Past Projects

The Center for Transformative Action started in 1971 as the Center for Religion, Ethics and Social Policy (CRESP). Over the past forty years we have been home to a number of projects, listed below. Some of them have become independent non-profit organizations. This timeline includes all projects of CRESP/CTA since 1971.  Some of them are still current.  To view all of our current projects' individual pages, please click here or follow the links from the pop up menu above.

1971 Center for Religion, Ethics, and Social Policy (CRESP) becomes a non-profit organization affiliated with Cornell University.

1972 Learning Web--became independent in 1996: The Learning Web is dedicated to providing hands-on experiential education through the age-old mentor-apprentice model. This one-to-one relationship teaches young people valuable job and life skills and empowers them through increased self-awareness and self-esteem to make a successful transition to the world of adult roles and responsibilities.  You can learn more about their work here.

1974–present Anne Carry Durland Memorial Alternatives Library: Since 1974 this collection has been providing resources on contemporary issues and ideas as well as philosophical and spiritual studies usually unavailable in research and public libraries. Although eclectic in nature, our books, audio tapes, CDs, periodicals, audio books, video tapes and DVDs share a combined emphasis on individual, social, and ecological awareness and transformation. The library also offers two public computer terminals with internet access. The Alternatives Library networks with campus and community agencies involved in many forms of local, regional, and global activism. Bringing together people and resources is the library’s mission. You can learn more about their work here.

1974-1994 (joined CRESP in 1975) Eco-Justice: Education for a holistic perspective on the planetary crisis of resource depletion, the rich-poor gap, and ecological destruction.

1975-present Committee on U.S.-Latin American Relations (CUSLAR) Originally formed as student group in early 1960’s.  CUSLAR supports the right of the people of Latin America and the Caribbean to self-determination and control over decisions that affect their lives and communities. CUSLAR’s educational programming, which includes a regular film series at Cornell University, hosting speakers, organizing an annual Spanish for Activists Camp, and holding other community events, constitutes the core of the organization’s work toward its mission. In addition, CUSLAR offers Spanish, Portuguese and Spanish for Families classes in spring, summer and fall to students and the broader community in Tompkins County.You can learn more about their work here.

1977-1984 Cornell Corporate Responsibilities Project

1979 Displaced Homemakers Center (Now the Women’s Opportunity Center-became independent in 1995): Support for women in finding self-help solutions to emotional, legal and employment problems. You can learn more about their work here.

1979-1983 Mutuality in Mission

1979 Center for Local Food & Agriculture: Research, education and action projects for a sustainable regional food economy. Founded AGORA as micro-economic development center.

1979-1981 Prison Research Education Action Program

1982 Centerpeace: Published annually the Cornell Peace and Social Justice Catalog and the Peace and Social Justice Group Directory.

1983 Community Dispute Resolution Center--became independent in 1991: Free mediation services to enable cooperative conflict resolution. You can learn more about their work here.

1985 Citizens Network for Common Security

1986 Mediator Ethos Research Project

1986 Youth Scoops-Ben and Jerry’s Store (1988 CRESP Owned): This popular ice cream parlor provided employment and on-the job management training for young people.

1989 Multicultural Resource Center--became independent in 1998: offer a number of programs and cultural celebrations throughout the year, diversity workshops and trainings, and a lending library with resources on undoing racism and diversity education. You can learn more about their work here.  

1989 Diet/Weight Liberation Project: Public forums, workshops and newsletters aimed at preventing eating disorders and promoting size acceptance.

1991-present EcoVillage (now the EcoVillage Center for Sustainability Education under CTA). You can learn more about their work here. 

1991-1994 OIKOS: Drawing from fields as diverse as conservation biology and indigenous wisdom, this project promoted long-term practical approaches to renew and heal the Earth.

1995 Kenyan Human Rights Initiative: Organized to free ex-Cornell student and “prisoner of conscience,” Koigi wa Wamwere, from prison in Kenya.

1996-1999 EcoYoff (became CRESP Senegal in 1999-2009): Operated as a laboratory for the sustainable development of an eco community.

1996-2009 EcoPartners--became Centro Alternativo Rural El Limon in 2006.  A rural sustainable development project assisting with technology and development in El Limon, Dominican Republic. You can learn more about their work here.

1996-2009 Seeds of Simplicity (later Simple Living America): Develops curricula to assist families and schools in helping children resist consumer culture.

1999-2002 Community WellNet

1999-2002 NY SEAC (New York Student Environmental Action Coalition) was a chapter of national SEAC, a national network of youth and student groups working for environmental justice.

1999-2004 United Progressives Alumni: Providing Cornell alumni with a platform to infuse progressive values into Cornell administrators’ policy decisions.

1999-2005 ReadingWorks: Provided an alternative educational program that reached under-served students in the Ithaca City School District.

2000-2005 Coalition for the Homeless (began 1998): Coalition for the Homeless became an organization in 1998 but wasn’t a CRESP project until 2000.

2001-present Ithaca City of Asylum: ICOA is part of a worldwide network of Cities of Asylum, supporting writers whose works are suppressed, whose lives are threatened, whose cultures are vanishing, and whose languages are endangered. You can learn more about their work here.

2002 Books Thru Bars of Ithaca--became independent in 2005: A volunteer-run community-based organization that sends books and other reading materials to inmates free of charge throughout the counter. You can learn more about their work here.

2002-2005 Common Chords Chorus: A mixed-voice, non-auditioned adult chorus, composed of members and friends of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

2002-2009 Centro de Idiomas: a Spanish language school and internship program in Nueva Segovia, Nicargua.

2002 Engineers for a Sustainable World--moved to new fiscal sponsor, the University of California-Merced, in 2011:  ESW is comprised of students, university faculty and professionals who are dedicated to building a more sustainable world for current and future generations. You can learn more about their work here.

2002 Take Back Your Time --moved to new fiscal sponsor in  Washington State in 2011: A grassroots project to confront the epidemic of over-work, over-scheduling and time pressure that has led to stress-filled lives for millions of Americans.  You can learn more about their work here.

2002-2012 Tompkins County Workers Center--became an independent 501(c)3 in 2012. The Mission of the Tompkins County Workers’ Center is to stand up with all people treated unfairly at work or faced with critical poverty, racial, housing, health care or other social and economic issues. We will support, advocate for, and seek to empower each other to create a more just community and world. Visit their website for more info.  

2003 Positive News USA--moved to a new fiscal sponsor in California in 2011: Positive News is a free newspaper publishing news from around the world in the areas of sustainability, social equality, education and happiness with a clear message that "another world is possible." You can learn more about their work here.

2003-2010 TheocracyWatch: raised awareness about the pervasive role of the Religious Right in the U.S. government.

2003-present Vitamin L Project (originated in 1989) The purpose of the Vitamin L project is to spread love and goodwill through music... to uplift and inspire young people and encourage positive character development, through music. The objective is that the listeners will absorb the ideas we present and integrate them so that these ideas can help them make healthy choices and have healthy relationships with themselves and others. Our mission is to reach and positively influence as many children as possible. You can learn more about their work here. 

Fall 2006 CRESP begins to use the name “CRESP Center for Transformative Action”

May 2009 CRESP amends certificate of incorporation with NYS and is now the Center for Transformative Action.

2009-2011 Social Business Consulting Group--now a Cornell student organization: The Social Business Consulting Group is an undergraduate student-run organization committed to furthering the causes of a variety of social entrepreneurs. You can learn more about their work here.

2009-2010 Family Development Credential is now at the university of Connecticut: The FDC program collaborates with agencies to teach family workers how to coach families to set and reach their goals for healthy self-reliance. You can learn more about their work here.

2010-2012 Life Writing Project: The Life Writing Project is now at the University of Binghamton. It aims to reconnect us to our original selves, to each other, to the larger universe we inhabit, and to our purpose to serve in some important way.  We enliven these connections in life writing workshops and by training life writing coaches.Myra Sabir (third from the left), founder of the Life Writing Project, is now an assistant professor at Binghamton University. She has brought the Life Writing Project with her. To learn more, please contact her at

2011-2012 The Relationship Foundation--is now an independent organization: The Relationship Foundation is an educational initiative on the forefront of a new approach to social and emotional learning (SEL). Our goal is to introduce relationship education as an essential component of the learning process. Recent studies show that with Social and Emotional Learning students’ behavior improves as well as their academic abilities and test scores. You can learn more about their work here.

2012-present From Here:Making our Future: Located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, From Here is working toward alternative economic practices that support cooperation, ecological sustainability, and mutualism. You can learn more about their work here.

2012-present The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (JAFSCD), also known as the "Food Systems Journal," is the world's only peer-reviewed, applied research journal on food system-based community development. You can learn more about their work here.

2012-present Buffalo Street Bookmarks: Buffalo Street Bookmarks is one of CTA's newest Project Partners and is a literary arts center housed at the community-owned bookstore Buffalo Street Books. You can learn more about their work here.

2012-present Local Investing Resource Center: The mission of the Local Investing Resource Center is to help expand local investment into small businesses and non profits by creating a website that will support local investors and their networks nationwide.  This website creates a comprehensive online resource center that educats local investors and investees, provides forums for collaboration, advocates for local investing in the media and facilitates the creation and advancement of local investor clubs and networks around the country. 

2012-present Wood's Earth Living Classroom fosters community relationships to cultivate an underdeveloped yet crucial component of the Ithaca area food system—sourcing healthy, local food for our public schools. We believe that youth and community can actively build a more sustainable, cohesive food system by building partnerships to improve school food.

2012-present The Sustainability Center is creating a physical space in the center of Ithaca from which to showcase and promote community-wide sustainability efforts in Tompkins County, through public engagement, service learning, and partnership with local green businesses, non-profits and leaders in the field.