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Think Tompkins initiative aims to boost local economy: How will it work?

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  • Staff Report 

Ithaca Area Economic Development (IAED) has officially unveiled its ambitious 5-year investment program, Th!nk Tompkins, to the public on September 21. The announcement was made during a private event at Tompkins Community Bank, where IAED disclosed it has already secured 65% of its $2.1 million target, and is optimistic about reaching the goal in the coming months. During the event, significant contributors like Cornell University were acknowledged, and a call to action was issued encouraging other local entities to support the initiative by making pledges.


Th!nk Tompkins, scheduled to span from 2024 to 2028, is not just an investment plan but a comprehensive economic advancement initiative with substantial goals related to employment, payroll, and private investment. The initiative is determined to set new standards in areas like workforce development, housing, and renewable energy. The program is backed by a collective revenue model, consisting of fee-based income, county government support, and employer investments, structured in five-year cycles. Cornell University has manifested its support with a substantial five-year commitment of $460,000, emphasizing its continuous dedication to enhancing prospects and prosperity in the region.

IAED is resolute in its mission to offer tailor-made economic development solutions to support business growth and retention in the Ithaca, Tompkins County, and Central New York areas. IAED President, Heather McDaniel, highlighted the organization’s commitment to delivering direct services such as technical assistance, loans, incentives, and workforce training, aimed at creating measurable economic impact in the community. IAED’s strategic priorities include direct services to businesses, workforce development, and economic development leadership, each crucial for fostering a prosperous and sustainable economy. To know more or to make a pledge, individuals and businesses can visit IthacaAreaED.org.