Thank You, Cornell Student-Athletes!

Cornell University’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) this week announced that its “Spike for Sophie” mental health fundraising event in December collected $1,234.00 in donations to The Sophie Fund.

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Sophie Jones of The Sophie Fund (center) with SAAC members at “Spike for Sophie”

“The event was a huge success!” said Morgan Chall ’19, a varsity gymnast, who is SAAC co-president and the NCAA Ivy League SAAC representative. “We had an awesome turnout with a little over 100 student-athletes, administrators, non-student-athletes and strength coaches rolling through throughout the event. Aside from everyone coming together to support a worthy cause, it was a really fun event that brought together the Cornell community through a shared love of sports.”

The “Spike for Sophie” spikeball tournament and related “Bench Press for Sophie” took place on December 5 at Cornell campus sports facilities. The event was co-sponsored by SAAC, Cornell Minds Matter, the Spikeball Club, Athlete Ally (LGBTQ+ inclusion in sports), and the Red Key Athlete Honors Society. The event stemmed from an NCAA Division 1 SAAC focus on mental health awareness in athletics during 2018.

“We chose The Sophie Fund because it allowed us the opportunity to give back to a local Ithaca organization fighting a cause our athletic community cares deeply about,” said Chall, a student in Global and Public Health Sciences. “Not only was it a fun and exciting afternoon, but the event was a huge success, by uniting students, student-athletes, faculty and athletic administrators over an important public health issue.”

Chall said that the event highlighted SAAC’s #Don’tBearItAlone campaign “by reminding every member of the athletic community the importance of taking care of your mental health.” She added: “’Spike for Sophie’ showed the Cornell and Ithaca community that decreasing the stigma against mental health and improving resources especially within the athletic community is an important issue we all take very seriously. The wide range of support from faculty to students showed just that.”

Scott MacLeod, a co-founder of The Sophie Fund, said the organization was grateful to receive the donation, noting that it would help support mental health initiatives aiding young people in the greater Ithaca community. “The Sophie Fund expresses its truly heartfelt thanks to the Cornell Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and other student groups for spreading awareness and knowledge about mental health and providing hope to fellow students who may be struggling. Cornell students continue to be champions for mental health both on campus and off campus.”

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Brandon Womack ’19 and Eli Bienstock ’17, and Cornell University Athletic Director Andy Noel at “Spike for Sophie”

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Photo Credits: Courtesy Sophie Jones and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee

How Gimme! Coffee Gives Back

To enter Gimme! is to arrive in coffee heaven. With neighborhood landmarks on State Street, Cayuga Street, and beyond, Gimme! Coffee cafes are beacons of the artisanal coffee movement where, according to the New York Times, “the drinks reflect an obsession with each detail of the journey from farm to cup and an almost cultish pride in the results.”

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Baristas of Gimme! Coffee on State Street

Since opening its Fall Creek coffee bar in 2000, Gimme! has expanded to three other Ithaca locations, to Trumansburg, and to Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn’s Williamsburg district in New York City—and Gimme! runs a brisk wholesale and online retail trade as well. The aficionados are impressed: magazines count Gimme! among the “top 10 U.S. coffee bars” and “top 10 coffee shops in Manhattan.” The Good Food Awards have honored Gimme! three times.

Beyond the aroma of a perfectly balanced expresso, Gimme! also gets credit for being a good neighbor. For years, Gimme! has helped schools, sports teams, and various nonprofits with Gimme! fundraisers that allow organizations to keep 45 percent of their sales of Gimme! coffees. Last year, Gimme! launched a Rally Cause Coffee program, in which it donates a dollar of every bag sold of its Rally coffee to community nonprofit organizations that align with Gimme!’s mission.

Gimme! selected The Sophie Fund to benefit from its Rally donations for the third quarter of 2018—July through September. (The other recipient is the New York City chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.) Selling in-store or online at $16.50 for a 12-ounce bag, Gimme!’s Rally coffee is a mild and smooth Fair Trade Organic blend with toasted almond, dried cherry, and milk chocolate notes.

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The Rally campaign has raised more than $3,200 in the past year, with donations going to organizations such as Ithaca Welcomes Refugees, Foodnet Meals on Wheels, Hospicare, The Advocacy Center, and the Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming.

In choosing The Sophie Fund, Amina Omari, Gimme!’s chief operating officer, noted that several Gimme! managers and staffers attended a Mental Health First Aid training sponsored by The Sophie Fund earlier this year. “Mental health is an issue that touches all of us, and we heartily support The Sophie Fund’s mission to improve and support the mental health of our community,” she said.

Omari said that while philanthropy has always been part of Gimme!’s mission, it is also determined to help strengthen the communities it serves:

“During these challenging times, we wanted to help shine a light on, and bring support to, the wide variety of community organizations who are working to make a positive impact in the world. Sustainability is a core part of our mission, and for us that includes a commitment to sustainable community.  Our cafes have always been a community space, where people of all kinds meet, interact, and engage. We’re part of the community, and the community is important to us!”

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—By Sophie Jones

Sophie Jones, an intern at The Sophie Fund, is a junior at Cornell University majoring in psychology and minoring in visual studies. She skates on the Synchronized Skating Team and volunteers with the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.

This Summer, On Instagram!

Attention Instagram fans! Meet Sophie Jones, a rising junior at Cornell University who is interning with The Sophie Fund and taking over our Instagramming for the summer. Sophie majors in psychology, minors in visual studies, skates on the Synchronized Skating Team, and volunteers with the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. You might find her at the Firefly Music Festival, catching Bojack Horseman on Netflix, or sampling the culinary delights of Louie’s Lunch Truck. Sophie is a mental health advocate, and her Instagram posts strive to celebrate the beauty of life in Ithaca and environs. Send her your ideas for images at thesophiefund2016@gmail.com.

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