ITHACA, N.Y. –– Native Ithacan and former Southside Community Center member herself, Chavon Bunch has now been named the new Executive Director of the organization.

According to the announcement from Southside, Bunch grew up with the community center as a place full of opportunities and positive cultural experiences –– going there for Girl Scout meetings and to hang out with other girls that, “looked just like her.”

As an adult she has had a career as a “medical coding and reimbursement specialist” at Cayuga Medical Center and has continued her ties to the Southside neighborhood, living there with her husband, Antwan, and two children, Ayani and Kincade. Ayani attends Southside for the afterschool program, CUMEP, and UNITED Dance Troupe.

Bunch also comes from a long line of Ithacans heavily involved in the community –– her mother Marcia Baum is the former director of the Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) and perpetual volunteer, and her grandparents Dr. Donald and Jennie Graham also were known locally for their philanthropy.

The announcement states that, “Chavon is fully committed to Southside Community Center and its mission, while continuing the family tradition of community service.”

That commitment was first on display with Bunch’s service in an interim role following the departure of the former director Dr. Tammy Butler, who left the position after less than a year.

“Graciously accepting the invitation to serve in an interim leadership capacity throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Mrs. Chavon Bunch helped lead a team of staff and volunteers engaged in on-going development, programming, events, and community use of the building,” the announcement says. “She proved herself as interim and we are excited to name her as Southside’s Executive Director to help carry the organization forward.”

During the pandemic, SSCC faced financial trouble, ultimately having to lay off much of its staff and shutter its doors to members temporarily. Now, as things open back up, Southside seems to be turning a new corner.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com