Ray Weaver, Director of PEAKS

Ray joined Cooperative Extension in 2010 as a Community Educator, informing residents in Tompkins County about the various alternative transportation options available to them. Ray implemented several public awareness events relating to sustainable transportation such as CarShare on the Commons, which celebrated Ithaca CarShare and the rideshare platform Zimride, Bike to Work Day, which saw nearly 500 individuals commute to work in Ithaca via bicycle, World Car-Free Day, which awarded individuals with free bus passes for using public transit that day and many other activities. Ray has spoken at several conferences throughout New York State about sustainable transportation, specifically around education and community engagement. He has been published by the National Center for Senior Transportation, a program of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration and the U.S. Administration on Aging for examining senior drivers and their attitudes towards transportation barriers, and has written nearly $1,000,000.00 in funding proposals to continue transportation education in Upstate New York.

Ray became more involved in Fundraising and Event Management in 2011 when he was asked to be the Marketing Coordinator for the Tough Turtle, Ithaca’s first 5K obstacle course. Through various social media, print and broadcast marketing initiatives, this first-year event sold out in under 15 hours, and raised nearly $70,000 dollars. Shortly thereafter, Ray was asked to oversee an annual 5K race for 4-H Youth Development, a fundraiser that typically had 100 participants and raised $1,500. By making a few small changes to the event, it grew to having over 600 runners and raising nearly $10,000 that year. Seeing the interest and popularity in these types of events, Ray took a leap of faith and organized a glow-in-the-dark 5K race, once of the first of its kind nationwide. This race was one of the largest ever in Ithaca with nearly 2,400 runners and raised approximately $30,000. In addition to 5K races, Ray has organized other events such as benefit dinners, community service events and capital campaigns.

Ray brings his campus and community connections to the table as the new Director of Peaks and is looking forward to helping individuals accomplish their crowdfunding and fundraising goals using the Peaks Platform!

Pat Haggerty, Web Developer 

Pat’s desire to help great organizations utilize technology to improve their operations led him to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County where he builds websites and open source web applications. Pat balances his time spent working with computers with time spent outside gardening and learning about the plants, mushrooms, and animals of the Finger Lakes.  In another life, he played drums in a rock and roll band.

Emma Frisch, Past Director & Co-Founder

Emma Frisch is the Co-Founder and first Director of PEAKS, a crowdfunding platform that provides changemakers with easy and affordable tools and services to fund the change they wish to see in the world. As a changemaker and entrepreneur herself, Emma’s experience is rooted in food systems research and development. She has worked at every stage of the value chain, from seed to plate; from managing a small farm and CSA program at Millstone Farm in Connecticut to supporting direct, rural-to-urban markets through participatory research with the Food and Agriculture Organization in Kenya, Fair Food Philly, and as a Fulbright Scholar with EkoRural and the Cana.

Emma graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania (’06) with a BA in Environmental Studies and Public Health, and a concentration in Food Studies. As part of her focus on farm-to-institution in urban areas, she co-founded FarmEcology, a student-led local food group that works closely with regional farmers and corporate food service providers to make fresh, healthy food available on campus. For the past ten years, Emma has been committed to re-building healthy food systems through her work with the Food and Agriculture Organization in Kenya (2005), Fair Food Philly (2006), Millstone Farm in CT (2007 and 2009), the Majora Carter Group in NYC (2010), as co-creator of La Buena Onda Cafe in Nicaragua (2010-2012), and the Collaborative Crop Research Program at Cornell University (2011-2012). In 2007 she traveled to Ecuador as a Fulbright scholar, where she collaborated with EkoRural on a long-term study of the Canastas Comunitarias, an urban-rural grassroots movement for healthy, affordable food. In 2009, Emma became a founding member of Groundswell International, and co-founded Peaks Over Poverty (Peaks). She worked with Cornell Cooperative Extension to expand Peaks as a resource for building capital, community and capacity for entrepreneurial and socially minded programs in the Finger Lakes region of New York. In addition, as a self-taught chef, Emma opened La Buena Onda Cafe in Nicaragua, and now authors the food blog Cayuga St. Kitchen; her most recent adventure – a cooking show! She’s also an identical twin and an outdoor-lover, and spends most of her free time scaling any cliff she can find.

They took Peaks to new heights…!


    In partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension, PEAKS supports changemakers working in five program areas.