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City of Ithaca, Cornell University reach new financial agreement worth millions more annually, officials say

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  • Staff Report 

Ithaca Mayor Laura Lewis and Cornell University President Martha Pollack jointly announced a renewed financial agreement between the city and the university, emphasizing the deep, historic bond shared by the two institutions. This new accord follows five months of negotiations and succeeds the prior agreement, which was last negotiated two decades ago.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

Under the terms of the updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Cornell University has committed to a voluntary annual contribution of $4 million to the city, an increment from their current-year offering of $1.6 million. This contribution will be indexed to inflation and is set to last for 21 years. Furthermore, 80% of this annual sum will be unrestricted, giving city officials substantial autonomy in allocating the funds to enhance the city’s well-being. The remaining funds will bolster city infrastructure and other shared priority projects. On top of this, Cornell will offer a yearly $100,000 grant to back a faculty member’s collaboration with the city, particularly in sustainability initiatives.

President Pollack also highlighted that Cornell will persist in supporting other community essentials such as the Ithaca City School District, local non-profits, and vital city services ranging from snow removal to public safety. Awaiting endorsements from both the Ithaca Common Council and Cornell’s Board of Trustees, this enhanced agreement seeks to fortify the longstanding partnership between the city and the university for the greater good of Ithaca’s residents.