Initiatives, Trainings and Programs

The Community Foundation plays an active role in the growth of our region, not only through financial support, but also by developing initiatives, trainings and programs to fill specific needs in the communities we serve. 

About Initiatives

Besides providing funds for agencies and projects in the community, we work with other non-profits, through creative and innovative initiatives, to fill gaps identified within our region. We pull together resources, add our skills and others and work with regional agencies to bring about social change.

Below are three initiatives we have supported in our community. We are always looking for new ways to serve the Elmira-Corning and Finger Lakes region, If you see a need in our community and want to discuss ways to develop solutions, contact us!

Quality of Life


The Quality of Life Assessment examined four areas critical to the vibrancy of a region - Arts, Culture & Recreation, Education, Community Development & Civic Affairs, and Employment & Opportunity. The Quality of Life Assessment incorporates data from an online survey that collected responses from nearly 1,000 local residents as well as information published by governmental agencies and non-profit organizations.

Examined metrics were selected based on national best practices as well as discussions with the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc. and other local stakeholders. Ultimately, this Assessment will help the Community Foundation and its allied partners better understand the areas of greatest need, illuminating where investment of time and resources promise the greatest lasting impact on quality of life in the region.

Read and download the full report here.


It's no secret that we are losing our young professionals due to the student loan debt crisis.  While the definition of a young professional can vary, generally they are characterized as highly entrepreneurial, civic-minded people between the ages of 21 and 40 with a college degree. And, they're more economically important than you might guess.

That's why the Community Foundation created Smart Works. If you are a graduate with a four-year degree or higher and student-debt, the Community Foundation will reward your volunteerism and professional investment in the Southern Tier with a monthly student loan payment program called Smart Works. The intent is to ease young professional's financial burden by making monthly student loan payments to a lender, thereby having more money to invest locally as well as have the power to reach your personal and financial goals faster than ever.

Smart Works is a student-debt repayment program for young professionals living and working in the Southern Tier. If selected for enrollment in Smart Works, participants will receive a $7,200 annual and renewable benefit for up to ten years in the form of monthly student loan payments (up to $600) paid directly to lender(s).

The Community Foundation hopes that this program gives young professionals a solid reason to remain in or move to the area.

program requirements

  • Must live and work in Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben and/or Yates County.

  • Live in a household with income no greater than $96,000

  • Must have a four-year degree or higher.

  • Must pass a credit and criminal background check.

  • Participants must provide at least 4 hours of monthly meaningful volunteer service to the local non-profit of their choosing.

  • Enrollment requires that you attend at least four quarterly meetings focused on reaching your budgeting goals and guiding your volunteering efforts. Enrollment in Smart Works does not free the candidate from any tax burdens at the end of the year.

Download the complete description of Smart Works here. 

when to apply

All spots for the Smart Works pilot program have been filled. If more spots become available, we will open the application process.  

Questions? Email or call 607-739-3900.

Chemung County School Readiness Project

We partnered with Chemung County, local experts in the field of early care and education and area school districts (Elmira, Horseheads, Elmira Heights) to create the School Readiness Project (SRP). The goal of the program, to increase the number of children arriving prepared for kindergarten academically and socially and physically ready to learn. Launched in 2006, SRP has been comprehensively meeting the needs of Chemung County’s children, birth  to five years old. This grass-roots effort aims to improve the children’s overall well-being and readiness for school, measured by a range of academic, cognitive, social, emotional, health and physical indicators.

Women Leaders Launchpad

To address the need for strong leadership in non-profits, and in conjunction with Savannah Consulting, we offer the Women Leaders Launchpad initiative to support women. An immersive and intensive exploration of self-awareness and transformative leadership, this program welcomes middle/senior managers and emerging leaders in non-profit organizations who want to change the trajectory of their lives and careers, and their organizations’ effectiveness.

• Self-knowledge, the basis of leadership
• Influencing skills and methods
• Strategic thinking and creative problem solving
• Work/life/energy balance and stress reduction
• Networking and bonding with other professional women

Look for upcoming Women Leaders Launchpad trainings on our events calendar.


We want the best for our community. To help achieve this goal, we offer comprehensive trainings and presentations to help nonprofit board and staff members become more effective in their roles.

We offer several types of programs, including:

  • A Funder’s Quick Guide to Grant Writing

  • Behind the Scenes at the Community Foundation

  • Planned Giving 101

  • Creating a Comprehensive Fund Development Plan

  • Communication Essentials for Effective Fundraising

See our calendar for Upcoming Events

We understand that without the right skills, even the best idea can flounder. With that in mind, we develop, or help you develop, training sessions to educate your organization on the skills necessary to bring your ideas to fruition. Our knowledgeable staff teaches many training sessions, but if we can’t offer the training you need, we will take the time to find the appropriate local experts to help you succeed.

Further Resources

We understand that grant writing, locating stable funding sources, and other aspects of managing a non-profit can be overwhelming. We have created a list of helpful resources for non-profits to help make it easier for you to reach your goals.

Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes

Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc.

helps realize potential in our community by matching the generosity of our donors with the community’s greatest needs. Our grants and scholarships support the people of Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben and Yates counties in the Southern Tier of New York State.


Current Grantees

Reporting Requirements and Final Evaluation Form


Keuka Area Fund 
Deadline: 08/21/2019

Schuyler County Fund
Application Deadline: 04/03/2020

Community Grant Program
LOI Deadline: 09/01/2019
Application Deadline: 09/15/2019

Edith Saxton Fund 
LOI Deadline: 09/01/2019
Application Deadline: 09/15/2019

Rose's Youth Philanthropists (RYP)
Deadline: 04/16/2020

Fund for Women of the Southern Tier
Deadline: 03/01/2020


Join Our Linked In Group

Connect with other non-profits, ask questions, share best practices
Join the conversation

Newsletter Sign-up

Keep up-to-date about  Foundation News and Events