Academic journal article Human Ecology

ROOTS IN SERVICE: George Ferrari '84 Defines Dedication to Community

Academic journal article Human Ecology

ROOTS IN SERVICE: George Ferrari '84 Defines Dedication to Community

Article excerpt

George Ferrari '84, who earned his undergraduate degree in Human Development and Family Studies, began his academic life at Cornell in a place that could not have been more different from the Human Ecology program: The School of Engineering.

"I took one of those personality tests and when I saw the results I thought, 'What in the world am I doing in engineering?'" he recalled.

He changed his major, but his work today reflects a particular kind of engineering--the engineering of community.

Ferrari is the chief executive officer of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, an organization that provides philanthropic support and community engagement opportunities that enhance the lives of those who live and work in Tompkins County.

"I love my job," he said. "We provide the tools and relationships to help people engage in philanthropy as they see fit, to manifest their values. Money is not the only tool--we do it with information about our communities, and with social capital."

Ferrari grew up in Binghamton, N.Y., and was the second person in his family to attend college. He began his non-profit work in 1983, when he took a field work assignment in the Ithaca community at Suicide Prevention and Crisis Service.

"I grew up influenced by Catholic social teaching," he explained. "I took it as a personal obligation that I should be of service to others. We all live in a context, a community, and we all need to act in solidarity with others."

"At Cornell, I learned that it wasn't just about knowledge--it was about the application of knowledge, putting knowledge to work in the service of addressing the needs of people," he said. …

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