To date, seventeen community members have received Fellowships. A list has been compiled that includes the applicant’s name and the project title of those who have served as fellows and a very brief project description.
Routinely, the selection committee is faced with the task of choosing recipients out of a group of both newly emerging and long-standing community leaders, and their equally impressive proposals.
Holly Adams, Brooktondale, NY
Ms. Adams worked to further her goal of developing a Clown Doctors Program particular to this community and its members. Clown Doctors work in hospitals, nursing homes, cancer treatment centers or other organizations where people are trying to recover from an illness, whether physical or mental. The Clown Doctors Program would enable participating healthcare organizations and individuals to develop different modes of communication, while interacting with patients in ways that foster empowerment, growth and joy.
LeGrace Benson, Ithaca, NY
As a representative of the Ithaca HOURS organization, Benson submitted a proposal that sought to identify and implement ways for lower-income populations in the county to utilize Ithaca Hours – an alternative currency system backed by skilled services. Specific goals were to identify and implement ways for lower-income populations to participate in the Ithaca Hours program, while seeking to expand the places where Ithaca Hours can be used, based on the needs of this population.
Nancy K. Bereano, Ithaca, NY
Nancy K. Bereano’s proposal seeks to support her current work with the Tompkins County Working Group on LGBT Aging to develop a “Share the Care” model responsive to the particular needs of LGBT elders. This informal organizational structure is customarily built utilizing the family, friendship, and/or faith-based networks that may be available to an individual during a medical crisis or debilitating/terminal illness. Such a support group augments the non-medical agency-provided services that sick and/or aging people rely upon. Because members of the LGBT community are often alienated from the care of their biological families, and face the additional burden of negotiating the fine line between how “out” they can be and how safe they feel with the agencies whose services they rely upon, they approach aging with multiple anxieties: concerns about both aging itself and whether their identity(ies) will be respected. By drawing on a larger, intergenerational LGBT community connected by mutual “LGBTness,” LGBT elders will be better able to retain their dignity and sense of personal identity while getting the essential support they need.
Marcie Roe Bishop, Ithaca, NY
She is currently the Principal of Spencer-Van Etten Middle School. Her tenure with the school district has led to the building of a new Middle School that provided a facility for a diverse community constituency. Her proposal introduces middle school age students to a practical understanding of what constitutes intellectual and personal discipline in making choices and how to explain those choices in scientific and religious communities. In addition, the proposal seeks to engage families and the wider community in a discussion of the skills necessary for the development of intellectual and personal discipline, and to expand the opportunities for middle school students and local residents to relate to persons of other cultural, religious, or intellectual backgrounds.
Michael Bleeg, Rochester, NY
Mr. Bleeg’s Community Centered Living proposal focused on providing transitional housing in the greater Rochester area for a varied group of residents, including those in drug and alcohol recovery or people with mental or physical disabilities.
Gino Bush, Ithaca, NY
In the fall of 2000, Mr. Bush began leading support groups for male students at Ithaca High School to discuss life skills topics that included discussions around drug and alcohol education, racism, families, and school. His Community Involvement at Ithaca High School proposal sought to expand these support systems and groups to reach a larger audience, with possible expansion to the middle schools.
Jessica Custer-Bindel, Ithaca, NY
Jessica Custer-Bindel’s proposal seeks to create a curriculum based on Latin American culture and the Spanish language by installing an art museum. The project will also develop collaborative partnerships to sustain a museum program at the Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC). By learning Spanish and creating cultural artifacts such as; sculptures, masks, and paintings; the students in the program will experience language and culture in an authentic and memorable way. Students will take an active role in their community and apply what they have learned by installing their own art in the museum, which will be open to the public.
Kirby Edmonds, Ithaca, NY
Through the Dorothy Cotton Institute, Kirby Edmonds will be providing Human Rights Education workshops to local area schools over the coming school year. He will also be providing at least four half-day follow-up workshops for people who have been to the introductory full-day workshop. In addition, he will focus on building a sustainable local economy in the greater Ithaca area by bringing people together to identify and implement projects that will generate meaningful jobs and fulfill basic human rights for our permanent residents. Through his proposal he hopes to make a strong commitment to working in a collaborative, participatory planning process across race, class, place and power differences.
Gary Ferguson, Ithaca, NY
His proposal seeks to undertake the first steps in a long-term research project to systematically examine and address a number of critical issues that relate specifically to sustained and successful downtown revitalization and viability. His objective is to research and provide the Ithaca community with data and information currently not available that represents both cities with exemplary and successful downtowns, as well as those who have struggled and failed; he will also provide extensive information on the contributing factors that will allow for sound development in this community.
George Ferrari ’84, Ithaca, NY
His proposal seeks to address the changing climate and status of community-based nonprofit organizations in the United States today. He will do this by researching and analyzing the environment from an economic, legal, organization management, and community organizing perspective. The outcome will provide a better understanding of the forces that are affecting nonprofit organizations today, and recommendations for new operational strategies, as well as procedures and increased resources for planning and advocacy.
Carl Feuer, Ithaca, NY
Mr. Feuer’s The Working Poor in Tompkins County proposal sought: to ensure that all working people be paid at least a living wage; to identify which jobs, industries or sectors were most heavily low paid; identify the demographics of the working poor; and how this affects their lives and the choices they are forced to make.
Paul Glover, Ithaca, NY
Mr. Glover’s Survey of Community Dental Clinics proposal sought to explore and summarize features of the hundreds of dental clinics serving low-income sectors throughout North America. The information would hopefully lead to the formation of a dental clinic in this community, of which one-third of the residents do not have health insurance, and an even greater number do not have dental insurance.
Margo Hittleman, Ithaca, NY
A co-founder and coordinator of the Natural Leaders Initiative (NLI). NLI supports talented “everyday” leaders, especially those from low/moderate-income communities and communities of color, who have a passion for bettering community life. Often these are people without formal leadership titles and roles. NLI assists these emerging grassroots leaders to further develop their leadership skills, confidence, and networks and to explore new community leadership roles. NLI also helps other community groups and organizations strengthen their capacity to recognize, welcome, and develop diverse leadership. Founded in Jan. 2007, NLI is a collaborative partnership of the Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC), Multicultural Resource Center, Cornell Cooperative Extension-Tompkins, and Tompkins Community Action. As a Civic Fellow, Margo seeks to enhance and expand NLI’s work and to explore opportunities for ongoing programmatic and learning collaborations between NLI, its participants, and Cornell students, faculty and staff.
Jack Jensen, Ithaca, NY
Executive Director of Community Building Works! (CBW), a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that constructs green, affordable housing locally and internationally. For every house it provides in the community, it will provide one in a developing country. The use of volunteer labor empowers the community to address its affordable housing needs, empowers individuals by teaching them valuable job skills, and supports a sustainable business model.
Leslie F. Jones, Esq., Ithaca, NY
The Connections Project, proposed by Leslie Jones and the Southern Tier Advocacy & Mitigation Project, aims to measurably reduce juvenile recidivism and the risk factors associated with re-arrest among youth released from secure confinement. While youth in secure custody receive some services, aftercare resources are only available to youth in limited secure and non-secure facilities. It has been demonstrated that in the absence of programming designed to help these young people achieve social, emotional, ethical, physical and cognitive competencies; reintegrative services aimed at helping them prepare themselves to meet the challenges of everyday life; and, a seamless continuum of care which transcends the facility walls, this high=risk population will predictably return to unhealthy and self-destructive behaviors. The Connections Projects seeks to be a step towards effecting social change in juvenile justice policies directly impacting juvenile recidivism in New York State through work at MacCormick Secure Center in Brooktondale.
Jean McPheeters, Brooktondale, NY
Her proposal sought to enhance collaborations between Cornell and the economic development community while utilizing the work of Richard Florida, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. McPheeters planned to research several communities, identified by Florida, that have been successful in using new technology to enhance their economies and then to establish written goals to begin developing and working toward a successful economic development strategy for this region.
Alan (Fe) Nunn, Ithaca, NY
He is the Founder and CEO of the Community Unity Music Education Program (CUMEP), demonstrated his long-term commitment to nurture and educate underserved youth in the Ithaca community. His proposal undertakes to develop a qualitative means of tracking a child’s personal and academic development through exposure to the performing arts. Involving interactions between children, families, and their teachers this effort will determine the effect that the performing arts has on a child’s overall character and development.
Cal Walker, Ithaca, NY
He sought to further a collaborative project The Village at Ithaca Initiative. This initiative was created to address the much-publicized underachievement of Black and Latino students, both in the Ithaca City School District and across New York State. This program seeks to ensure that groups and organizations committed to eradicating Black and Latino under achievement work collaboratively and strategically to build a climate of excellence and to advocate for additional school policies and practices. His specific goals were to evaluate and assess similar programs, as well as other initiatives undertaken by selected colleges and universities with their school districts, and to utilize and implement these best practices in this community.
Dr. Roberta Wallitt, Ithaca, NY
Dr. Wallitt’s proposal seeks to enhance her current work with the Village at Ithaca which focuses on recruitment of community members to serve on interview and screening committees of the Ithaca City School District. This effort is geared specifically toward the recruitment, hiring and retention of more staff of color. Dr. Wallitt hopes to work with Ithaca employers to encourage employers to offer employees paid release, enabling them to participate in community service activities such as serving on the hiring committees of the Ithaca City School District. The goal of the project is to bring together all the segments of the Ithaca community to address the inequity within the school district that negatively impacts families and students of color.