ITHACA, N.Y. — Homegrown Skateshop is donating close to $50,000 to the Greater Ithaca Activities Center and Social Ventures to support youth programs in the county amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Andrew Douglas, owner of Homegrown, worked with Jeff Furman, former Ben & Jerry’s chairman of the board of directors and founder of Social Ventures, a local non-profit, and Jay Stooks, GIAC program leader, to organize the Ben & Jerry’s “Chunky Dunky” Boost Benefit fundraiser and raffle. Nike SB and Ben & Jerry’s released the limited edition Chunky Dunky sneakers, which were selling for $100 per pair, in May. Douglas collaborated with Copdate, an app for managing sneaker releases, to promote the raffle to win a pair of the shoes. Entries into the raffle were free, but those who donated to the fundraiser increased their chances of winning.

“I knew that the demand for this release would be extremely high, and thought that there was a unique opportunity to leverage this energy in an effort to give something back to the community,” Douglas said.

More than 35,000 people entered the raffle, raising a total of $49,317. Of that amount, $45,000 will be donated to GIAC, with $20,000 being used to help restart its programs, $15,000 being allocated to GIAC’s skateboard program and $10,000 benefitting GIAC’s culinary program.

The remaining $4,317 will be donated to Social Ventures to enhance its youth voting and civic engagement efforts.

GIAC has reduced most of its services  — including youth programs through the summer — due to budget cuts by the City of Ithaca caused by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, director of GIAC, said that the donation will help to restart some of the programs that serve over 300 local youths throughout the year.

“At GIAC we provide services to improve the quality of life of those we serve and we rely on the support of our business community, among others, to help us do that,” McBean-Clairborne said. “This is a perfect example of a partnership in action. A perfect example of Andrew using the platform he knows best to give back and create some equity.”

Mayor Svante Myrick expressed his gratitude for Douglas’ contribution to the community.

“Homegrown has been a remarkable community asset for years – but even by the high standard Andrew’s set this is a staggering act of generosity,” Myrick said,  “At a time of great financial hardship for the city this contribution is a gamechanger for the families that GIAC serves.” 

A presentation of the check to GIAC will be held at noon on June 9 at Homegrown.

Madison Fernandez

Madison Fernandez is a contributing reporter at the Ithaca Voice. You can reach her by email at mfernandez@ithacavoice.com.