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St. James A.M.E. Zion Church Capital Restoration Campaign

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History: St. James A.M.E. Zion Church, Ithaca, NY is listed on the New York State and National  Registers of Historic Places. Its significance to the Black community began during the anti-slavery movements of the mid-19th century and persists to the present. Figures such as  Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass are known to have visited St. James. Highly significant  Black Greek organizations such as the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. trace their origins to St. James. Members of those organizations used the Church as a meeting site. It is among the first A.M.E. Zion Black churches in the nation, chartered in 1833. The original stone meeting house is still visible in its foundation. 

Capital Restoration Campaign:

Unfortunately, St. James is in urgent need of immediate repairs and significant restoration work that adheres to historic preservation standards. To preserve this landmark symbol in the history of Black struggle and in the Finger Lakes’ rich map toward freedom and abolition, we need your help!

Immediate repairs needed include: 

  1. fixing a leaking roof 
  2. repairing interior and exterior wall and wainscoting damage from leaking roof to  avoid dry rot 
  3. remodeling a currently non-functioning kitchen to enable commissary, professional-grade kitchen for community use
  4. installation of gutter on back side of church building to avoid water damage 

Contractor bids for these items are approximately $265,000.

St. James is also looking to join Ithaca’s Green New Deal by electrifying the church’s heating system!

We are working with Blocpower to find supplemental grants to support this work. However, the church is still expected to finance approximately $35,000 for the insulation and heating system. 

  1. updating the heating system from an archaic steam system, which left the church without heat for a two week period last winter, to air source units 
  2. replacing non-functioning automatic air vent in boiler room  
  3. adding insulation to the walls of the church, which currently does not exist.

No amount is too small! Even a $5 donation will be uplifted in our prayers and services. 

If your heart moves you in a bigger way, we invite you to become a St. James Capital Campaign Sponsor. 

We have five sponsorship levels: 
Friends of St. James: $1-99
Partners of St. James: $100-$999
Bronze Sponsor $1,000-$2,999
Silver Sponsor $3,000-$4,999
Gold Sponsor $5,000-infinity

Sponsors and their organizational logos will be added to our website and regularly acknowledged in our publicity, services, and prayers.



Josephine McAllister

Dermatology Associates of Ithaca

October 9, 2023

Amount Donated

Margaret Coleman

December 18, 2023

Amount Donated

Yossi Bronsnick

Taitem Engineering

October 30, 2023

Amount Donated

Eugene Yarussi


October 12, 2023

Amount Donated

Hope Hagood

October 16, 2023

Amount Donated

Peter Robinson

October 14, 2023

Amount Donated

Tina Nilsen-Hodges

New Roots Charter School

October 12, 2023

Amount Donated

Nia Nunn

October 6, 2023

Amount Donated
Anonymous User


October 6, 2023

Amount Donated

Christine Carter

October 7, 2023

Amount Donated

Bertrand and Dr. Peggy Odom-Reed

October 8, 2023

Amount Donated

Brianna Weems

October 12, 2023

Amount Donated

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