A Note from GreenStar: Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI)  is one of 10 local nonprofit organizations voted among GreenStar’s membership to be a 2023 Partner for Change. They are also GreenStar’s March 2023 featured Positive Change recipient. Read more about our Partners for Change program here.
IPEI Outdoor Students

Article provided by IPEI –

We’re excited to partner with the GreenStar community to support innovative educational opportunities for Ithaca’s school district. The Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI) was founded in 1996 to provide direct support to teachers and schools. We believe that the experience of our students is enhanced through community support. We are a conduit for the greater Ithaca community to show their dedication to our school via gifts, which we make available to teachers.

Classroom teachers reach out to IPEI requesting funding for engaging supplies and subscriptions using our Red & Gold grants or partner with a local artisan, artist, or expert and create a relationship between that person and their class through a Teacher Grant. Both of these grants are available multiple times throughout the year. A dedicated team of volunteers reviews each application to support the best opportunities for students in Ithaca’s 12 public schools. We are currently funding 30 projects with $30,000 in funds- creating educational opportunities for students in elementary, middle, and high schools.

IPEI also provides funding for projects intending to impact multiple classes, grades, or even whole schools through our Connecting Classrooms Grants, which offer funding opportunities up to $10,000. These grants may be requested at any time throughout the school year.

IPEI Students on Mindfulness Trail

IPEI Students on Mindfulness Trail

We developed the Kids Discover the Trail!, Ithaca (KDT! Ithaca) program, which has grown into an annual invitation to every Ithaca student to participate in a curricular-aligned field experience with their class and with a class from another school. This program, which now exists in every district in Tompkins county, is a collaboration of members of the Discovery Trail, IPEI, and the ICSD. Financial support from our community keeps Ithaca’s students engaged with these local resources. The Discovery Trail includes:

IPEI is the home for Ithaca’s Fine Arts Booster Groups (FABG) and the IthacaSTEM Advocates. Both affiliates raise, hold, and dispense funds supporting Ithaca’s programs in the Fine and Performing Arts and STEM activities and clubs, respectively.

IPEI Student Grade 5

Beyond these programs, we are flexible to the needs of our community and responsive to feedback and suggestions. IPEI has served as a fiscal sponsor for school-related projects like the Outdoor Gear Project, which raised $90,000 from our community during COVID to purchase outdoor gear for every elementary school in Ithaca so students could learn outside in all weather. IPEI provided Situational Grants during school closures to meet our teacher’s unique needs in 2020

Since our founding, we have helped our community provide more than $1 million to our teachers, classes, students, and schools. Our affiliates and program make our local resources available to every classroom in Ithaca’s 12 schools.

IPEI is a proud member of Ithaca’s educational community and a resource to those who provide instruction, guidance, and love to its students. We’re honored by our inclusion in Greenstar’s Partners for Change program.