About the James J. Byrnes Awards for Excellence Awards
The James J. Byrnes Awards for Excellence program was established during the bank's Sesquicentennial Celebration in 1986 as a means of sharing its success with community members who have helped to enrich the quality of life in Tompkins County. In 2014, the Awards for Excellence program was renamed the James J. Byrnes Awards for Excellence to honor the retirement of Jim Byrnes, a longtime Ithaca resident and leader of Tompkins Financial Corporation.
The endowment is administered by the Legacy Foundation, a local not-for-profit trust. The vision of the Legacy Foundation, which began in 1945, is a commitment to “improving the quality of life in Tompkins County for those who come after us." Since 1986, the Awards for Excellence program has recognized more than 259 individuals or groups with awards totaling more than $372,000.
COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on our community and now, more than ever, it is important to honor and support the organizations that are dedicated to improving our community. The Trust Company, through the Legacy Foundation, is proud to recognize this year’s recipients who have promoted the arts, culture, education, helped those in need through volunteerism, and have improved the quality of life for so many in Tompkins County.
Typically, we would honor the recipients with a reception to present the awards, but due to COVID-19 related restrictions, so the honorees were presented their awards at a Virtual Awards Ceremony on December 18th.
This year, we have honored two individuals and four groups with James J. Byrnes Awards for Excellence for their outstanding volunteer service to the community. $12,000 was donated to local charitable organizations from the bank’s endowment fund through the Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County. The honorees each designated their monetary awards to not-for-profit organizations of their choice.
Martha K. Preston
Our first recipient for the award is Martha K. Preston for her tireless work volunteering with The History Center and centering her life’s work on local history and preservation.
Martha has directed that her $2,000 donation from the Legacy Foundation go to The History Center.
Gemm Shop Board of Directors
We are honoring the Gemm Shop Board of Directors, an entirely volunteer Board, for its incredible efforts to the Trumansburg community, as well as surrounding areas.
The Gemm Shop Board of Directors has directed that $1,000 of its donation from the Legacy Foundation go towards Trumansburg Conservatory of Fine Arts and the other $1,000 to Trumansburg After-School Program.
Richard and the late Rev. Eunice Tabor
Next on the list is Richard and the late Rev. Eunice Tabor for their remarkable service to several organizations.
Richard is pleased to accept this donation from the Legacy Foundation, on behalf of himself and the late Rev. Eunice with $1,000 being directed to St John’s Community Service and the other $1,000 being directed to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.
2019-20 Volunteer Tutors and Mentors of the College Discovery Program
Next we will honor the 2019-20 Volunteer Tutors and Mentors of the Ithaca Youth Bureau’s College Discovery Program for providing regular and ongoing tutoring and mentoring for a diverse population of youth in the program.
The 2019-20 Volunteer Tutors and Mentors of the College Discovery Program are pleased to accept this $2,000 donation from the Legacy Foundation, which will be directed to the Ithaca Youth Bureau College Discovery Program.
Ken Mudge and David Swift
Now we will honor Ken Mudge and David Swift for their outstanding work as Program Mentors with Outings, a program of the Ithaca Youth Bureau, since 2018 and 2017 respectively.
Ken and David are pleased to accept this donation from the Legacy Foundation, which will be directed to the Ithaca Youth Bureau Outings Program.
Finally, we honor Richard Krizek for his 27 years of service as the volunteer treasurer for the Special Olympics serving the Southern Tier, Tompkins, and Cortland Counties. In this role, Richard has kept records of all donations and spending, sent reports to the headquarters office each month plus other administrative duties.
Richard is pleased to accept this $2,000 donation from the Legacy Foundation, which will be directed to the Special Olympics New York.