Grant Impact Stories

Community Foundation awarded 418 grants in the period January 1-December 31, 2017 totaling $1,555,217 in support of the arts & culture, environment, education, health & human services, and other means of community growth. From grantee reports and site visits and community conversations with donors and grantees we learn about what has worked, what has fallen short, and how we can dedicate our grant making to constantly improving impact.

Learn more about grant successes and ways we have partnered with donors to help solve specific problems in our community.

Fresh Produce Program Offers New Resources for Single Parents

Fresh Produce Program Offers New Resources for Single Parents

Single-parent families from Tompkins County will receive weekly bushels of fresh produce this summer in a program that will offer culinary support for parents pressed for time to cook.

Healthy Food for All, a nonprofit that makes fresh produce accessible to low-income families, will provide partial and full subsidies for single parents who want to receive shares from a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program at one of ten local farms in Tompkins County. The CSA typically cost $600 for the season, which runs from June to November.

While the nonprofit has provided CSA shares to low-income families for more than a decade, the program will feature a new service for single parents with young children: a trained chef who will help the parents turn their share of fruits and vegetables into nutritious meals by offering food-prep assistance as well as free cooking classes, said Liz Karabinakis, director of Healthy Food for All.

Healthy Food for All began developing a program for single parents in 2016, after Karabinakis attended a gathering on women and poverty, organized by Community Foundation of Tompkins County’s Women’s Fund. At the gathering, Karabinakis said she was struck by the dire needs of single mothers with young children in Tompkins County.

A Tompkins County Community Health Assessment presented at the meeting showed that 100 percent of single-mother families with children under age 5 live in poverty in the City of Ithaca and in the Town of Groton. The overall poverty rate for single women with children under 5 in Tompkins County is 58 percent.

“After hearing the statistics and the stories of the women, I felt compelled to do something,” Karabinakis said. “I made a pledge on behalf of Healthy Food for All farmers that we would provide food-insecure single-parent families with a CSA share of fresh produce for whatever price they could afford.”

In the summer of 2016, the nonprofit provided CSA shares to 25 single parents. Last year, the number of single-parent families participating in the program grew to nearly 50 and more are expected to sign up this season.

Karabinakis said she would not have created the program for single-parent families if she had not attended Community Foundation’s gathering on women and poverty. “The Community Foundation’s support extends well beyond their financial programs and grants,” she said. “They play a much greater role in supporting our community, and this is one example.”

Amy LeViere, philanthropic services officer for Community Foundation, said the CSA program for single-parent families reflects the conversations that occur at Community Foundation convenings. “We truly are an intersection of cross-cultural and cross-sector engagement that attracts community members, philanthropists, civic leaders, businesses and elected officials all to advance equity and opportunity through multi-layered connections to community resources,” she said.

Steph Bailey, chair of Community Foundation’s Women’s Fund Advisory Committee, added, “Empowering women changes lives and changes our community. Connections through Women’s Fund grants, resources, gatherings and events help make that happen.”


10 Years of Supporting Women's Programs

10 Years of Supporting Women's Programs

Community Foundation’s Women’s Fund Annual Luncheon provides a platform to hear inspirational stories – sharing the impact of powerful grantmaking throughout our community. One such grant to Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) provides funding for a new initiative designed to help empower a group of teen girls and young women, ages 16-25 considered at-risk. Your support builds their self-esteem and marketable work skills through mentorship, social skills training, personal hygiene training, job skill training and coaching. Funds are used for one-on-one counseling, group socialization through planned interactions and self-introspection exercises. The young women embrace the powerful transformative aspects of the program offered in a safe, supportive environment to grow and improve their lives. The outcomes are inspirational: One participant is enrolled in college, two returned to high school – and graduated! Two are back in high school to finish their education. Those not in school are working. One participant found meaningful work at GIAC, ”Being a summer camp counselor for a four year old group was the highlight of my summer!”

Click here to read more about lives influenced here in Tompkins County.

Click here to learn more about the impact of the 2017 Women’s Fund Grant Cycle.

Click here to learn more about the Women’s Fund.

To learn more visit Impact Dashboards and Impact Stories

Transforming - a lifelong love of learning Minecraft Author Library Tour

Transforming - a lifelong love of learning

Communities across our county and beyond, from rural villages to larger towns benefit from the library grant cycle.  The Bernard and Shirley Rosen Library Fund grants are transforming, promoting a genuine intellectual curiosity and a lifelong love of reading and learning, supporting access by youth to 33 Finger Lakes Libraries. More than $130,000 is granted annually; totaling over $750,000 in 155 grants since 2011. 

One particular grant of $14,588 supported a special tour to encourage  youth reading, bringing critically-acclaimed author Sean Fay Wolfe to 15 libraries in the region. 

This grant resulted from the inspiration of Sara Knobel, Library Director at the Groton Public Library. Sara invited other libraries to participate and coordinated their efforts to join in a collaborative application to leverage grant funds to bring a big name author to libraries that could otherwise not afford such a visit. Click here to see a special video: The Amazing Finger Lakes Library System Author Tour!  

Teen author, Sean Fay Wolfe, was met by an enthusiastic group of fans who were inspired by his story and excited about the free books they received at the event. After one of the sessions, Andy, an 8 year old, went home to start writing his book!

Click here to learn more about the 2017 Library Grant Cycle

quote Antoine de Saint-Exupery

As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it.