Children & Youth Fund

Community Foundation’s Children & Youth Fund, a field of interest fund, was created to promote the healthy development of children and youth in ways that complement existing services.

Field of interest funds aggregate multiple gifts from many donors who have a strong desire to address a particular concern or constituency providing focus yet flexible grants.

History and Support

As the Fund grows, it will invite proposals that respond to its priorities. In recent years, the Children & Youth Fund has reviewed proposals submitted by youth-serving agencies to the Community Foundation and its other funds that align with the Fund’s mission. The following examples illustrate some of the populations, services, and approaches that the Children and Youth Field of Interest Fund has supported.

Impact Stories


Community Coalition for Healthy Youth: 2016 Tompkins County Student Survey


Children & Youth Fund Grant History:

    • 2008
      • BJM Afterschool Enrichment: nutritional cooking program
      • Village at Ithaca: BJM literacy coach
    • 2009
      • TST BOCES: Evenstart program in Newfield and Groton
    • 2010
      • Child Development Council: capacity building
      • Town of Lansing: Parks & Recreation
    • 2011
      • Cornell Cooperative Extension: Caroline Great Race
      • Planned Parenthood: LGBT Youth Group
      • Southern Tier Advocacy & Mitigation Project: Green Guerrillas youth media collective
    • 2012
      • Cornell Cooperative Extension: 4HOURS reading program
      • Cornell Cooperative Extension: Caroline Youth Services
      • Cornell Cooperative Extension: Lansing Youth Services
      • Planned Parenthood: cervical cancer vaccines for uninsured
      • Town of Ulysses: youth employment program
    • 2013
      • Groton Public Library: teen programming
      • Catholic Charities: transportation assistance for school and training
      • Child Development Council: basic needs for disadvantaged families
      • Newfield Public Library: college advising program
      • Groton Youth Commission: youth employment program
      • Ulysses Philomathic Library: Readers Theatre Showcase
    • 2014
      • Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca: The Community-Based Counseling Project
    • 2015
      • Groton Public Library: GPL Teen Thing From Library Grant Cycle
      • Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca: Rural Outreach Program
      • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County: Childrens Neighborhood Improvement Mini-Grants
      • Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes: Pilot Project – CRC Cares About Kids
    • 2016
      • Camp Kesem National: Camp Kesem at Cornell University Summer 2016
      • The Mental Health Association in Tompkins County: KIDS FIRST Summer Recreation Program 2016
      • Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca: Open Doors – A Program Serving Runaway and Homeless Youth
      • Civic Ensemble: Community Based Play – Education
      • Multicultural Resource Center: Ithaca Debate Academy – Voices of the Unheard
      • NYS Baroque: NYS Baroque meets DeWitt Chamber Orchestra
      • The Discovery Trail: Kids Discover the Trail! Program expansion 2016-2017
      • Trumansburg Robotics Team FRC 5254: Trumansburg Robotics 2016-2017 season
    • 2017
      • Edith B. Ford Memorial Library of Ovid, NY: LIFT – Libraries for Teens
    • 2018
      • Trumansburg Robotics Team FRC 5254: Expanding Fabrication Capabilities Initiative
      • Varna Community Center: Safe Landings in Varna
      • Golden Opportunities: GO tutoring and mentoring
      • Hangar Theatre: Project 4: Artists in the Schools
      • Musicians for World Harmony: Can we talk, rap or sing?: Building bridges between refugees/immigrants and American-born students
      • Greater Ithaca Activities Center – Girls Empowerment Groups Beautiful and Educated (BAE) – Girls Empowerment Motivated Sisters (GEMS)
    • 2019
      • Foodbank of the Southern Tier for Tompkins County Backpack programCommunity Center: Safe Landings in Varna
      • Golden Opportunities: GO tutoring and mentoring
      • Camp Kesem at Cornell for Summer Camp
      • Family Reading Partnership for Extending Traveling Books to Care Providers and Children in Need
      • Friends of Ithaca Youth Bureau for Summer Camp Inclusion

Three Different Children & Youth Fund Grants Supporting Children and Youth to Thrive as Cancer Touches Their Lives

CY girl

The Children and Youth Fund of the Community Foundation has a long history of supporting young people as they face cancer in their lives. A grant to the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes in 2015 for the CRC Cares About Kids program has supported families that have a parent who has been diagnosed with cancer. Trained volunteers provide a comfortable environment where children can talk about their parent’s cancer, also providing childcare, allowing parents to benefit from the support groups offered. Recreational events are provided to allow children to meet others whose families are facing similar challenges. Information has been distributed throughout Tompkins County School Districts and at Cayuga Medical Center offering informational resources for youth. Outreach to schools and parents in particular has laid a foundation for further development of the CRC Cares about Kids Program.

CY pic

In 2016, the Children and Youth Fund supported Camp Kesem at Cornell University. Camp Kesem is a nationwide community driven by passionate college student leaders, that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer. By providing a free week of summer camp and year long programming, Camp Kesem recognizes and embraces the often-overlooked population of children touched by a parent’s cancer by providing innovative, fun-filled programs that foster a lasting community.

CY med

This fund also supported Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes to continue to offer HPV and cervical cancer vaccines to uninsured girls in Tompkins County, thereby preserving their current and future health. This FDA-approved vaccine helps to prevent human papillomavirus, often the root cause of cervical cancer. Protecting the health of our children affects not only their welfare and futures, but has an impact on our community as a whole. Girls who get preventative care, treatment, and related information are more likely to stay well and remain in school.

Listening Learning Session with Local Attorneys

On April 16, 2015, the Children & Youth Fund held a Listening Learning session with local attorneys at Coltivare. The resulting report captures the thoughts of local attorneys, whose work touches the lives of the children in our community, lending their voices to a conversation on “what is working well, problems, and obstacles.”

quote Community Foundation Donor Advisor

It opens your eyes to what else might be out there beyond your normal interests.