Students present over $25,000 in United Way grants to local nonprofits

By Sarah Mearhoff | Ithaca Journal | December 7, 2017

Students in United Way of Tompkins County's Youth and Philanthropy program awarded grants totaling to $25,000 to 10 local nonprofits Thursday.

The program taught 20 Tompkins County students about leadership, philanthropy, nonprofits and budgeting. United Way then entrusted these 20 students to allocate a pot of $25,000 in grants among nonprofits who had applied for grant money.

UWTC Community Impact Assistant Regan Ralston said not only do the students learn from the program, but the community benefits from having fresh eyes look over these grant proposals.

"The students have such a fresh perspective, and they fund things maybe other people wouldn't because of politics or just the community or internal biases," Ralston said. "But with students, you really clear out all of that."

UWTC President James Brown struck a similar note in his opening remarks at Thursday's ceremony, saying the program has "changed our United Way."

"It has made, I think, our United Way a better organization, and it has allowed us to see the community from a perspective we had missed for many years," Brown said.

Not only has the program benefited the community, but also the students, Ralston said.

"I like to think that philanthropy and charity and giving and just having an open table discussion, having a voice in your community, is something you can learn in school," Ralston said. "But I think learning it outside is also a way you can access parts of your community you wouldn't otherwise."

The nonprofits awarded grants were:

  • Advocacy Center of Tompkins County: $1,700
  • Catholic Charities of Tompkins/Tioga Counties: $5,000
  • Challenge Industries Inc.: $1,935
  • Finger Lakes Toy Library Inc.: $1,000
  • Foodnet Meals on Wheels: $3,200
  • Golden Opportunity: $1,165
  • Ithaca Health Alliance: $3,000
  • Loaves and Fishes of Tompkins County Inc.: $3,000
  • The Discovery Trail: $2,000
  • Tompkins County Workers Center Inc.: $3,000

This article originally appeared on the Ithaca Journal website in December. You can access the original article here