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unitedwayDuring this challenging period in our community and beyond, United Way of Tompkins County (UWTC) celebrated a successful Community Campaign. Through the volunteer leadership of Cal Walker, the organization raised $2,076,025 a feat made possible by committed of donors throughout the county and across the country. Highlights of this year’s Community Campaign include: raising $2,000,000 in donations for the first time in 5 years and reversing a three-year trend in which the amount of funds raised through the annual campaign was lower than the year before. Another year of decline was predicted based on local and national giving trends, however, committed UWTC donors achieved this reversal as they responded to local needs.

100% of all gifts made through United Way of Tompkins County during the campaign will go directly to support health and human service agencies thanks to UWTC’s fifty-four (54) Corporate Cornerstone Partners, local businesses whose donations cover the agencies administrative costs. All donations through United Way fall into one of two groups: donor designated funds which are designated for a specific agency identified by the donor, or undesignated funds which are used to fund UWTC’s multiple grant initiatives and programs. This year over $1.1 million in undesignated funds will be invested in local services through some of the following UWTC programs:

  • Community Care Fund: Chaired by Pat Stage, UWTC volunteers assessed and allocated $750,000 to support local services in the areas of Financial Stability, Health and Education. This is a two-year grant cycle. These funds will be distributed to 50 partner organizations, supporting 80 different programs throughout Tompkins County. Services and programs receiving these grants were recommended for funding by over 30 community volunteers and approved by UWTC’s Board of Directors.
  • T. Merrill Shipherd Flexible Fund and COVID-19 Relief Fund: Chaired by Brain McNeal, the Shipherd Fund expanded its scope to assist in addressing the immediate needs stemming from COVID-19. To date, 11 local agencies received funds through this targeted effort. UWTC joined with other local funders in making some of these critical and time sensitive grants. Shipherd Fund volunteers also provided one time grants to agencies enabling them to address unforeseen circumstances in the community. A total of $53,211 has already been distributed through the Shipherd Fund.
  • COVID-19/ALICE Board Fund: A total of $55,000 will be used to support ongoing COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts over the next year as Tompkins County and the economy continues to adjust to a new normal. Programs serving Asset Limited Income Constrained and Employed (ALICE) households will receive special consideration
  • Stephen E. Garner Summers of Service: A total of $17,600 will support the hiring of 11 local high school students to work in community organizations this summer. The students will develop work and life skills throughout the summer as they support the work of each organization.. Students have been placed with these partners for Summer 2020:
    • The Advocacy Center
    • Village of Groton
    • Ithaca Child Care Center
    • Opportunities, Alternatives, and Resources
    • Southworth Library
    • Women’s Opportunity Center
    • YMCA of Ithaca and Tompkins County
    • Advocacy Center

  • Youth and Philanthropy Program: Funded by the Triad Foundation, a team of local high school students will participate in social and leadership development, budget and grant reviews, and team building activities. These skills will be used to request health and human service program proposals that will be evaluated by the students and awarded grants totaling $ 25,000.

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