Apply for a Grant

Make a
Gift

News, Events & Publications

Home     Grantees   Legacy Society   Contact Us
Our History

In 1945, five public-spirited businessmen, Paul Brainard, William Burns, Sherman Peer, George Rogalsky, and Gerald Williams dreamt of a way to provide for the betterment of the community that they had grown to love. Their goal was to “…receive and accept private gifts and to create therefrom an enduring fund designed to encourage and support character, health, building, educational, recreational and welfare activities in the larger Ithaca community.” The Ithaca Foundation was born on October 13, 1945, with 4 gifts totaling $22,600.  By 1952 the young foundation was already making gifts to support critical needs in the community, with the first grants going to the Tompkins County Legal Aid Society and the Practical Nurses Association Student Fund. In 1961 the foundation was renamed The Tompkins County Foundation, to officially recognize the foundation’s dedication to serving all of Tompkins County.

Support continued to pour in and by 1964 the fund had assets of over $100,000. Many of the gifts came from community members whose deep love for Tompkins County inspired them to leave planned gifts to the foundation in their estate plans. By 1990 the fund was almost $1 million. In 2007 the foundation was renamed Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County.

Because of the generosity of the community and well-managed investments, the endowment is currently over $3.5 million. This allows the foundation board to award grants totaling over $200,000 to worthy Tompkins County organizations each year, making our community a better place for us all.

Past Presidents

Sherman Peer: 12/1945 - 10/1953 - 8 years
Paul Brainard: 10/1953 - 01/1955 - 1 year
Lewis Durland: 01/1955 - 01/1962 - 7 years
Charles Treman, Jr.: 01/1962 - 04/1966 - 4 years
T. B. Maxfield: 04/1966 - 03/1967 - 1 year
V. A. Fogg: 03/1967 - 06/1977 - 10 years
W. R. Farnsworth: 06/1977 - 06/1980 - 3 years
Anthony DiGiacomo: 06/1980 - 05/1992 - 12 years
James Morley: 05/1992 - 05/1995 - 3 years
Fred Martin: 05/1995 - 04/1997 - 2 years
Bonnie Howell: 04/1997 - 05/2000 - 3 years
Larry Baum: 05/2000 - 05/2003 - 3 years
Arthur Pearce: 05/2003 - 05/2006 - 3 years
Patricia Johnson: 05/2006 - 04/2009 - 3 years
Greg Hartz: 05/2009 – 05/2014 - 5 years
James Brown: 05/2014 - 05/2018 - 4 years
Greg Hartz: 05/2018 - 05/2021 - 3 years
Mary G. Opperman: 5/2021 - 

History
Our Board
President's Report
  Grantees
Legacy Society
Contact Us
  Apply for a Grant
Make a Gift
News, Events & Publications