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Robert S. Smith Awards

Do you have an idea about how to build a stronger, more just, more sustainable community?  Do you want help turning your idea into action?

The Robert S. Smith Awards for Community Progress and Innovation support partnerships between grassroots community leaders and college or university students to jointly plan and carry out projects that strengthen Tompkins County communities. It also gives small grants to help with project expenses.

The Robert S. Smith Award for Community Progress and Innovation was endowed in 1994 by the Tompkins Trust Company in honor of the late Robert S. Smith, former bank chairman and W.I. Myers Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Finance at Cornell. In 2008, CCE-Tompkins was selected to administer the awards program.

Special priority is given to:

  • "Everyday" community leaders who have good ideas, passion and commitment, but who don't have formal leadership titles or roles;
  • Project teams that include team leaders from communities of color, immigrant communities and/or low- and moderate-income communities;
  • People who haven't written a grant proposal before, or have written only one or two proposals.

Need Help?

We can:

  • Help community leaders meet students interested in partnership with them
  • Help students connect with community projects in areas of interest
  • Help project teams to write a grant proposal, problem-solve, or build good partnerships.


Margo Hittleman
Natural Leaders Initiative Coordinator
(607) 272-2292 ext.167

Last updated January 20, 2015