Ithaca Youth Bureau (IYB) announced on Wednesday that it will be able to resume its programming and rehire furloughed staff thanks to financial support from various donors; one for $100,000, one for $10,000, and a selection of smaller but essential donations.
IYB said that the donations should cover operating expenses from now until the end of the year and will allow them to re-imagine programming and health and safety protocols during the pandemic. IYB expects to serve 400 youth and their families in the coming months.
"The recent anonymous donation helps us bring our full team back and get programs up and running. We are grateful for the community support and excited to get our programming underway," said IYB Director Liz Kohlmann.
In a statement, IYB, Friends of IYB and United Way said that staff are currently working to create new methods for programming, some in conjunction with Ithaca City School District (ICSD) summer high school program.
Playgrounds were re-opened in early July, recreation programming began on Monday, July 27 (Cross Country Running, Get Your Play On, Sport Spot, Tennis Anyone), families can expect more to be added. Families can get more information about dates, fees and details from “Community Pass”. Programming will take place in the parks and pavilions while the IYB office remains closed.
James Brown, president and CEO of United Way, described the partnership as critical to the continued development of the community, if it is successful. Ithaca youth have been left teeter-tottering between activity and idleness this summer due to repercussions from COVID-19 related responses. A number of summer programs have been limited or ceased to operate altogether. Many are just now resuming operation in limited capacities.
"The Youth Bureau’s ability to safely restart critical programs and services at this time will strengthen the health and development of local youth and our broader community," said James Brown.
Kohlmann said that IYB and Cass Park don't often have the funding necessary to update outdated and disrepair equipment and said that additional donations will go towards supporting those changes. Kohlmann also said that IYB expects significant budget reductions to occur after the pandemic, over the next several years.
The bureau is still accepting donations through friendsiyb.org.