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Philanthropy Magnified

March 2014 






A Message from Our Director

George Ferrari



George Ferrari


Your Community Foundation continues to grow to serve you and Tompkins County better and better every day. Late last year we received a generous gift through our Legacy Society from a donor who passed away and listed us as the beneficiary for the majority of her retirement assets. I am happy to share with you that her generosity will enable us to make major expansions to serve even more prospective donors, current donors, professional advisors and nonprofits. 


Many people never realized that both our Program Officer and our Donor Services Officer were part time positions. That is a testament to how well Janet Cotraccia and Amy LeViere provided professional services for our grant cycles and our work with donors. Just last month we increased these two positions to full time to meet growing demand. 


We also will be hiring our first ever full time Administrative Assistant. And lastly the gift enables us to hire a full time Chief Development Officer who will be tasked with asset development for increasing our pools of grant making dollars as well as for operations in addition to growth in donations to all types of funds: donor advised funds, field of interest funds and designated. 


The decision to expand staff was not reached without critical self examination. Our board of directors made this decision after considerable serious review. Increasing staff will enable us to anticipate, prepare and capitalize on the challenges and opportunities ahead, which we could not do at our current staffing levels. We also researched community foundation life cycles and determined that this expansion fits a typical pattern of growth in other community foundations given our age and asset level. 


With deep appreciation we launch into 2014 with renewed vigor, expanded capacity, and excitement to serve our community.



As always keep connected by visiting our website at


Philanthropy Magnified every day. 


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Food Bank of the Southern Tier - Creating a Future Without Hunger
Lyndsey, Gina and Kathleen are just some of the many faces at this very special place.


The Community Foundation's Vector Magnetics Fund has made an unrestricted grant of $25,000 to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier.  Unrestricted grants are one of the most effective ways to build nonprofit capacity and sustainability.  These grants allow organizations to maintain core programs and infrastructure as well as to enhance flexibility to adapt, innovate and take advantage of opportunities.  The Food Bank of the Southern Tier builds access to healthy food and alleviates hunger in our community.   They do this through programs such as the BackPack Program which provides children who are at risk of hunger with a bag of nutritious food each Friday helping children return to school on Monday ready to learn. Their Mobile Food Pantry is a converted beverage truck used to deliver fresh produce, dairy products, and other food and grocery products directly to distribution sites serving an average of 200 to 250 families at each site with nutritious food.  The Community Foundation is proud to support the sustainability of the Food Bank which is committed to creating a future without hunger, where access to healthy food by all is recognized as fundamental to the well-being and success of individuals and the foundation of a strong, vibrant community.  



  10th Annual 
Women's Fund Luncheon
Kathleen Loehr gave the keynote address; Women Donors:  Philanthropy's Untapped Resource on March 11, 2014 at the Emerson Suites, Ithaca College.  Schelley Michell-Nunn received the 2014 Laura Holmberg award.  The Women's Fund hit a major milestone of $200,000 in the Women's Fund Endowment.  As well, as the Women's Fund Grant Cycle distributing more than $22,000 to 12 programs affecting the lives of women in our community.  
For more information click here


Investing in Fundraisers Who Cultivate Wealthy Donors Pays Off, Studies Find
Holly Hall
Chronicle of Philanthropy


Nonprofits that spend a lot of money to hire staff members who seek large gifts and tend to loyal supporters fare far better in fundraising than other institutions of similar size, according to two studies commissioned by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy.


Among the 335 hospitals and medical centers surveyed for the larger study, a subset of 45 kept detailed benchmarking data on their fundraising revenue and expenses from 2007 through 2012. Of those 45, the association identified 12 that raised an average of $10.8-million, even amid the worst years of the recession, 2008 and 2009. Those dozen organizations, which raised more than four times as much as the other 33 hospitals and medical centers, spent an average of $907,000 on salaries and other fundraising expenses. The remaining 33 organizations spent much less, an average of $291,000, on fundraising.


The best-performing institutions devoted a good chunk of that money to hiring fundraisers to focus on attracting big donations, bequests, and other planned gifts: 15 staff members, on average, compared with six among the poorer performers. And the fundraisers at the best-performing organizations had staff members who assisted them in keeping in touch with donors and other administrative tasks: 13, on average, compared with five among the other institutions.


Institutions that did well in reducing fundraiser turnover also fared better. Hospitals with fundraisers who spent a median of five to six years on the job raised far more than institutions whose fundraisers were newer.


Not only were they able to raise more money but they also managed to avoid losing as many donors as other institutions did during hard times. That allowed the hospitals to avoid layoffs and other cost-cutting measures that were common at many hospitals in the recession.


Individual Attention Was Key


Hospitals that spent the most on fundraising were able to conduct more face-to-face visits with donors while paying careful attention to stewardship: thanking supporters and letting them know how their money was used.

"Stewardship is a leading priority," the researchers wrote. "This is commonly the area where many organizations drop the ball due to staff shortages and a one-dimensional focus on securing larger gifts."


Many executives and board members do all they can to cut the cost of raising a dollar in hard times, but the research findings show that approach is misguided, said Bill McGinly, the president of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy.


With seven or more full-time fundraisers meeting with donors and taking other steps to bind donors to the organization, he said, the 12 highest-performing hospitals and medical centers achieved median returns on each dollar spent that were up to six times higher than the more than 300 other hospitals and medical centers surveyed by the association that spent a lot less on fundraising.


But "it's a big cultural shift" to get executives and trustees who oversee fundraising to understand that, Mr. McGinly said, though he hopes the new data will help convince leaders of hospitals, medical centers, and other nonprofits to grasp the benefits of spending more on fundraising, particularly on efforts to seek large gifts.

"Gone are the days of heavy investment in annual funds and special events as the cornerstones of development operations," the researchers wrote. "More sophisticated organizations rely on a mix of programs with heavy investment in major gifts and grants raised through individuals, their estates, government funding, and corporation/foundation grants."


Free copies of both studies, "Characteristics for Sustaining High Performance" and"Optimal Investment Levels in Health Care Fundraising for Chief Development Officers," are available for download. The studies are free to the association's members and anyone else who creates an account on the organization's website.



In This Issue
Creating a Future Without Hunger
10th Annual Women's Fund Luncheon
Cultivating Wealthy Donors
What is a Community Foundation?
2014 Programs
Thank You Donors
Community Foundation Leadership
Who We Are

 community foundations

 Community foundations are not-for-profit organizations founded and staffed by people who are dedicated to seeking out what is needed in our community and what is valuable about Tompkins County and to helping those valuable assets grow important results. We understand our community's needs and help you to turn your charitable passions into results oriented philanthropy. We show donors how to make your gifts go further and accomplish more. 


Contact George Ferrari, Community Foundation of Tompkins County, Executive Director  or call 607-272-9333 if you would like to explore ways for the Community Foundation to assist you in making your philanthropic dreams a reality for Tompkins County.


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2014 Philanthropy Learning Exchange #2 


Money Personality Types

Leslie Strebel, Strebel Planning Group 

Tuesday, April 22

noon for professional advisors 

5pm for donors

Tioga Place, 6th Floor

118 N. Tioga Street




 Philanthropy Learning Exchange Calendar 

 a series of gatherings to learn more 

about local giving and gift planning


Tuesday, April 22

Money Personality Types 

with Leslie Strebel of the Stebel Planning Group

12 noon for professional advisors

5pm for donors


Tuesday, July 22

Using Retirement Assets for Gift Planning  

with staff from 

Cornell University's Office of Gift Planning 

12 noon for professional advisors

5pm for donors


Tuesday, October 21

Financial Counseling 

5 Years Pre and 5 Years Post Retirement 

with Rick Prybyl of Morgan Stanley

12 noon for professional advisors

5pm for donors




Howland Foundation Grant Cycle

administered by the Community Foundation


Application deadline:  Thursday, March 27th.  

For information regarding grant opportunities, please visit us online at 


Donors Give Generously
Donors to the Women's Fund respond generously, once again.  At the 10th Annual Women's Fund luncheon, Risa Mish, challenged donors to give with their head (intellectually) and with their heart (emotionally).  As a 2014 Beverly Baker Society member, Risa led the way in support of women in our communities.  Her gift is in honor of her colleagues; Lynne Swisher Conway, Sheila Reakes and Marybeth Tarzian, reminding us of the multi-layered connections of women in our lives.    
Meet the Board

Board Chair

Robin Masson 


Vice Board Chair

Alan Mathios 



Mary Berens



Diane McDonough 



Richard Banks 
Susan Brown
Tom Colbert
Paula Davis
Sandra Dhimitri

Randy Ehrenberg

Ross Feldman

Marcie Finlay

Bob Jewell

Sara Knobel

Tim Little

Phil McPheron

Bill Murphy

Nancy Potter

David Squires  

Carol Travis

Lucia Tyler

Linda Wagenet

Julie Waters

Baruch Whitehead

Stephanie Wiles


Incorporating Board

Jeff Furman

Howard Hartnett

Bill Myers   

Robert Swieringa  

John Semmler

Diane Shafer





Chief Executive Officer

George Ferrari, Jr.


Program Officer

Janet Cotraccia


Donor Services Officer

Amy LeViere

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