Lifeguards at the Alex Haley Municipal Pool, operated by GIAC, Summer 2021.

A Note from GreenStar: GIAC is one of 10 local nonprofit organizations voted among GreenStar’s membership to be a 2022 Partner for Change. GIAC is the April 2022 featured Positive Change recipient. Read more about our Partners for Change program here.

GIAC: Serving the Community for 50 years

This year, the Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) celebrates its 50th Anniversary of service to the community. This celebration highlights all the ways in which GIAC has served as a leader for positive change in the local community. Founded in 1972 through a collaboration between the City of Ithaca, the United Way, the Ithaca City School District, and the Social Service League, GIAC was designed to provide multicultural education and recreational programs to youth in the immediate Northside neighborhood.

GIAC after-school group learning to roller blade.

As the organization grew, it expanded to meet the needs of teens, adults, seniors, and families in the greater Ithaca community. Beyond the flagship youth & teen afterschool program, GIAC is home to a robust senior program in which seniors can sign up for monthly activities at free or low cost and experience social outings to improve their quality of life, health, and well-being. Among many other programs, GIAC also hosts the Hospitality Employment Training Program. This program is designed to assist adults with securing permanent employment in the hospitality/customer service field.

GIAC operates the Alex Haley Municipal Pool (pictured above), runs a championship boxing program, organizes the City of Ithaca’s adult and teen summer basketball leagues, and manages a social justice fund. In addition to expanded programming, GIAC has also grown to be a hub for other organizations looking to start up and collaborate. Both the Multicultural Resource Center and the Drop-In Children’s Center got their start within GIAC’s walls. Many other organizations make use of the space GIAC has to offer for educational forums, community meetings, recreation, and educational programs, and small gatherings. GIAC, too, uses its space to gather with the community for large events centered on equity and justice including the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast, and the Harvest Festival dinner.

GIAC Seniors on an outdoor bike ride at Cass Park.

Throughout the years, GIAC has been dedicated to serving Ithaca’s “at-risk” community, those who are disenfranchised or discriminated against due to race, identity, ethnicity, and socio-economic status. The center’s programs include services dedicated to improving the quality of life for the people we serve; advocating for the rights and needs of youth, families, underrepresented, and disenfranchised populations; providing structured employment training opportunities for at-risk youth and adults; and fighting against oppression and intimidation in our community. GIAC is truly “A Place to Be Me.”

If you would like to donate to support the work that GIAC does, please feel free to send us a check or stop by GIAC at 301 W. Court Street, Ithaca, to drop it off. We also accept Venmo (GIAC-Ithaca) or you can use this PayPal link.

Note: GreenStar shoppers can make a monetary donation at checkout to support GIAC’s work throughout the month of April 2022, and direct more donations to GIAC when they bring their own bag. Let your cashier know you’d like to donate to Positive Change!