In 1945 five public-spirited businesspersons, Paul Brainard, William Burns, Sherman Peer, George Rogalsky and Gerald Williams, dreamt of a way to provide for the betterment of the community that they had grown to love. They established a non-profit trust whose objective was to establish a means by which they and others who shared their feelings could express their gratitude and love for their community by donating resources to be used to enrich the quality of life for citizens of Tompkins County.

The Trust began with four gifts totaling $22,600. It grew through family and individual bequests to almost $1 million by 1990 and today, with additional bequests and well managed investments, it is in excess of $3 million. It was initially known as the Ithaca Foundation, later changing its name to The Tompkins County Foundation to reflect the expanding breadth of its impact. In 2007 it was renamed Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County to better differentiate its position in the community and highlight its mission: to make a positive impact upon the quality of life in our community.

Past Presidents

Sherman Peer | 12/1945 - 10/1953 | 8 years
Paul Brainard | 10/1953 - 01/1955 | 1 year
Lewis Durland | 01/1955 - 01/1962 | 7 years
Charles Treman, Jr. | 01/1962 - 04/1966 | 4 years
T. B. Maxfield | 04/1966 - 03/1967 | 1 year
V. A. Fogg |03/1967 - 06/1977 | 10 years
W. R. Farnsworth | 06/1977 - 06/1980 |3 years
Anthony DiGiacomo | 06/1980 - 05/1992 | 12 years
James Morley | 05/1992 - 05/1995 | 3 years
Fred Martin | 05/1995 - 04/1997 | 2 years
Bonnie Howell | 04/1997 - 05/2000 | 3 years
Larry Baum | 05/2000 - 05/2003 |3 years
Arthur Pearce | 05/2003 - 05/2006 |3 years
Pat Johnson | 05/2006 - 04/2009 | 3 years
Greg Hartz | 05/2009


The board consists of a minimum of five (5) and a maximum of nine (9) directors who serve for three years and may be reelected three times in succession totaling nine (9) years. The five directors shall be selected as follows: (1) The Chief Financial Officer of Cornell University or that persons designate; (2) Two public spirited citizens representing the business community, each with experience within either the Chamber of Commerce or the United Way of Tompkins County, (3) Two persons from the banking institutions in Ithaca, New York, one of whom shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Tompkins Trust Company or that persons designate.

The board meets, formally, three times a year. Once for general business review and election of officers and twice to review grant applications, approve funds distribution and conduct other business. Special meetings are called as needed.

Contact us for further information or questions.


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