Meet The Sophie Fund – A New BYOB Recipient

It’s time to introduce the three local not-for-profits who will be the recipients of our Bring Your Own Bag – Use It for Good donations for the months of October, November, and December — Get Your GreenBack Tompkins, the SPCA of Tompkins County, and the Sophie Fund.

Our BYOB program encourages our shoppers to bring their own bags by providing them with a token worth 5¢ that they are able to donate to one of the chosen organizations. At the end of the quarter, we make a donation to the groups based on the number of tokens provided by our customers.

Each month we will feature one of the organizations on our blog. This month learn about The Sophie Fund.

The Sophie Fund supports mental health initiatives aiding young people in the greater Ithaca community. It was established in 2016 in memory of Sophie Hack MacLeod, a Cornell University art student who took her own life amid a struggle with depression and anxiety.

One of The Sophie Fund’s activities is organizing the Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest on the Commons to help raise awareness about mental health. Funds raised through this year’s contest will be donated to support local suicide prevention efforts. Another project is the “Readings on Mental Health” author series at Buffalo Street Books, which is sponsored by the Mental Health Association in Tompkins County and made possible by a grant from The Sophie Fund. The Sophie Fund works as an advocate for improved mental health policies. In April, it spearheaded the adoption of The Watershed Declaration, a pledge by 18 community stakeholders to intensify local suicide prevention efforts.

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick and the Tompkins County Legislature issued proclamations supporting The Watershed Declaration. The declaration helped inspire the establishment last July of the Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition by more than 40 local healthcare leaders.

Sophie was born in Johannesburg and spent her childhood living in South Africa, then France, and eventually Egypt. But she adopted Ithaca as her hometown, spending five summers in the violin program of the Suzuki Institutes at Ithaca College and then enrolling at Cornell in 2010.

While on a health leave of absence from school, Sophie’s passion for baking and her distinctive creative talent merged into a professional pursuit in the local culinary arts. She ran the dessert counter at Madeline’s Restaurant for a year and a half; at Argos Inn colleagues affectionately dubbed her “the chemist” for her craft cocktail concoctions. She hoped to open her own bakery after completing her Cornell degree. To honor her life and support others struggling with mental disorders, Sophie’s family and friends set up The Sophie Fund at the Community Foundation of Tompkins County.

For more information, go to www.thesophiefund.org or email thesophiefund2016@gmail.com.