As new challenges and opportunities arise for Tompkins County organizations, Sustainable Tompkins helps to smooth their way toward serving our communities better than ever. In June 2017, two Neighborhood Mini-Grants totaling $813 were awarded to the Varna Community Association and Opportunities, Alternatives, and Resources (OAR) of Tompkins County.

The Varna Community Association hosts an array of programs and events at the Varna Community Center, including an after-school program which began in 2016 and greatly increased the building’s water usage.  A Mini-Grant will pay for low-flush toilets and accompanying educational signs, saving money while reducing the center’s impact on the area’s vulnerable water supplies and sewer systems.

OAR of Tompkins County recently purchased a house in Ithaca’s West End to serve as transitional housing for men returning from incarceration. A Mini-Grant will fund the creation of a raised-bed vegetable, herb, and flower garden and fruit tree grove in the house’s gravel yard, providing residents with food, community activities, and facilitated opportunities for skill-building in gardening and food preparation.

The Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program provides seed money to diverse initiatives to build environmental, economic, and social resilience and well-being in Tompkins County. The program is sponsored by the Park Foundation, Beck Equipment, Craig Riecke, Natural Investments, Fingerlakes Wealth Management, and local donors. We need your support so we can help more citizen leaders act on their values. Please donate today and help us support more wonderful citizen-driven projects to improve life in our community.