In thinking about the Legacy Foundation and its role in Tompkins County, I’m drawn to the very successful advertising program of Intel Corporation – “Intel Inside.” This clever and effective marketing approach let the world’s computer users know that regardless of who manufactures your computer, Intel chips are most likely powering operations.

Since 1945, Legacy Foundation (and its predecessor organizations) has played an important role supporting the delivery of valuable services in Tompkins County. In small and large ways, and with public announcements as well as quietly behind the scenes- Legacy Foundation has helped power our community’s diverse and expanding quality of life.

The organizing goals established by the founders continue to motivate and frame the current all volunteer board’s work. Thanks, in part, to the board’s generous contributions – Legacy Foundation operates efficiently on a very small administrative budget. The board places a high priority on cost–effective operations. In maintaining this core value from our founders, we believe value is being added to all gifts that are received and reinvested across the community.

Beyond our board, we have had two talented part-time staff members. With appreciation and a small level of regret, I must acknowledge the retirement of Scott Russell. Scott has served the community and Legacy Foundation with caring, competence and dignity for the past twenty years. He will be missed.

I am happy to report that Legacy Foundation’s engagement and investments in the quality of life locally increased last year. Grants and awards grew by 4.3% from 2012 to $163,169. For this, we thank the community members who made the choice to support our community through the Legacy Foundation. Over the foundation’s two annual grant cycles, the board continued its longstanding role of responding to local needs and opportunities.

A new partnership with my employer, United Way of Tompkins County, was formed this year. Legacy Foundation’s grant cycles are now managed on United Way’s online data management system. This development is increasing the foundations efficiency and effectiveness. As United Way has been a part of the foundation since it beginning, this new relationship is extremely rewarding and speaks to the powers of community and collaboration.

To our supporters, I again offer thanks on behalf of the foundation. To the service providers who daily help build a stronger community, thank you. Legacy Foundation will continue to be a part of the positive threads running through our neighborhoods and region. My continuing thanks are extended to my fellow directors for their service and support. I encourage all to consider including Legacy Foundation in your annual charitable giving and personal estate planning.

I will conclude this letter by recapping a very special event that occurred at the beginning of my term as foundation president. In May, Tompkins Financial made a generous gift to the foundation’s Award for Excellence program. This gift was made in honor of retiring Tompkins Financial Chairman, James J. Byrnes. Along with distinguished voluntary service with numerous community organizations, Jim served on the foundation’s board and is a strong advocate of the Awards for Excellence. It is fitting that going forward this important vehicle for recognizing community service will be named the James J. Byrnes Awards for Excellence.

Click here to view the Official Newsletter of the Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County

1. COMPASS II: 2.00: Survey data of residents in Tompkins County done by the United Way of Tompkins County and the Human Services Coalition of Tompkins County.

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