Climate Fund Awardees

We More Than Doubled our Goal for the Climate Fund!

Thank you to the 54 donors who helped us race past our goal of raising $2500 for the Finger Lakes Climate Fund in May in our ‘Climate Justice in the Time of Corona” campaign! Besides the $4,121 we raised on GiveGab, two other donors sent us $1,679 via our Climate Fund website, and checks totaling $1,000 came in for a grand total of $6,800!! We are all just delighted to be able to refill the Fund, and this will probably be enough to do 3-4 more projects in the homes of lower-income residents. THANKS to all of you bringing heat pumps and clean energy to everyone in our community!

We’re Doing SO Good! Let’s Not Lose Momentum!

Just as we were entering the covid-19 shutdown, our Finger Lakes Climate Fund had reached a wonderful goal: our 50th local carbon offset grant – this time to a family in Trumansburg. With this award – thanks to all of our offsetters! – we have collectively kept 4,300 tons of CO2 from our atmosphere by helping local families with more than $80,000 in Climate Fund grants to help make their homes more energy efficient and ready to run on renewable energy.
Recently we signed 3 more checks for almost $12,000 that will help single mothers in Newfield, Hector, and Groton convert from polluting fuel oil, firewood, and propane to clean and efficient heat pumps – lowering their energy bills and improving the health of asthmatic family members.
Of course, we are all on PAUSE right now. Our friends at Snug Planet and Halco won’t be able to do these projects and others in our pipeline until they are allowed to work again in people’s homes. But we wanted to reach out and share some of the stories of the people you’ve helped by taking responsibility for your carbon emissions and offsetting with our Climate Fund. (Thanks again offsetters!)
Through our partnership with HeatSmart Tompkins and NYSERDA, we’ve been able to combine additional incentives for heat pumps for lower-income households with our Climate Fund grants. Since we started last fall, we’ve given away $38,633 from our Climate Fund plus $43,000 from our special heat pump fund to 24 households in 5 counties. 

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It’s Time to Seal the Cracks Again!

It is that time of year again – every fall and winter we ask you to help us Seal the Cracks in homes across the Finger Lakes Region, doing our part in fighting climate change while helping others in need.

Working together we are making a difference across our region. For every ton of your CO2 emissions that you offset, we will help a lower-income family make their home more energy efficient and take that ton of CO2 back out of the atmosphere. We’ve now given out 29 grants worth $47,738 to offset 2,286 tons of CO2 from our donors’ travel and building emissions.We recently passed the Five Million mark for pounds of CO2 removed from the atmosphere and look forward to awarding more of our Fund in local grants.

It is super easy: go to and start thinking back over the past year… where did you travel and have you taken responsibility for the carbon emissions from your trips? How about your business or your home? (You can reach zero carbon by offsetting the remaining fossil fuel use in your buildings.) Read the rest of this entry »

Our 24th Climate Fund grant helps Caroline family

Our 24th Climate Fund grant award went to Brandon and Lyla White and their charming daughter Rosemary. The White Family lives in a 70’s era home in the Town of Caroline. Like so many houses of that time, it was poorly insulated and still had the same really expensive electric baseboard heat of those ‘cheap energy’ times. After they moved in a couple years ago, they got their first shockingly high electric bill and knew they had to make some changes.

Snug Planet helped them come up with a plan to address their biggest energy problems and had them apply to the Finger Lakes Climate Fund for assistance. They put their $1291 grant toward the removal of 52 tons of CO2 by sealing and insulating their attic and the cantilever over the basement floor and toward a new Air Source Heat Pump that is heating AND cooling their home for pennies compared to the high price of the baseboard heating system and an old style window air conditioner. (Listen to them tell their story here.)

Thanks to all of our carbon offsetters for helping the Whites improve their home’s carbon footprint!  We are in our usual ‘Seal the Cracks’ fall campaign where we ask you to think back over the past summer and remember all the travels you took.  Then go to our and take responsibility for the emissions associated with that travel by making an offset.  It’s quick, easy, and affordable – plus you will get to be part of the community that is helping families like the Whites shrink their carbon footprint while making their household economy so much more resilient.

Carbon Offsets for a Solidarity Economy on #Giving Tuesday

Soledad Exantus and her daughter Sydney were all smiles at the recent open house held for the two new homes being built in Ithaca’s Northside neighborhood by Habitat for Humanity. The Exantus family has longed for more room for their teenage daughters, and they are so excited by the prospect of owning their own affordable, efficient, and solar-powered dwelling. Mohammed Maataoui and his daughter Esrah were also there that night to celebrate their upcoming ownership of the other half of this new duplex.

Our Finger Lakes Climate Fund helped pay for the 4.68 Kw solar arrays that will be on each of their roofs to power their all electric homes. Thanks to our donors we were able to do these first solar PV grants from our Climate Fund!

In this era of growing inequality and fraying democracy, it can seem pretty daunting to figure out how to join in and make a positive difference. Our local carbon offsets are an excellent way for you to participate in both protecting our climate and building an economy based on mutual support and solidarity. Both of these impacts are essential to our future well being.  Read the rest of this entry »

Farewell Party for Sustainability Travelers Includes Carbon Offset

Dan and Farah's FLCF certWe were delighted to be asked by Cornell’s Campus Sustainability Office to help them make a most appropriate gift to departing director Dan Roth – a certificate for offsetting the emissions from the around-the-world trip that Dan and his wife, Farah Hussein, will be taking in the coming year.  Dan and Farah head first to Hawaii, with plans to visit India and then Africa, to create a global initiative on health and sustainability.

Our carbon calculator showed that a trip for two via NYC-Honolulu-New Delhi-Johannesburg-NYC would create just shy of 10 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.  Bert Bland from Cornell Facilities passed the hat among Dan’s campus and community friends and colleagues to purchase the offset through the Finger Lakes Climate Fund.  Carbon offset donations are used for grants to fund energy efficiency projects that would not otherwise be possible in low to moderate income households in the Finger Lakes region. Read the rest of this entry »

Better by the Dozen!

Our Finger Lakes Climate Fund made two more grant awards in October to homeowners needing help with high energy bills and uncomfortable living conditions. Our eleventh grant was made to the Fenner Family in Newfield who needed lots of insulation and air sealing work done along with replacing their old oil furnace with a high efficiency propane furnace. The award of $2,247 via Tompkins Community Action will help the Fenner household make improvements that will reduce carbon emissions by 112 tons.

Our twelfth grant was also our first grant to someone living outside of Tompkins County. Kim Stanford is semi-retired from Cornell and lives in Richford in Tioga County.  She had been heating with both a coal stove and an oil furnace, which had recently been red-tagged due to a cracked heat exchanger and needed replacement.  The house also needed attic and wall insulation and drafts sealed in order to address challenging problems with large ice dams.  Snug Planet will put the award of $2,287 towards Kim’s project, keeping 114 tons of carbon out of our atmosphere.

Sustainable Tompkins has awarded $23,269 to a dozen community members, and we are eager to help more families reduce their dependency on fossil fuels and enjoy a healthier, more energy-secure future.  You can help us make our next award by offsetting your upcoming holiday travel with the Climate Fund.  It’s quick, easy, and surprisingly affordable!

Purity Ice Cream and IC’s Net Impact Club Donate $4000 to Finger Lakes Climate Fund

Purity Ice Cream Donation at IC


Thanks to the generosity of Purity Ice Cream owners Bruce and Heather Lane, and the activism of the students in Ithaca College’s Net Impact Club, we have received a generous donation of $4000 to our Finger Lakes Climate Fund.  The Lanes joined Gay Nicholson of Sustainable Tompkins in the Park Center for Sustainable Enterprise on March 21 to meet with Net Impact students Rebecca Blondin and Lauren Goldberg, President Tom Rochon, Dean Mary Ellen Zuckerman, and Prof Hormoz Movassaghi of the IC Business school.  The story behind the “carrot mob” that resulted in the donation can be learned here.

The donation will be redistributed to the community in the form of Climate Fund grants to lower-income households needing help in making energy efficiency improvements to their homes.  Local energy contractors with clients in the Home Performance or Assisted Home Performance program can apply on behalf of their customers for the grants.  The Climate Fund has awarded 8 grants to a wide variety of households, a nonprofit, and a local business.  Awards are based on the tons of carbon emissions that are reduced through energy efficiency improvements, with a maximum grant of $2500.  Interested applicants are urged to get energy audits from local firms such as Snug Planet, Tompkins Community Action, Halco, and Fair Hands, and find out if they qualify for applying. Find certified contractors here. Read the rest of this entry »

Finger Lakes Climate Fund Awards Grant to Local Family

(Published in Tompkins Weekly, September 3-9, 2012, p. 4)
Beth Mazur cast an appreciative eye on the purposeful jumble of insulation equipment surrounding her country home in Enfield.  On a sunny and beautiful summer’s day, Beth was already contemplating winter’s cold winds – this time without concern for her family’s health and well being.  Thanks to a $2000 grant from the Finger Lakes Climate Fund and the dedicated efforts of Phil Allmendinger and James Dulle of Snug Planet, the Mazurs can relax and enjoy their home in all four seasons.

Beth and her two daughters loved the green vistas and rural charm of their new place, but like so many of us they discovered that the house itself was poorly designed in terms of energy and moisture management.  Then, to make matters worse, the old furnace ended its life with a sooty fire in its basement chamber.  Beth knew it was time to get some expert help with managing their energy needs.

The folks at Snug Planet did a thorough energy analysis of the house, and proposed a work scope involving major insulation and air sealing, a high efficiency boiler and water heater, and ventilating fans to address mildew and rot problems.  The good news was that the Mazurs qualified for a $5,000 grant from NYSERDA for the work; but it was still going to be a big investment for a single mom to handle.  Beth wasn’t sure what to do, but Snug Planet had an idea.   Read the rest of this entry »