Every two years, UWTC fields applications from local nonprofits that have ideas on how we can collectively impact key areas identified by needs assessments. This month, community volunteer reviewers are starting to assess applications for a total ask of $1.2 million through the Community Care Fund. This cycle's priorities include the building blocks for a life of wellness: child-care and youth development programs, including after-school activities and academic support, mental health and support with substance abuse recovery, safe and affordable housing and living circumstances, and food security. 

This vetted process ensures donors' giving's are invested in programs that meet local needs with local solutions/agencies in areas that impact us all and create a stronger Tompkins County. That is where your donor dollars to the Community Care Fund go, and thanks to our Corporate Cornerstone Partners and UWTC investment income, you know that 100% goes to programs and services

We want to thank everyone who helped us reach our initial goal of $1.5 million dollars. It took a tremendous effort of caring, and we could not have done it without you. Currently, we are working towards our stretch goal of $1.7 million dollars. If we can raise an additional $100,000 for the Community Care Fund, we would be able to give our Community Investment Committee Volunteers the ability to fund at the same level as we have in the past two years! Can you be part of our stretch goal win and make New Possibilities turn into REALITIES for your fellow community members?

Giving is easy! Simply click the link below and give today, or pledge and give when it's most convenient for you. No matter the timing of your gift, UWTC will invest the funds into the Community Care Fund through our grant awards based on your pledge.  
Thank you!

At UWTC, we love our volunteers! Thank you to the @Tompkins Trust Company Commercial Lending team of Karen Parkes, Cindy Armstrong, John Bauda, Jason Moore, Justin Earl, and Brad Totman for donating their time and talents to our annual volunteer audit of pledges. Your professionalism and love for the community made it a smooth endeavor! 
The fighting in Ukraine continues with devastating human, material, and cultural losses exceeding levels previously considered unimaginable. It is difficult for many to comprehend the immediate and long-term impacts of what the world is witnessing. It is against this backdrop and with heavy hearts that the United for Ukraine Fund is launched. UW Worldwide has stood up this platform in response to the urgent and growing humanitarian crisis that expands each day.

With this in mind, Hickey’s Music Center is pleased to MATCH the next $1000 given to our United for Ukraine Fund! 

Please use the link below to give today, knowing 100% is passed along to those displaced and is matched by Hickey’s if you are in the next $1000 given.
100% of proceeds support our Community Care Fund for our local residents through our funded partners.
United Way Tompkins County and Cornell University would like to thank everyone who bid and participated in this year's "Big Red One-Day Online Auction!" It's because of you that this event was a success, and we are looking forward to next year with eagerness and joy.
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United Way of Tompkins County has an origin story that reflects and highlights the character, complexity, and strength of our local communities. Based on historical personal notes and public documents, an Ithaca Community Chest Campaign for 1921 took place in March of 1922. More on this as the story unfolds.

In 1917-18, George F. (Count) Rogalsky was Tompkins County Chairman for the Liberty Loan in World War I. It was the success of those bond drives that inspired a group of citizens, headed by Senator Edwin C. Stewart, to organize the Tompkins County War Chest Association. This organization raised and distributed funds to support the private agencies that had aided in the war effort, both at home and abroad. The Red Cross, Knights of Columbus, Salvation Army, YMCA, War Camp Services, and Belgian Relief were among the recipient organizations.

When the war ended, the balance of funds raised, $12,179.85 was turned over to the Ithaca Trust Company (which merged to become Tompkins County Trust Company). The money was to be used for emergency relief of veterans and their families when federal funds were not available. Reports show that through judicious investment of the principal and earned interest, a total of $25,742.40 was distributed before the fund was closed in March 1960.

The success of these efforts was not lost on residents throughout area communities. Documents show that meetings were held from late 1919 through 1920 to discuss conversion of the War Chest to a Peace Chest. There are notes referencing meetings that took place as early as 1917. Tompkins County residents have always liked a good meeting.

As conversations continued, Peace was changed to Community and the framework for combining the numerous solicitations by community agencies into a single campaign was outlined. Joseph F. Hickey was made chairman of the committee that was charged with nominating a budget committee, and working out the details of the planned 1920 campaign that set a goal to raise $50,000.

Mr. Hickey would chair the 1926 campaign that raised $68,299, and exceeded its goal of $65,000. I will digress a moment for a quick sports report from 1926. Like the Community Chest, 1926 was a good year for baseball and St. Louis (my hometown). The Cardinals beat New York’s Yankees 4 games to 3 to win the World Series.

Back in Tompkins County, the early efforts to form a community chest brought to light our local communities’ willingness to thoroughly discuss and evaluate a new opportunity. Through 1920 and 1921, meetings and conversations continued. We are now almost back to the 1921 campaign that took place in 1922.
In January 1922, the years of meetings finally reached a boiling point during a public meeting. A vote of the meeting’s participants was held, and Mayor Louis P. Smith was asked to appoint a 15-member committee to organize the Community Chest and get it going.

R.H. Treman, President of the Tompkins County National Bank, which later became Tompkins County Trust Company, was appointed chairman of the committee which held its first meeting January 19, 1922. Activities accelerated with bylaws being developed and approved. Mr. Treman was elected president of the Chest.  

Professor C.H. Hull, a native Ithacan who taught American history at Cornell, was elected vice president. Secretary was Ross W. Kellogg, who was also secretary of the Ithaca Board of Commerce. Treasurer was a local grocer, Sidney Howell. Walter F. Wilcox was made chairman of the budget committee, a post he held for many years.

Upon completing incorporation, the organization’s leadership was anxious to get started. In March of 1922, Ithaca Postmaster Clarence Tarbell accepted the charge of chairing the first campaign that was for 1921. The formal 1922 campaign was then held around Thanksgiving with hopes that the season’s good feelings and festivities would be reflected in generous giving.  

The aforementioned George F. Rogalsky served as campaign manager in 1921, 1922, and 1923. In the latter two years, he was the campaign chairman. His writings provided the foundation for this document.  

Mr. Rogalsky, a Cornell graduate (1907) went on to study at the Cornell Law School before becoming the university’s treasurer in 1920. He became Cornell’s first vice president–business in 1948, and retired from Cornell in 1953 as vice president of the university. Mr. Rogalsky also served 10 years as an Ithaca Common Council alderman.

In Tompkins County and across the country, these experiments in grassroots organizing produced local Community Chests that have grown, changed, and become a national and global network of human beings seeking to bring greater humanity to our world. To all who have helped make this experiment a success, thank you!

A second century of service has begun. While we never say never, I believe the days of multi-year and catch-up campaigns have passed. Our local communities and United Way will get it right at times, and we will miss the mark at times. Regardless of the outcomes, we will continuously work, grow and serve as effectively as possible.

James Brown will return…this special journey has just begun.  

If you have community and United Way recollections from the first 100 years, please let me hear from you. Reach out to us at wmckeever@uwtc.org and tell us your story!

James A. Brown (he/him/his)
President and CEO 
United Way of Tompkins County
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If you have any questions, please contact United Way of Tompkins County at 
607-500-GIVE during business hours.