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Philanthropy Magnified

April 2014 






A Message from Our Director

George Ferrari



George Ferrari


As of May 2 we will be open in a new office located at 200 E. Buffalo Street, Suite 202. More space for grant review panels, better reception for visitors, a fully accessible building with 10 minute drop-off/pick -up parking spaces at our front door plus more private spaces for confidential meetings with donors and grantees, we are excited! We also welcome Myles Gideon as our new Administrative Assistant.


Spring is a busy time of year for us in terms of our work with private foundations. We are in the middle of the Howland Foundation review process. We hope that you can join us on the evening of June 9 for a wonderful program of announcing those grant awards, details to follow. 


This year for the first time we also have partnered with the Hope Foundation for their first ever Excellence Through Equity grants. 


The Hope Foundation has created the Excellence Through Equity Award Recognition Awards to recognize and support educational equity initiatives, and honor the dedication of those working on excellence through equity, and the Excellence Through Equity Innovative Action Award to serve as a catalyst to create new and innovative models for partnership, action, and impact around educational equity initiatives, models that work here and may be replicable in other communities.


The Innovative Action Award of $8,000 is granted to Beverly J. Martin Elementary School of the Ithaca City School District for a group of its students and teachers to participate in this year's National Math Foundation Summer Institute at Ithaca College.


Recognition Awards of $1,000 each are granted to:

Groton Public Library

School Success Transportation Coalition

GIAC (Greater Ithaca Activities Center)


All awards will be presented at a very special program on April 29.


CLICK HERE to get more information about this event and to register.


Major support for these grants comes from the Hope Foundation with the grants review process administered by the Community Foundation. Additional support for these grants come from the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Community Foundation's Social Justice field of interest fund.


As always keep connected by visiting our website at


Philanthropy Magnified every day. 


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Adoption Success at the SPCA Annex 




Have you been drawn in by cute kittens to the SPCA Annex at the Shops at Ithaca Mall on a recent visit?  You're not alone.  474 of the 1080 adopted cats and kittens in 2013, were adopted from the Annex.  The Annex opened in 2009 as a stopgap measure to help reduce overcrowding at the shelter's adoption center on Hanshaw Road.  


A $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation's Howland Grant Cycle in 2013 supported the continued operation of the Annex.  The Community Foundation administers the Helen Thomas Howland Foundation grant cycle every year in the spring.  Assets are held at M & T Bank and are granted to non-profit organizations carrying out programming that serve youth, the aging, animal welfare and the environment.  


The Annex is now an integral part of saving the lives of cats and kittens in Tompkins County.   The Annex has resulted in a reduced average length of stay per cat, a reduction in the shelter's average daily cat population, improvement in feline health, and increased adoptions.  Doing a little shopping?  Don't forget to check out the kittens!  


Nonprofits Shift Focus From Chasing New Donors to Building Loyalty
Debra Blum
Chronicle of Philanthropy
April 7, 2014

Attracting new donors often gets all the attention in the nonprofit world, but an increasing number of organizations have begun taking aggressive steps to do all they can to make sure donors keep giving after the first time.


"Smarter organizations are finally looking at their files and asking, How do we keep people loyal? How do we reduce churn?" says Adrian Sargeant, a visiting professor at Indiana University who studies fundraising.

Charities are doing more to shower attention on first-time and small donors.


They often customize thank-you notes and calls, and extend a more-thoughtful welcome to new donors. Many groups are now looking at donor loyalty through a customer-service lens, aiming to give supporters a personal touch, more information about how their gift dollars are spent, and more opportunities to get involved. Also gaining steam are efforts to increase the number of donors who sign up as so-called sustainers-those who give regularly, usually monthly in small amounts that are paid automatically through credit-card or bank accounts.

Such efforts are needed, charities say, because the bad economy and slow recovery have shown that it was a mistake to simply rely on big donors or new supporters; getting repeat gifts also matters for the long-term bottom line.


A report last fall from the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Urban Institute underscored the need for tactics aimed at building loyalty.

In 2012, organizations reported that fewer than 39 percent of their donors who had given the year before supported them again, a retention rate much lower than in 2005, when more than 46 percent of all donors gave again the following year to organizations.


Statistics collected by Target Analytics, a division of the fundraising technology and consulting company Blackbaud, show that the share of first-time donors who gave a follow-up donation declined from a median of more than 34 percent in 2003 to 27 percent 10 years later.


"The rates are dismal," says Chuck Longfield, chief scientist at Blackbaud, "but whether the rates are in the mid-30s or mid-20s, it just doesn't make any sense to spend so much time and energy on acquiring new donors and then hardly any on keeping them."


Costly Turnover

Not retaining donors is costing charities money, Mr. Longfield and other experts say. Nonprofits are missing what's known as the lifetime value of a donor who gives, sometimes in ever-higher amounts, year after year. Annual revenues are taking a hit, too.


According to the fall report from the fundraisers organization, for every $100 charities raised in 2012, they lost $96 from donors who gave less or stopped giving altogether. At the same time, the overall number of donors declined. For every 100 donors charities gained in 2012, they lost 105 through attrition.


Reasons for the retention challenge abound. Because the number of charities has increased, competition for contributions is greater, experts say, and younger donors are less loyal to organizations than their elders were. But some nonprofits are bucking the trends. Click on the links below to see the techniques they've used successfully.


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.


In This Issue
Kittens at the Mall
Donor Loyalty
What is a Community Foundation?
2014 Programs
You Are Invited!
Board Member of the Month
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 


Money Personality Types

Leslie Strebel, Strebel Planning Group 

Tuesday, April 22


Noon for professional advisors 

Tioga Place, 6th Floor



5pm for donors

Kendal at Ithaca

2230 N. Triphammer Road





 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


Monday, September 15

Kids Discover the Trail

with KDT panel discussion

4pm 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


Annual Celebration
Here's to the next 100 Years:  Shared Knowledge and Civic Engagement in Community Foundations

Wednesday, May 21


held at CSMA

Community School of  Music & Arts

330 Martin Luther King Jr./E. State Street

Join Us!

Board Member 
of the Month

Sandy Dhimitri

Sandy is the Director of Human Resources for the College of Human Ecology and the University Libraries at Cornell. Previous to coming to Cornell she has worked as a human resources professional in high volume manufacturing companies in high tech, medical manufacturing and a running shoe company. Sandy has been an active volunteer in our community, the Lansing school district, her church, the Lansing Youth Mission program, and currently serves on the Friends of the Lansing Library and the board of Hospicare and Palliative Care Services of Tompkins County.

Sandy is excited to be joining the board of Community Foundation and hopes to be assist the Foundation in its efforts to raise the quality of life for county residents through philanthropy
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


Administrative Assistant

Myles Gideon

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