May 13th, 2020

Interns and Johnson Board Fellows Bring Energy and New Ideas

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Community, college and university collaborations continue to benefit all of us. Thank you Sophie, Grant, Keith and Susan – you rock!  You have enriched our community with your energy and ideas that you brought to this work; we know that you will be ambassadors of community service and civic engagement as you move forward in your lives.

Community Foundation board fellows, interns and staff

Zoom call: Community Foundation board fellows, interns and staff (pictured)

Enthusiasm and new ways of thinking bring creative solutions.  Reflections shared by Community Foundation interns and board fellows:


“In my time working with the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, I feel truly lucky to have been immersed in the Ithaca and Tompkins County Community. Working with such compassionate people has allowed me to see the impacts of philanthropy on a deeper-than surface level – to see the months and years of impact the generosity of the community has brought to fruition.

As a college student, it is often difficult to break the barrier between campus and the community, but through working as a community impact associate, I have finally begun to call not only Cornell but Ithaca home.

Through connecting with donors, review team members, and grantees, I have been fortunate enough to see philanthropy from all sides, and to see how truly generous and dedicated the Tompkins County Community truly is. I have learned that the diversity of the surrounding universities does not stop on campus, but carries through to the truly kind and passionate citizens of the Ithaca area. By intertwining business in the most socially positive way possible, I look forward to a future promoting community building in whatever I may pursue.”   Sophie McComb ’23, Cornell University, Biometry & Statistics major in the College of Arts and Sciences


I’ve really enjoyed my internship as the Communications Associate at Community Foundation of Tompkins County. It’s a great work environment and I was surrounded by genuine people who just really want to do good for the community.

It’s a small office, so I really enjoyed getting hands on experience and getting to add my own personality into the work. I learned more about public relations, social media, graphic design, and philanthropy. I’ll definitely take the skills and lessons learned from this internship into my next step in life!”  Grant Thompson ’20, Ithaca College, Integrated Marketing and Communications major in the Park School of Communication


“Serving as a Johnson Board fellow with the Community Foundation during the past year has been a wonderful experience. I enjoyed getting to know many of the Board members and directly seeing how their contributions helped to further the Foundation’s mission.

Through monthly Board and Financial Administration Committee meetings, I gained better insight into how the Foundation operates and I learned of the specific impact many of the grants have on local non-profits. Additionally, I spent a large portion of the year better understanding the relationship between charitable giving, the Foundation’s invested assets, and grant-making. This experience helped increase my awareness of how investment growth can play an important role in expanding the Foundation’s goals and more importantly, how investment strategy decisions can lead to localized impact.

Overall, the Board fellowship helped me to develop a better perspective of local philanthropy and some of its challenges while also enabling me to further connect with the greater Ithaca community.”  Keith Jude Devas ’20 MBA student, Cornell University, SC Johnson College of Business, Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management


“This was my sixth year living in Ithaca, between my undergraduate and MBA degrees, and I knew that too much of my time had been spent up on the hill and not enough time getting to know the greater Ithaca community. When I became a Johnson Board Fellow, my top choice  organization to work with was the Community Foundation. I had a little insight into the important role that any community foundation can play from my home town in Omaha, but over this past year I have had the incredible opportunity to learn the inner workings of how this organization works tirelessly to support every corner of life throughout our county.

Working with George, Nancy, the Board and staff was such a great learning experience for me. I was quick to realize that this is an organization run much like the start-ups we study in class, and it was made even more clear as we entered the state-wide lockdown in March, that the foundation plays a crucial role in providing for so many constituents throughout the community.  I am glad to have contributed to helping the team put together their annual report for 2019, participate in discussions for the 20th anniversary celebrations, and brainstorm for new community volunteer and engagement activities.

As I am packing up and planning to leave Ithaca at the end of this month, it is bittersweet to be leaving this wonderful community I have called home for many years, but thanks to Community Foundation of Tompkins County and Cornell University, I know that I will forever remain an engaged member of this community wherever I am living.”  Susan Freeman ’20 MBA student, Cornell University, SC Johnson College of Business, Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management


Information regarding Community Foundation volunteer, employment and internship positions: click here.