The following is a republished press release … to submit community announcements to The Voice, contact us at

ITHACA– Tompkins Trust Company honored five individuals and six local non-profit organizations with “James J. Byrnes Awards for Excellence” for their outstanding volunteer service to the community.

Eleven thousand dollars was donated to local charitable organizations from the bank’s endowment fund through the Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County. The honorees each designated their $1,000 award to not-for-profit organizations of their choice.

This year’s individual honorees are Donna Bernhart of Groton, Martha Frommelt of Ithaca, Robert Spaulding of Ithaca, Sarla Aneja of Ithaca, and Sybil Daniels of Ithaca. The group honorees are the combined efforts of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ithaca and Tompkins County’s Male Volunteers, the Cancer Resource Center’s Client Support Volunteers, the Friendship Donation Network’s Volunteers, the Ithaca Free Clinic’s Health Care Providers Volunteers, the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s Family to Family Instructors, and the Talking Circle Facilitators.

Tompkins Trust Company President/CEO Gregory J. Hartz and Legacy Foundation President James Brown presented the awards at a reception at the bank’s main office on Monday (May 18).

“The Trust Company, through the Legacy Foundation, is proud to honor and support the work of this year’s recipients,” said Hartz. “Their contributions continue to have a positive impact in our community and demonstrate the mission of the Foundation by improving the quality of life for so many here.”

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 237 individuals or groups with awards totaling more than $337,000.

A capsule look at this year’s recipients:

— Donna Bernhart, for her commitment to the Groton Food Pantry.

— Martha Frommelt, for her dedication and volunteer efforts to the Ithaca Public Education Initiative and the Fine Arts Boost Group.

— Robert Spaulding, for his commitment and hard work with the Slaterville Ambulance.

— Sarla Aneja, for her dedication to the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.

Sybil Daniels, for her continuous volunteer efforts to the GIAC Senior Program.

Ithaca Free Clinic’s Health Care Provider Volunteers, for their commitment to improving the mental and physical health of the individuals in our community.

— Friendship Donation Network, for their dedication to eliminate food waste locally.

— Big Brothers Big Sisters Male Volunteers, for their volunteer efforts to better the youth of Tompkins County.

National Alliance on Mental Illness’s Family to Family Instructors, for their volunteer efforts helping Tompkins County residents.

Talking Circle Facilitators, for their continuous volunteer efforts to educate our community on race and racism.

Tompkins Trust Company has 15 locations in Tompkins County, Cortland and Auburn. Bank services include complete lines of consumer deposit accounts and loans, business accounts and loans, as well as trust and investment services and leasing. Insurance services are offered through Tompkins Insurance Agencies, and wealth management services are offered through Tompkins Financial Advisors. Further information about the bank is available at

Follow The Ithaca Voice on Facebook | Twitter

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.