TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. – The City Federation of Women’s Organizations awarded grants to 18 projects working to improve the lives of women and girls in Tompkins County. A total of about $50,000 in Women Building Community Grants will fund initiatives touching on everything from preventative healthcare to home repairs to leadership development.

“The projects we have chosen to support will impact women and girls of all ages and cultures in many varied activities. These projects will impact very young, elementary age girls, to young women starting families, to senior women,” said Liz Colucci, president of the CFWO board.

The CFWO has a long history of supporting Tompkins women and girls. The organization was founded in 1910 by a group of women “concerned with education, recreation, philanthropy, health, safety and civic betterment,” according to a media release. The CFWO operated a Women’s Community Building until 2012, when they sold the property and created an endowment with the revenue to fund community projects.

The largest award this year went to the Global Roots Play School, a nursery school program started by Ithaca Welcomes Refugees in 2017 to provide childcare while parents attend English classes or tutoring sessions. Global Roots Play School received about $8,000 through the Women Building Community Innovation Grant.

Liz Colucci congratulates Molly Alexander, Bronwyn Losey and Mary Hutchens of the Global Roots Play School. (Provided by CFWO)

Bronwyn Losey, director of Global Roots Play School, said the grant will help provide immigrant and refugee families with high quality, affordable childcare to facilitate language classes for mothers.

“English language skills empower women to support themselves and navigate life in Ithaca. With the innovation grant we will be able to increase the depth of personalized support and community building we provide the mothers in our program this year,” Losey said.

Grants of up to $5,000 were awarded to 17 organizations (a full list is available at the bottom of this story). Applicants were asked to explain how their project would improve the quality of life for Tompkins women and girls by providing community development, education, health, human services, or activities that address gender equity.

“Some will provide exercise, social opportunities, and pathways to access local support resources. Some will provide tangible goods – a renovated community kitchen, repair supplies for elderly apartment dwellers, start-up packages of household goods for women moving from homelessness to their own home,” Colucci said. “The CFWO is proud to partner with these agencies to achieve these important goals.”

Related: Ithaca house ‘like a safe haven’ for homeless and recovering women

All recipients were honored Tuesday Dec. 4 at a ceremony at the Tompkins County Public Library. The full list of awardees includes:

  • Ithaca Free Clinic Healthcare and Diagnostic Services for Women (Ithaca Free Clinic)
  • A Place to Stay: Moving Up (Catholic Charities of Tompkins/Tioga)
  • Advocacy Center Therapy Program (Advocacy Center of Tompkins County)
  • College Initiative Upstate: Wise Women (Opportunities, Alternatives and Resources of Tompkins County)
  • Enabling Successful Women and Children (Faculty Student Association Childcare Center at Tompkins Cortland Community College)
  • Gaia Girls (Ithaca Children’s Garden)
  • Global Roots Play School (Ithaca Welcomes Refugees)
  • Graduated Leadership Employment and Development Skills Paid Partnership (Women’s Opportunity Center)
  • Homebound Instructions for Immigrant and Refugee Women (Tompkins Learning Partners)
  • Meditation and Yoga for GIAC Senior Citizens (Greater Ithaca Activities Center)
  • “Other Powers: Trauma Survivors Reclaim Joy” Multi-Media Presentation (CloseToHome Productions)
  • Removing Road Blocks (Child Development Council of Central NY)
  • Ripples of Change: Promoting Diversity in Women’s Civic Leadership (Natural Leaders Initiative)
  • Strength in Girls @A+: Mindfulness and Yoga (BJM Enrichment Program)
  • Telling Histories: Women’s Oral History Project (The History Center in Tompkins County)
  • Varna Kitchen Renovations (Varna Community Association)
  • Women Homeowner’s Small Repair Materials Fund (Better Housing for Tompkins County)

Featured image: Grantees were recognized at a Dec. 4 ceremony. (Provided by CFWO).

Devon Magliozzi

Devon Magliozzi is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at or 607-391-0328.