Mini-Grant Recipients

Mini-Grant Brings Bike Racks to Book Sale

Thousands of people attend the book sales hosted by the Friends of the Tompkins County Public Library every May and October, and its facility in Ithaca’s West End is within bicycling distance of many residents. But visitors have long had to insecurely chain their bikes to nearby fences, signposts, or trees. In March 2016, Sustainable Tompkins awarded the organization a Neighborhood Mini-Grant for buying bike racks.

Six racks were installed over the summer, largely by volunteers. They were constantly full during the October sale, and used in all seasons by the volunteers planning the sales and donors dropping off items to sell. Facilitating fossil-fuel-free transportation and exercise, making bicyclists feel welcome at the sales — which support literacy programs along with the local and regional libraries —  and protecting the trees whose bark had been regularly damaged by bike chains, they will continue to bring benefits near and far.

The Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program provides seed money to diverse initiatives to build environmental, economic, and social resilience and well-being in Tompkins County. In turn, we need your support! Please donate today and help us support more wonderful citizen-driven projects to improve life in our community.


Neighborhood Mini-grants For September 2013


The December deadline has past and the Neighborhood Mini-grant Council prepares to meet, we are excited to pleased to announce the five grants from our September deadline: (read more)

  • Coddington Road neighbors will use their grant to build community through a neighborhood drop-off spot for recycling batteries and plastic bags.
  • The Cancer Resource Center is using their neighborhood mini-grant to bring the new Healing Garden to fruition.
  • The Sciencenter will put their mini-grant to work building their new renewable energy exhibit.
  • The Ithaca Alternative Gift Fair’s grant will help them for increase participation through promotion.
  • And a Lansing resident will use his grant to complete his own DIY Solar Installation and then offer workshops to teach community members how they can do the same.

Neighborhood Mini-grants are made possible with funds from Aigen Financial Services (and Prudential, their matching gift partner,) the Park Foundation and individual contributions from people like you. Please make a gift to the Mini-grant program here.

If you or a friend has an idea for a Mini-Grant project, email or call us at 607-216-1552. We’ll send along an application form and answer any questions you might have.  Applications are reviewed quarterly by the Mini-Grant Council, comprised of local citizens and members of Sustainable Tompkins board and staff. Awards range from $150 to $750. For more details, and how to apply, click here.

Neighborhood Mini-grants Awarded in September–Next Deadline is December 1


This September 2013 we awarded the following five grants:

In Ithaca, two Coddington Road residents will use their Mini-grant to start a Neighborhood Battery and Plastic Bag Recycling collection spot. Read the rest of this entry »

Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program Awards Four Local Projects

Sustainable Tompkins’ Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program is excited to help fund four sustainable projects for our June 2013 round:

TCPL Mural image

Tompkins County Public Library was awarded $350 in our March 2012 round to supply materials for their Urban Street Art Mural project.


– The Third Annual Food Justice Summit was awarded $500 to support a special “work-a-thon” fundraising event. Volunteers will pledge hours to work at a business or organization and collect pledges which will support the Summit.
– Lansing Community Garden received $320 to cover the cost of a drip irrigation system. The system will not only conserve water and time, but will also be used as a teaching tool for students.
– Way2Go received $650 to support their Bike Helmet Program. The program provides bike helmets and bicycle safety education for community members.
– Tompkins County resident Bob Rossi was awarded $500 for his Art Framing Fund Project. The idea is to provide frame funding to local artists who are producing sustainable artwork. After selling, funds will be returned and the project will be self-sustaining.


The Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program has awarded over $40,000 to over 100 different local, sustainable projects in Tompkins County. For more information about the program, donating, or applying for a mini-grant please visit our Mini-Grant Page.

Dryden Elementary School

The grant went to support Dryden Elementary School’s Composting project.

Lore Productions

Lore Productions produced the short film, “Frac Attack: Dawn of the Watershed.” The environmental zombie thriller was the product of over 70 community volunteers and premiered at Cinemapolis in December 2009.

Lore productions also produced an eco-musical,  titled “We Can’t Stop.” This film is full length, features many song and dance numbers, and loosely stays in line with our anti-oil economy message from “Frac Attack.” With the help of our Sustainable Tompkins mini-grant, we were able to purchase some necessary equipment, as well as costumes and other musical necessities.

Ithaca Biodiesel Cooperative

The Ithaca Biodiesel Cooperative is a group of dedicated local volunteers who partner with many of Ithaca’s fine restaurants to turn waste vegetable oil into filtered vegetable oil and biodiesel for consumption as a vehicle and home heating fuel. By diverting an extremely useful, energy-dense substance from the landfill, we reduce waste and pollution. By avoiding the consumption of fossil fuels, we improve the environment and the fractious political landscape that global fossil fuel dependence foments. By partnering with local restaurants, we encourage community-wide participation in the path towards a sustainable future. Hence our motto “Grease for Peace!”.

We plan to use the Sustainable Tompkins mini-grant to increase public awareness about the benefits of biodiesel and vegetable oil fuels, using traditional (print and radio media) advertisements as well as modern advertising platforms (websites, bumper stickers, restaurant window decals). Our main objectives are to increase demand for these fuels, and even more importantly, increase levels of volunteer turnout, with educational and outreach campaigns.

Sustainable Tompkins note: The Ithaca Biodiesel Cooperative operated from 2007 through 2013.

Newfield Central School District

Green Resource Hub

Dryden Community Garden

Dryden Community Garden purchased deer fencing with the grant money.