The following is a republished press release from Tompkins Trust Company and NOT written by the Ithaca Voice … click here to submit community announcements directly to The Voice, or contact us at 

ITHACA– Tompkins Trust Company honored six individuals and two groups with “James J. Byrnes Awards for Excellence” for their outstanding volunteer service to the community.

Twelve 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 $1,500 award to not-for-profit organizations of their choice.

This year’s honorees are the Child Development Council, Amy Little of Ithaca, Benay Rubenstein of Ithaca, the Dryden Youth Opportunity Fund, Nancy Myers of Ithaca, Janet Krizek of Ithaca, Roberta Wallitt of Ithaca, and Skip Hewitt of Ithaca.

Tompkins Trust Company President and CEO Greg Hartz and Legacy Foundation President James Brown presented the awards at a reception at the bank’s main office on Monday, June 26.

“I look forward to these awards every year; this is what being a community bank is about,” said Hartz. “The Trust Company, through the Legacy Foundation, is proud to honor and support the work of this year’s recipients. Their dedication to improving our community through volunteerism promoting the arts, culture, education, and simply helping those in need is truly extraordinary, and demonstrates the mission of the Foundation by improving the quality of life for so many in Tompkins County.”

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 253 individuals or groups with awards totaling more than $360,000.

A capsule look at this year’s recipients:

  • Child Development Council, for 50 years of volunteer leadership in Tompkins County.
  • Amy Little, for her work on the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Tompkins County.
  • Benay Rubenstein, for her volunteer work to found College Initiative Upstate, a program designed to create a path from prison to college for formerly incarcerated men and women.
  • Dryden Youth Opportunity Fund, for their efforts to provide resources for the long-term benefit of Dryden area youth, and to provide funding for innovative and creative programs and activities which go beyond the basic educational requirements of public education.
  • Nancy Myers, for her boundless energy and dedication to the Lansing Food Pantry and its clients.
  • Janet Krizek, for her 25 years of service as the coordinator of the Tompkins and Cortland County Special Olympics.
  • Roberta Wallitt, for the years she has dedicated to raising awareness of issues affecting members of our community.
  • Skip Hewitt, for many years of service across different organizations in our community.

Tompkins Trust Company has 13 locations in Tompkins County, Cortland, Auburn and Syracuse. 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

Featured image provided by Tompkins Trust Company.