Donate to The Sophie Fund: Our 2023 Appeal

Please consider making a donation today to support The Sophie Fund’s work on mental health initiatives aiding young people in the Ithaca and Tompkins County communities. Every year, we mark Sophie’s birthday on August 23 by launching our annual fundraising appeal. Thank you for being part of the mental health mission!

To Make a Donation:

Click Here for The Sophie Fund Donation Page

Current goals in need of funding include:

—Tompkins County’s United in Kindness community events in October for Bullying Prevention Month (an art exhibition for students and a cyberbullying symposium for school staff and parents).

—Training in mental health and suicide prevention for Ithaca-area clinicians, social workers, and community members.

—Collaborating with Cornell University and Ithaca College student organizations to campaign against sexual assault on college campuses.

—Hosting our 8th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest on October 14 to raise awareness about mental health.

A few highlights of The Sophie Fund’s work since our last fundraising appeal in August 2022:

Zero Suicide Initiative. We sponsored two suicide prevention presentations for Tompkins County healthcare leaders in 2023 by Dr. Brian Ahmedani, one of the nation’s leading experts on the Zero Suicide Model.

Youth Suicide Prevention. We provided a grant to enable 60 local healthcare professionals to attend a two-day online training in youth suicide prevention featuring some of the nation’s leading experts hosted by The Wellness Institute.

New York States Suicide Prevention Council. We were appointed to serve on the Council, which advises the New York State Office of Mental Health on suicide prevention policies.

My Mental Health Resources. The Sophie Fund created a digital guide to local mental health resources in collaboration with Tompkins County Whole Health, Cayuga Health System, Guthrie Cortland, and the Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service.

Be Safe at College. We created a digital guide for local college students to raise awareness and provide resources related to the high prevalence of sexual assault on local local campuses.

A Parent’s Guide to College Student Mental Health. We published updated versions of a resource pamphlet to help families navigate mental health challenges their students attending local colleges may face.

Tompkins County Bullying Prevention Task Force. The Sophie Fund is the coordinator of a task force to combat youth bullying. In October 2022, the task force launched the first-ever United in Kindness series of community events and activities to raise awareness about bullying and domestic abuse and promote kindness and empathy.

United in Kindness. We awarded a grant to Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca to provide two United in Kindness events: a free community screening of the film Wonder and a symposium for parents on child online safety.

Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition. The Sophie Fund chairs the coalition’s healthcare work group, which is organizing a Town Hall to inform the community about Tompkins County’s Zero Suicide Initiative.

Fighting Sexual Assault. The Sophie Fund’s website published a series of in-depth articles highlighting the prevalence of sexual assault on the campuses of Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College.

Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest. We hosted the 7th annual contest in the Ithaca Commons. The contest brings together college and high school students, mental health providers, local musicians, business sponsors, and the general public to raise awareness about mental health.

Cupcake Button Campaign. The Sophie Fund organized its annual fundraising effort with college students to raise nearly $1,000 for the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Better Together for Mental Health. We co-sponsored the first-ever, county-wide, stigma-busting mental health festival, attended by some 600 people, which featured live bands, nature walks, face painting, free street food, and information tables with local mental health providers.

College Interns. We provided a Spring 2023 semester internship for Lyndsey Honor, an Ithaca College student, who wrote three excellent articles about mental health heroes for our website.

For more information on The Sophie Fund’s work, please visit:

Thank You!

Parent’s Guide to College Student Mental Health UPDATED

Do you have a child in college? These stressful times require parents to fully grasp the serious mental health challenges their students may face, and be equipped to provide support. Did you know that 95 percent of college students in a 2021 survey reported negative mental health symptoms because of the Covid-19 pandemic?  

DOWNLOAD: A Parent’s Guide to College Student Mental Health (PDF)  

Even before Covid, rates of depression and anxiety were high among college students. In fact, many students carry suicidal thoughts. Sexual assault is prevalent among college students. Hazing violence as an initiation rite at fraternities and some student organizations is a serious problem.  

All of these factors pose even greater risks for students who arrive on campus with a mental health or substance use disorder. College psychological counseling centers are typically overwhelmed by demands for appointments, and navigating community mental health services and insurance coverage can exacerbate stress. Failure to understand these realities of college student life today, and to help with issues that may arise, can lead to serious consequences.  

The Sophie Fund provides this updated guide to help parents—especially those whose children are attending college in Ithaca—better understand the challenges and how to deal with them. Please email us with feedback or suggestions at

DOWNLOAD: A Parent’s Guide to College Student Mental Health (PDF)