Ithaca Alternative Gift Fair – December 4

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Tompkins Weekly – November 23, 2010
By Christian Nielsen
Once more, it’s time for the Ithaca Alternative Gift Fair. Readers may remember articles in past years encouraging all of us to abstain from the shopping frenzy that follows Thanksgiving, and focus instead on non-materialistic options to celebrate the holidays. Rather than buying more “stuff” few of us truly need, the manufacture of which contributes to the depletion of natural resources and climate change, we can support 62 local non-profit organizations that help others. Below are some quotes from participants at the Fair that I though might convey why it’s such a worthwhile and FUN event:

“Each year, as a result of our participation in the IAGF, more people know of our existence. The Fair has raised our profile in the community. What’s more, Fair day is fun and congenial, providing us with a rare opportunity to network with other local not-for-profits. It’s a great way to personally connect and share information with new and present donors. The preparation for the Fair is also an important time for us as an organization–it forces us to pause and reflect on what is really needed as we decide on what gifts to offer. We love it and feel honored to be able to participate.” (JG)

“This will be our third year participating in the IAGF. We look forward to the chance to meet our neighbors, talk about the work we do, and provide meaningful gifts. Raising needed funds is important but so is the chance to explain our work to the Ithaca community. We thank all of those who work so hard to put it together. And our clients welcome the opportunity to participate in the fair.” (DD)

“Like many organizations, we find that our funding is being cut at the same time that the need for our services is increasing. The IAGF is a way to reach out to the public directly, to ask for their help. It offers hope that we can weather this current storm and reduce our budget gap.” (PB)

“The AGF is so popular with our community that when we missed last year’s deadline we created our own “alternative gift” to satisfy demand.” (MT)

“The IAGF makes me very happy!. It is awesome to see folks in such a giving mood. The community comes out every year to show how important it is to give back. The IAGF really seems to bring out the best in everyone and I like how important our program feels on this day. I also love that families bring their children and teach them to support local community services. It is great to see children giving back to the community through the gift fair.” (CM)

“The IAGF is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about our programs and services, which are reliant upon contributions. We see so many of our patrons among the gift fair “shoppers”, and they really seem to like having a chance to support us in a meaningful way. It’s also beneficial to connect with the other agencies and organizations at the Fair; each year we find new possibilities for collaborations through our conversations with nonprofit colleagues.” (SG1)

“The IAGF is the one event all year that our board volunteers most want to attend. The energy in the room is so positive, with a spirit of giving and sharing, that everyone wants to be a part of it. It’s amazing to see so many local organizations working together to share their stories, and inviting people to make simple gifts to help transform lives.” (SG2)

“The IAGF is one of my favorite events of the year – on par with the Ithaca Festival Parade. It represents what I love about Ithaca.” (BR)

Please join us Saturday, December 4 from 10 to 6, at the Presbyterian and Baptist churches in DeWitt Park! Help us surpass the quarter-million dollar mark in donations! For more information, visit, or email

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