June 14th, 2023

Spring Grant Review Team Recap

So, who reviewed your grant applications? Your employees, your colleagues, your neighbors, and your peers reviewed your application through an extensive and comprehensive grant review process. See a complete list of team members HERE. We’ve enabled our community to participate in the planning and decision-making process of our grant cycle, and we are proud of this. This Spring, we had 39 team members who represent a diverse cross section of our community, bringing a range of skills, experience, and expertise to this grant process. Our goal was to find members who truly represent the community we serve, the community we love.

Review team members have the unique opportunity to deepen their understanding of community needs through reading and scoring grant applications. They are trained and guided through equitable and fair ways to review and score applications using a scoring rubric. Our teams get to connect and engage with applicants and with each other. Cycle after cycle, we are amazed by the dedication and passion of our review team members and the rich discussions that come out of the meetings.

Yasmin Rashid had this to say, “It has been exponentially joyful working next to Gloria. I have very few opportunities to work with those in the nonprofit realm with such an ineffable beauty. Gloria has done the work to create equitably driven opportunities in the community for our youth and adults regarding workforce and educational opportunities. Gloria’s gifts know no limits and the goodness of her heart and intentions know no bounds. The integrity, principles, and unwavering dedication always shown by Gloria deserves of unflinching support from the community she directly serves and the community abroad. As a fellow community activist, I look forward to always supporting such genuineness.”

Laura Andolina had this to say, “One of the most intriguing and impressive grant requests that our group reviewed, was for Ballet and Books, a young organization run by Talia Bailes (CU’20), begun in 2017 when Talia enrolled at Cornell from her hometown of Cincinnati, which pairs dance students from Cornell and Ithaca College one-on-one with young dancers in Ithaca ages 3 to 9. Together with their mentors, for 8 Saturdays a semester, the 30 or so children in Ithaca currently enrolled in B&B spend two hours learning literacy through both movement (ballet) and reading (age-appropriate books usually centered around dance subjects). The children served are those historically excluded from the dance space: underrepresented populations including but not limited to people of color, English Language Learners, and learners with disabilities (including physical). Through B&B, these families of limited resources can ground their children’s early education in the benefits of quality extracurricular literacy and dance/arts education. At the end of each semester, the children are encouraged to participate in a performance as part of Cornell’s end-of-semester dance showcase. They LOVE it!! Talia’s energy and enthusiasm, along with a cadre of unpaid volunteers are palpable as they have grown Ballet and Books to have chapters at seven colleges and universities, including Duke, Howard, Penn, and a Florida community college. Talia herself is now a med student at the University of Michigan, where she will open the eighth chapter this coming fall. Ithaca remains the flagship program and our committee was thrilled to vote unanimously for full funding, which will stay with the Ithaca program as they have a waitlist and several new expenses as they grow, and happily, CFTC awarded them full funding also. It’s people like Talia and her organization of college student mentors that are changing the world for these vulnerable children!

Our grant review process is guided by our mission to bring people and resources together to build a more equitable Tompkins County and grounded in our DEI principles. We are always looking to grow our team so if you would like to apply to be on a review team, click HERE.