link for moving forward with Collective Impact initiatives that rely on collaboration across government, business, philanthropy, non-profit organizations and citizens to achieve significant and lasting social change".

With grant support from the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, Food Bank leaders, among others, were trained in the method of collective impact in 2014. The approach fosters a community of organizations working together, engaging in mutually reinforcing activities toward a common goal. Additional grant support from Community Foundation helped bring this training to Ithaca, building on the community's capacity to address complex issues.

Since then, Food Bank of the Southern Tie has expanded its thinking and work around attaining nutritional security for all in the region by looking more deeply at the systems that contribute to food insecurity.   ... continue reading   CLICK HERE

Spotlight: Khandikile Mvunga Sokoni Joins Community Foundation Board

When Khandikile Mvunga Sokoni's law partner began inviting her to Community Foundation's Women's Fund lunch several years ago, Sokoni would come away impressed with the way the organization was helping such a wide range of local nonprofits.   "I would always leave extremely inspired by the stories I heard,"
she says.   "I was intrigued by the organization behind those stories." 

After George Ferrari Jr., chief executive officer of Community Foundation, asked her to become a board member, Sokoni started her first term in January. What motivated her to join the board was Community Foundation's mission to improve the community through philanthropy. 

"I'm inspired by this concept of enduring philanthropy," she says. "It's not just a one-time impact but the hope that you can build connections with people who will keep on giving." 

Sokoni brings a unique perspective to Community Foundation's Board. Originally from Zambia, she moved to Ithaca to attend Cornell Law School. She is an attorney in private practice, a partner in the firm True, Walsh & Sokoni, LLP. Prior to moving into private practice, she worked in the Ithaca City Attorney's Office for fourteen years, the latter six of which she spent serving as Assistant City Attorney, providing legal advice to the mayor, common council and the city's senior staff team.  

Sokoni brings a wealth of nonprofit board experience to Community Foundation. She has served on the boards of Catholic Charities of Tompkins/Tioga, the Drop-In Children's Center, and Kids Count, Inc., the afterschool program at Northeast Elementary. She was also president of both the Tompkins County Bar Association and the Finger Lakes Women's Bar Association.   Until recently, she served on the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission (IJEQC), the body charged with screening and ranking candidates seeking election as judge in the Sixth Judicial District composed of ten counties, (Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Madison, Otsego, Tioga, Tompkins and Schuyler. 

Sokoni and husband, Mutale, have three children. "All three of my kids were born right here in Tompkins County - they are Ithacans," she says.   "This community has been great to us. It's a no-brainer to want to give back."

Thank you to the 
Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA)

Thank you to the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA) for the excellent work of their students from Dr. Margaret Johnson's Introduction to Evaluation class. In the fall of 2018, they carried out an evaluation planning process for our Library Grant Cycle, providing recommendations for a future evaluation process that will help us assess the impact of this grant cycle.

The Community Foundation's Library Grant Cycle occurs annually, making grants to the 33 libraries in the Finger Lakes Library System (a 5 county region). In 2018, its 8th year, this grant cycle reached over $1 million in cumulative investments. The grant cycle was inspired by a bequest from Bernard Carl and Shirley Rosen and is primarily funded by a donor advised fund in their name. The grant cycle emphasizes three broad areas of funding support all related to youth:
1. Summer Reading Program (to prevent summer slide in academic learning)
2. Storytime (birth - Age 5)
3. Youth Engagement
(e.g. school age book clubs, collections, technology, etc.)

The student group researched how libraries can most effectively assess the impact of their youth programming and made recommendations on how evaluation could be carried out. They provided an informative final presentation and final report at the end of the semester.

Thank you to all our generous donors who make this possible!

See how YOU help inspire philanthropy!  Click HERE

Counting What Counts:
Why Social Accounting MATTERS


If a hammer is your only tool, every problem tends to look like a nail. So says Maslow's law of the instrument, cautioning that while a tool may be useful, it can also limit perception in ways that reduce future options. In today's world, financial accounting has become this type of hammer. It implicitly and explicitly constrains how we approach resource allocation and policy decisions, because it privileges a single type of resource-money. Yet many other types of resources exist, such as intangible assets like knowledge, relationships, and reputation.... Excerpt from winter 2018 edition of the Nonprofit Quarterly.  continue reading:  CLICK HERE

2019 Spring Grant Cycle - happening now
Application Deadline: March 14, 2019

Grants Range: $1,000 to $5,000

Spring Grant Cycle applications and must be received through CommunityForce, an online grant management platform.

Out of Cycle Requests will be received and reviewed during the Spring and Fall Grant Cycle timeframes.

The Spring Grant Cycle (now including the Women's Fund) makes grants from the Howland Foundation (assets held at M & T Bank) and the Community Foundation's donor advised and field of interest funds, especially our Children & Youth Fund and our Women's Fund.

The Spring Grant Cycle supports the following areas:

* AGING (serving Tompkins County only)

* ANIMAL WELFARE (Serving Tompkins and/or Broome County)

* ENVIRONMENTAL PRESERVATION (Serving Tompkins and/or Broome County)

* WOMEN (Serving Tompkins County only) Newly moved to the spring from the fall

* YOUTH (Serving Tompkins County only)

2019 Events Calendar 

Planning for Community Foundation events in 2019
(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

Legacy Luncheon May

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