Donor Stories

We celebrate our partners in supporting our community. Here a few donors sharing ways they achieved their philanthropic goals. These stories highlight our gratitude and appreciation from your Community Foundation, celebrating the amazingly generous people and businesses, like you!

Encouraging all to care for the natural world

Ithaca Couple Creates Environmental Education Fund

Encouraging all to care for the natural world

Gerry and Caroline Cox have taken the adage, “Think globally, act locally,” and put those words into practice by creating an environmental education fund at Community Foundation of Tompkins County.

The Coxes, who live in Ithaca, want the fund to support any organization that educates the public about ecological issues in the entire Cayuga Lake watershed. “This topic is not covered well in our educational system, but it’s important to us,” said Gerry, a former assistant dean at the Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences. “Our concern is with the long-term health of this region’s ecosystem and its inhabitants.”

The Coxes established the fund through Community Foundation of Tompkins County, a nonprofit organization that supports philanthropy to address community needs. The fund, which will begin making grants in 2019, is designed to encourage multiple donors to contribute.

“The interest in environmental grantmaking to a wide variety of local nonprofits is very great,” said George P. Ferrari, Jr., chief executive officer of Community Foundation. “We have a lot of grant seekers asking us about it. Yet we receive the fewest gifts with that designation.”

In addition to the environment and sustainability, Community Foundation’s grant areas include: community building, education, health and human services, and arts and culture.

Gerry said he became increasingly concerned about environmental education after he spent 10 years researching and writing a book about the ecology of hunting. “While working on my book, I realized that our common definition of ecology is inadequate,” he said. “We need to enlarge it from the scientific study of organisms in an ecosystem to a broader definition that includes our experiences within it. Just as no man is an island, we are part of an ecological whole. I’ve been thinking about how to try to make this inclusive change come about, and education seems to be one of the best ways.”

Caroline, who worked in development at Cornell and Ithaca College, said they turned to Community Foundation to create an environmental education fund because they wanted to encourage other donors to contribute as well.

“This is a way to say to others who have this interest, ‘You too can help make this happen,’ ” said Caroline, a former Community Foundation board member. “It isn’t about us; it’s about the opportunity and the need.”

Gerry said he hopes the fund will help residents develop a new perspective on their role in the environment surrounding Cayuga Lake. “Ultimately, we hope that this new fund will support the vital work of the regional organizations that educate the public about becoming stewards of our watershed,” he said. “The fund can help influence what happens here if others learn more about the environment and realize their own stake in it.”

CLICK HERE to make a gift to the Environmental Education Fund

Enduring Philanthropy

Building our Future

Enduring Philanthropy

Why  is it important to be involved in local community philanthropy?       To help build our future

Eight new endowment funds create permanent renewable resources for our community. These special funds honor or remember the many contributions to our community. Dr. Marguerite Uphoff Endowment Fund celebrates and honors Dr. Uphoff’s tireless dedication and support for children and families during her work as a pediatrician for over 45 years. Leon Lawrence Memorial Scholarship Fund, designated for Southside Community Center awards, honors the late Leon Lawrence, a beloved Ithaca activist and civic leader. Family Reading Partnership Fund provides permanent funding, supporting the nonprofit and their mission to “create a culture of literacy.” New endowments created by the Tom and Maria Eisner Fund, to better meet current needs, provide annual support to four institutions serving our community. A long-time resident made a $100,000 gift creating an endowment supporting a wide range of local nonprofit organizations. Collectively, these endowment funds total more than $385,000 benefiting our community both today and in the years to come. 

Click here to read more about Dr. Marguerite Uphoff Endowment Fund

Click here and learn a little more about Leon Lawrence and his legacy

Click here to find out more about Family Reading Partnership

Click here to learn more about the 4 endowment funds created by Tom and Maria Eisner Fund

Click here and read more about the $100k pledge creating a new endowment


To learn more about local impact visit  IMPACT DASHBOARDS AND IMPACT STORIES

Tompkins Today and Tomorrow

$100,000 Donor Creates Lasting Impact

Tompkins Today and Tomorrow

A long-time Ithaca resident has pledged $100,000 to Community Foundation to create a new endowment that will support a wide range of local nonprofit organizations .

“This pledge represents a great beginning of our effort to build an endowed grantmaking program and put it on a solid footing,” said George Ferrari, chief executive officer of Community Foundation.

The anonymous donor said she wanted to make the pledge to show her commitment to the community and to set an example she hopes others will follow. “Community Foundation has reached a level of maturity where it can be more proactive in its grantmaking,” she said. “They know the local issues, challenges and needs.”

Community Foundation board members, stewards of the endowment, expressed gratitude for the gift and look forward to others supporting it as well. “We are so grateful for this gift. It is a vote of confidence in how our grantmaking engages the community to address local needs,” said Randy Ehrenberg, current board chair. Incoming chair Susan H. Murphy added, “This new endowment gives us greater flexibility and more resources to meet emerging local challenges today and well into the future!”

quote Cesar Chavez

We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community. Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.