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IAED announces public launch of five-year investment initiative


Heather McDaniel, president of the Ithaca Area Economic Development (IAED), on Sept. 21 addressed the crowd as she announced the public launch of IAED’s five-year investment initiative called Th!nk Tompkins. McDaniel also used her remarks at Tompkins Community Bank to thank current investors for their support. (Photo credit: IAED)

ITHACA, N.Y. — Ithaca Area Economic Development (IAED) announced the public launch of its five-year investment initiative — Th!nk Tompkins — on Sept. 21 during a private reception held at Tompkins Community Bank.

In the presentation, IAED revealed that it secured 65 percent of its $2.1 million goal and is hopeful to hit its mark over the next few months. During the reception, IAED also recognized existing quiet-phase investors, specifically “Platinum Investors” of more than $50,000, including Cornell University.

The organization also issued a call to action for other businesses to support the Th!nk Tompkins initiative by making their own pledges, per the IAED.

“Cornell is so pleased to continue to support IAED’s critical work of fostering economic growth and workforce development in Tompkins County,” Joel Malina, Cornell’s VP for university relations, said in an IAED news release. “Our five-year commitment of $460,000 is an integral part of Cornell’s investment in the county and reflects our ongoing commitment to enhancing opportunity and prosperity for our region and its residents.”

In its case statement for investment, IAED presented the theme “What Does IAED Do” by way of three strategic priorities: Direct services to businesses, workforce development, and economic development leadership. All three aspects are aimed at “building a thriving and sustainable economy,” it says.

IAED says it is powered by a shared revenue model. Fee-based income, county government, and employer investments support IAED in five-year cycles.

The Th!nk Tompkins initiative will run from 2024-2028 and includes “ambitious” goals in jobs, payroll, and private investment. It also “raises the bar” on workforce development, housing, and renewable energy.

“Our investors empower us to deliver customized economic development solutions in support of business growth and retention in Ithaca, Tompkins County, and Central New York,” Heather McDaniel, president of IAED, said in the release. “We are committed to providing direct services — such as technical assistance, loans, and incentives — workforce training, and thought and process leadership. The work that we do every day can be measured by the economic impact to this community.”


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