Sustainable Tompkins is a community-based organization whose mission is to promote the long-term well-being of our region by integrating social equity, economic vitality, ecological stewardship, and shared responsibility.

What We Do

Since 2004, Sustainable Tompkins has been a leader in laying the groundwork for the transition to a resilient local economy, healthy environment, and strong social fabric.   We act as convener, connector, and catalyst to engage both the grassroots and policymakers in the work of redesigning how we work and live so that our community can successfully cope with global influences such as climate disruption and energy transitions.

Sustainable Tompkins hopes to provide the hub and spokes for a community sustainability movement that protects the long-term well-being of our region.  We advocate a systems approach to build the infrastructure and social capacity for more sustainable ways of living and working.  Projects and programs have focused on energy efficiency, climate protection, green purchasing, sustainable community development, green collar jobs, sustainable enterprise, greening heath care, and economic/ecological justice.  We are a nonprofit corporation, and Social Ventures, Inc. is acting as our 501(c)3 fiscal agent until our application for charity status is approved.

Our Strategy

Our strategy is four-way: top-down and bottom-up engagement combined with sustainable living education and infrastructure building.  We know from the social change literature that the most effective change comes when both decision makers and the grassroots are fully engaged.  And once people are interested, it is important to provide both the educational venues and the infrastructure for making change.

Connect/Convene/Catalyze

Our work can be divided into three categories: connector, convener, and catalyst.

We have helped people connect through our e-listserv, website, Tompkins Sustainability Map, Signs of Sustainability series, Cayuga Sustainability Council, Cayuga Local Investing Opportunity Network, and annual gatherings and celebrations.

We have convened a wide variety of professional and general public audiences in our study circles and master classes, workshops on green business and sustainable design, and regional conferences on sustainable technology, healthy infrastructure and green hospitals, green collar careers, energy and climate.

Sustainable Tompkins has acted as a catalyst and spun off several ongoing initiatives in the community….

•Teachers for a Sustainable Future
• Finger Lakes Buy Green
• Green Resource Hub of the Finger Lakes

Our current programs are also catalyzing change by helping individuals, families, and neighborhood groups take action…

• Neighborhood Mini-Grants Program
• Signs of Sustainability
• Tompkins Sustainability Map
• Finger Lakes Energy Challenge
Finger Lakes Climate Fund
 Climate Smart & Climate Ready

Funding Sources

The programs and partnerships of Sustainable Tompkins would not be possible without the generous support of our local sponsors.  Since our start in 2004, the Park Foundation has helped us grow in service to the local sustainability movement and we are honored to have their ongoing support.  We are also grateful for the financial and in-kind support of Ithaca College, Cornell University, numerous local businesses, and dozens of community members.  Thanks to all of you, Sustainable Tompkins has been able to catalyze a real shift in our community towards a more sustainable future.

In addition, significant achievements have been accomplished through volunteer contributions of skills and expertise in various aspects of education, communication, and facilitated community dialogue on the topic of sustainability. As a result, more and more citizens and business people in our community are becoming familiar with the changes necessary to becoming a sustainable society.