Legacy Foundation receives many more requests for grants annually than its endowment can support. The board of directors has developed a priority rating system that each director employs in making his or her decision on the quality of life impact of each potential grant. A consensus is reached on the most positive impact grants at the grant review meeting in the spring and fall.

Legacy Foundation also provides endowment funds for two award programs. One was established by Tompkins Trust Company to identify and reward excellence in volunteering within Tompkins County. The other was established by Tompkins Trust Company in the name of its former President and CEO, Raymond Van Houtte, to identify and reward outstanding teachers and other employees of Tompkins County schools. A separate awards committee makes the selection from nominated community members and the cash awards are made annually to be given to a deserving organization of the awardees choice.

The following Grants were approved for Legacy’s Spring 2021 Grant Cycle:

Challenge Workforce Solutions:
Funding supported the development of a Transitional College Support Program for individuals with disabilities in collaboration with Tompkins Cortland Community College. Initial participants in this program will be area high school students who are currently enrolled in our community-based prevocational services. The program will focus on three components: integration to college life, classroom instruction, and work-study peer mentorship.

Child Development Council:
Basic needs are essential to well-being and forward movement for all individuals. Helping families meet those needs, by offering safety gear for young children, plus other basic needs items such as diapers and infant formula, can provide a sense of stability and keep children comfortable, safe, and healthy. The Basic Needs Program provides safety gear such as pack and plays, car seats, and strollers, diapers, and infant formula. The funding received helped to assure that children's health and nutrition needs are not compromised because of financial barriers.

Cornell Cooperative Extension:
The 4-H Urban Outreach Program provides free after-school and summer programs for under-served and minority youths ages 5-18 living in affordable housing in the Northside and West Village Apartments. Funding helped to provide a safe place for youth to enjoy meals with their peers, receive literacy support, play, exercise, make art and receive academic enrichment.

Family Reading Partnership:
Funding supported The Books to Grow On program which provides brand-new, high-quality books to all children in Tompkins County from before birth through kindergarten. Family Reading Partnership works with every medical provider that sees pediatric patients for well-child visits, as well as every elementary school, to gift a book at eleven different points in early childhood. Research shows that when literacy is connected to healthy physical development, parents are more likely to integrate reading aloud into their routine. Our medical partners report that an average snapshot of their patient load shows 35 percent of the families they serve are living below the poverty line.

Foodnet Meals on Wheels:
Drivers travel thousands of miles each month across nine meal delivery routes to reach some of the most vulnerable older adults living in Tompkins County. Funding supported the purchase of a compact cargo meal delivery van to replace an inefficient full-size delivery van that has reached far beyond its life expectancy.

Groton Recreation:
Funding from the Legacy Foundation helped to offset costs associated with its COVID-19 response. Funds covered additional cleaning and safety protocols, technology purchases, and necessary facility improvements all pertaining to Covid-19 guidelines.

Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services:
Funding supported INHS’ Minor Repair Program which helps low-income aging, disabled, and/or single head of household homeowners to maintain their homes, age in place, and continue living independently. The program provides repairs that improve the health, safety, and accessibility of their home environments. Typical projects include repairing deteriorated entryway steps; constructing wheelchair ramps; installing railings, grab bars, and accessible showers; correcting trip hazards; installing smoke/CO detectors; and making minor carpentry, plumbing, and electrical repairs.

Ithaca Health Alliance:
The grant supported the purchase of two new laptops that will enable clinic staff to provide critical health care services in remote and virtual environments. This technology has become critical in serving people during the Covid-19 pandemic. The new laptops will have webcams, speakers and microphones and enough RAM to adequately support virtual communication activities.

Paleontological Research Institute:
The Cayuga Nature Center, one of the public outreach venues for PRI, operates one of the longest running summer camps in the Tompkins County area. Funding supported the necessary Covid-19 safety protocols to operate summer camp. Camp is critical to our community as it not only establishes a healthy connection with nature for our campers, which is paramount to the development of young minds, but also provides families with much needed childcare during the summer months.

PhotoSynthesis Productions/Dorothy Cotton Institute:
Dorothy Foreman Cotton was a bold, highly effective, and important civil rights leader who lived the last years of her life in Ithaca. Throughout her long life she organized, she spoke out, she challenged the status quo, and she sang powerful freedom songs. Most importantly, she educated, and moved thousands of people to non-violent direct action for liberation from American-style apartheid in the Jim Crow south. She was the only woman on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Executive Staff, yet her contributions have largely gone unrecognized. Funding from Legacy helped to support the new feature film MOVE WHEN THE SPIRIT SAYS MOVE which will honor Dr. Cotton and build on her life’s work of creating the nation of freedom and democracy we are struggling to become.

Since reopening in July 2020, families have come to the Sciencenter as a safe indoor space during the pandemic. But more than 50% of our exhibits have remained closed. As we look toward fully reopening, these exhibits will require some maintenance to get them ready for visitors again, while some of our highest touch areas (like the Curiosity Corner) will need some upgrades to make them easier to disinfect - even when the pandemic is behind us. Funding from the Legacy Foundation supported these changes and upgrades for full and safe reopening of the complete hands-on Sciencenter experience.

Suicide Prevention & Crisis Services of Tompkins County:
For most of the COVID-19 pandemic, our only safeguard against infection has been to practice "social distancing," an effective but isolating method. For many people, isolation comes with its own risks for depression and anxiety. Funding from Legacy supported a series of workshops to Tompkins County community organizations and the public on effective ways to safely support people in emotional distress or at risk of suicide. Workshops included trainings on listening, screening, and intervention for suicide, which can be offered either virtually or face-to-face.

The United Way of Tompkins County:
Funding supported The United Way/2-1-1 COVID-19 Response Program, a direct services resource for members of our community experiencing financial hardship during Covid-19. The goal of the program is to help households avoid homelessness or lack of basic living conditions. Individuals call 2-1-1 and the operator will explore all possible resources available throughout the county. If those programs cannot help, and the household lives below the county's "sustainable budget" level, they receive funding of up to $500 paid directly to vendors who provide basic living conditions or help them stay in work and school.

YMCA of Ithaca and Tompkins County
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the severity of the food insecurity crisis for the most vulnerable populations in Tompkins County. Thus, the Y has pivoted to make food equity a priority in its cause area of social responsibility. Funding supported the addition of a farm stand to its Graham Road location, creating a dedicated space for food distribution to those in need across the community. The YMCA Neighborhood Food Hub Farm Stand will operate multiple days per week and will aim to offer hours that are convenient for working families.

Unity House of Cayuga County:
Funding from Legacy supported the purchase of laptops to help transition needed habilitation services for people with disabilities to virtual opportunities. Laptops will also allow staff to continue to support program participants remotely.

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