Ithaca Alternative Gift Fair

The following information comes from organizers of the Ithaca Alternative Gift Fair, which offers a waste-free gift alternative in the form of donations to local organizations.

The Ithaca Alternative Gift Fair will be held on December 1, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., in the gymnasium at Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC), 301 W Court St, Ithaca, NY. This year’s fair hosts local not-for-profit organizations and features many of gifts of charitable donations.

Alternative Gift Fairs are a way to promote the gift-giving tradition of the holiday season without the wastefulness and commercialization that conventional shopping can promote. Alternative gifts prioritize meaning over materials. There are other options for thoughtful holiday gifts, like homemade or handmade gifts, or a gift of time or experience, like a meal or an outing. These alternative gifts exist as a compliment to the excellent locally owned shops that offer fine options to purchase meaningful physical gifts, and supporting our local businesses is a critical part of our local economic sustainability.

The fair offers holiday shoppers an easy way to buy gifts of charitable donations and to support their favorite causes. Each participating organization offers a variety of meaningful “gifts of help”. Shoppers receive inserts from the organizations that identify their donations, and Acorn Designs cards to go along with the inserts (while supplies last).

Since its start in 2004, the Ithaca Alternative Gift Fair has brought in over $600,000 for local organizations. To be eligible, organizations must have a 501(c)(3) designation, an active local presence, and an annual budget of no more than $2 million.

The 2018 IAGF will be different from previous years in that we no longer have a fiscal sponsor. We are exploring options for how to continue the event either without a fiscal sponsor, or with a new one. At the IAGF on December 1, community members, “shoppers,” will have the opportunity to make donations directly to participating organizations, rather than making one payment for all of their donations, as was the case at previous gift fairs. Most non-profit organization now have the ability to accept donations directly from individuals via swiping a card to a reader on a mobile device, on the organization’s website, or via cash or check. Direct donations were far more difficult for non-profit organizations when we first started the IAGF, and thus the one payment solution was necessary, but also brought a substantial workload on the volunteer organizers and fiscal sponsor.

Online applications are be available at For more information, contact the IAGF Organizing Committee at

This is a 100% volunteer effort. Contact us if you would like to get involved.

Share the 2018 IAGF Facebook event page.

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  •  December 1, 2018
     12:00 pm - 5:00 pm