Ithaca Health Fund

The Ithaca Health Fund program helps those in need with the costs of emergency medical or dental expenses and supports health and wellness efforts by our community partners.

  • The Ithaca Health Fund is a discretionary grant program that provides emergency medical assistance to those with financial need.
  • The Ithaca Health Fund is a unique program:
    • funded by the donations of community members to support the communities we live in
    • it’s an innovative, local, grassroots approach to our nation’s healthcare crisis.
  • Grants are available to income-qualified people with specific needs addressed by the grant categories offered through the Health Fund.
  • IHA staff and Finance Committee members then assess the bill(s) for grant eligibility, based on IHA grant categories, and grant considerations. The applicant and health care provider may be contacted for further information in the process of grant review. This may require that the applicant authorize Health Alliance staff to discuss their bills with providers. Review of grants may take up to one month to complete.


Ithaca Health Fund (IHF) grant categories are evaluated annually by the Finance Committee of the Board; they are maintained and expanded depending on donations to the program. Charitable community contributions are the Fund’s sole source of support.

The Health Fund offers grants that provide direct assistance in two categories of health care: Treatment Grants and Diagnostic Grants.

Treatment Grants

An individual applicant may receive assistance from more than one Treatment Grant category, up to a maxiumum of $2,000 in one year. Grants are available for uninsured emergency expenses incurred within these grant categories, each of which has a maximum grant amount.

Grant Category Maximum Grant per beneficiary per year Conditions
Broken Bones (BB) $2,000 Fractures and breaks only
Emergency Stitches (ES) $1,000 Accidental lacerations or punctures only
Dental Root Canal (RC) $200
Dental Extraction of Natural Tooth (DE) $80 Maximum grant $150 for 2 or more teeth
Traditional Chinese Medicine: Herbal Remedies(CC) $300 For serious, chronic, internal medical disorders
Rabies Postexposure Inoculation Series $600 When not covered by public agency

IHF Treatment Grant payments in these categories are made only for charges incurred by income-qualified individuals who are residents of Tompkins, Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Schuyler, and Tioga Counties in New York State. You can call the Health Alliance office if you wonder if your income may qualify.

Anyone seeking an Ithaca Health Fund Treatment Grant must complete a grant application, including an outstanding bill for a service that matches one of the categories above; a statement of medical necessity, preferably from an Ithaca Free Clinic healthcare provider; proof of income; proof of assistance or payment from other sources; and a declaration of assets valued more than $2,000. Treatment grants are paid to the healthcare provider only, except in specific circumstances of dental care for offices that only accept up-front payments.

The Ithaca Health Alliance values transparency and accessibility in all of its programs. Alliance staff and financial advocate volunteers will help with IHF applications and related paperwork, and will assist with financial assistance applications to healthcare providers, and all information about the program is available to applicants. Please contact IHA for information about Treatment Grants or to make an appointment with one of our financial advocates about outstanding bills or medications you cannot afford.

Diagnostic Grants

Ithaca Health Fund Diagnostic Grants pay for diagnostic blood work or imaging tests ordered at Ithaca Free Clinic, by an IFC provider for an IFC patient. Diagnostic Grants are available only when pre-approved by Ithaca Health Alliance staff. Through these grants, the Health Alliance seeks to ensure that people who have no insurance and cannot afford these tests are able to receive them and assist IFC volunteer practitioners as they provide a high standard of care.