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Philanthropy Magnified

May 2014 






A Message from Our CEO

George Ferrari



George Ferrari


On May 21 we celebrated our 13th annual meeting. Thanks to so many generous individuals your Community Foundation continues to grow and to serve donors, non-profits, professional advisors and other funders. Our theme for this year is Learning to Give, Giving to Learn reflecting our commitment to philanthropy education. 


Your Community Foundation connects with people to learn, to teach, and to serve. We do so much more than merely give money away. We are about the impacts and the differences made that we are able to accomplish together. Our mission statement, values and grant making philosophy articulate our commitment to discovery and learning. Our focus on relationships and service takes that learning and offers it to all in the dynamic and unique process of philanthropy education. 


Take a look at our recently released 2013 Annual Report.



As always keep connected by visiting our website at


Philanthropy Magnified every day. 


COF Standards logo

Howland Foundation Awards




What?  You've never attended a Community Foundation Grant Award Ceremony before?  Well, you're in luck!  Our next award ceremony is June 9th at 6:15 at the Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC).  These events celebrate our local nonprofits and the outstanding work they are doing in the areas of youth, aging, animal welfare and the environment.  Join the celebration and learn about the over 30 amazing organizations to be awarded more than $54,000 of Howland Foundation grants and the more than $28,000 of additional grants from Community Foundation donor advised funds. Investments to these organizations are the result of recommendations made by a diverse community review team.  Marcia Fort will share about the impact of a past Howland grant and you will hear plans for grants currently awarded.  Come join us and bring a friend!     




Under Investing in Fundraising: The Myth of the One Person Development Shop

Armando Zumava
Funding Compass
May 13, 2014


That title sounds pretty wonky, but it's one of the most crippling and common afflictions that hampers the non-profit world. Now there are many variants of the "One Person Development Shop". Some organizations are well served by a single development officer for a range of reasons. Some have stable and long term donors who only need maintenance. What I am focusing on is the institution with growing financial needs and one development officer that supposedly does all aspects of development.

Few CEO's or Board Members think their organizations have grown enough and it's time to plateau fundraising. If you want more impact, you will invariably need more money. If you want more money you have to ask honestly "are we staffed effectively to fundraise?"
Don't ask your Development Director. Is that an odd thing to say? Not really, because depending on your relationship they are going to tell you they can do it all.
Many of us will try hard and don't want to seem incapable; we don't want to say "no". If you add Major Gifts and Planned Giving to their list of job tasks they won't complain, but quietly look for another job because they already organize and drive the annual fund, website, gala, corporate relationships, donor records, foundation proposals etc.

The problem here is that too many nonprofit leaders including Board Members, well intentioned as they are, may not understand development work, the skills sets needed and how long it takes for many of these strategies to come into fruition and raise money. The classic notion that fundraisers have a magic rolodex of rich people who they can call on is still prevalent. If you hear this from some of your organization's leadership, it's an indication that this person may not understand your job. Obviously, Board education and training is part of the solution here. Fundraising often is an uncomfortable and undesirable task to too many nonprofit leaders outside of development officers. It's avoided, at the bottom of the agenda.

The quiet ongoing crisis I see is that the solo Development Director is often a young person who tries to break into our profession and then burns out. We are losing great talents, future leaders every year, because they are simply asked to do too much, with too little support or training.

The solution is bold and clear: the board and additional nonprofit leaders need to honor fundraising and fundraisers. It's not just about education. Our people are heroines and heroes. Treat your fundraisers like they are the engines of your institution. Fine tune them, give them all the support they need and help them set up metrics for progress.

Small teams of fundraisers can replace the solo development director even for small institutions. The smallest team I suggest is a three-person team supported by a prospect researcher. Consider a combination of Individual, Corporate, and Foundation fundraisers, supported by administrative help and a full-time, part-time or freelancer providing research support. Of course every situation is different but this type of small nimble team, well led, can transform your institution and far out raise their salaries early on.

Prospect Research is essential to small nonprofits - lead generation to use the business/sales parlance. Yet it's the least understood. It's also rare to find prospect research in some capacity at small to even medium-size nonprofits. It's considered a big-institution luxury. If you have a small team, who they spend their time on is crucial. The outside world also sometimes sees research as the dirtiest secret of fundraising, when it's not dirty or a secret. It's just smart fundraising.

If you can truly only afford one Development Director, make their work clear and feasible. Work out the actual hours it takes weekly, monthly to do each component of their work. Be wary of adding to their list of job duties without asking where these new hours will come from?
Take a look at successful development shops and ask: how are they staffed? Ask other development officers who don't get a paycheck from you for their opinion of your staffing and set-up.

When you hear the refrain that we can't afford more fundraisers, does the same apply to the programming-side of the house? While few ED's and CEO's come from the fundraising side of the house, they may be more familiar with the programming priorities of a nonprofit. So programming needs are more commonly acted upon. I generalize here, but I have seen this all my career: a lack of money to grow fundraising, while spending and staffing in programming continues on.

So, if you do decide to hire more development staff, set realistic expectations based on the time it takes to build relationships amongst their donor populations.

Finally, as a board member, CEO or ED, get down with us in the weeds and understand the fundraising process. Everyone can fundraise in their own way; everyone can grab an oar and push the boat forward. Real fundraising by non-development staff and lay people often involves making a key introduction, hosting a dinner, getting your institution in the media and many other things that don't involve asking for money. If you empower and support all your fundraisers, your institutions will grow beyond what you could imagine.

In This Issue
Howland Foundation Awards
Under Investing In Fundraising
What is a Community Foundation?
2014 Summer Events
New Office Open House Celebration
Donor 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, Chief Executive Officer  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 Summer Events


Howland Awards Ceremony

 Monday, June 9




GIAC (Greater Ithaca Activities Center)



New Office Open House

Thursday, July 10






 Philanthropy Learning Exchange Calendar 

 a series of gatherings to learn more 

about local giving and gift planning



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


New Office Open House Celebration
Here's to the next 100 Years:  Shared Knowledge and Civic Engagement in Community Foundations

Thursday, July 10

TC Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting at 12pm


Tours, festivities and light refreshments from 12-2pm

Drop by, bring friends, have fun!

Registration appreciated but not necessary 

Join Us!

of the Month

Bill Maxwell
Giving Back

William "Max" Maxwell gives back to the community by combining his love of swimming with his desire to help others by volunteering as a lifeguard and supervisor at Greater Ithaca Activities Center's Alex Haley Municipal Pool on Buffalo Street.  The Community Foundation's Alex Haley Pool Fund provides funding directly benefiting downtown children and families by providing support for pool staff training.  Join Max and others in supporting local resources that benefit our communities!  Anyone may make a gift to the Alex Haley Pool Fund.  
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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