The REACH Project Becomes a Certified Living Wage Employer

Founded in 2017 by Dr. Justine Waldman, The REACH Project Inc. (REACH) is an Ithaca-based nonprofit that expands access to health services for people who use drugs, as well as other folks who face stigma due to circumstances such as homelessness and poverty. REACH stands for Respectful, Equitable Access to Compassionate Healthcare.

REACH’s unique philosophy emphasizes the intersections between healthcare and worker struggles, making it a robust ally in our fight for higher wages in Tompkins County. In Dr. Waldman’s words, “We are fundamentally committed to health equity. As such, pay equity is a prerequisite.” Though REACH has faced financial challenges, it insists on continuing to pay its workers living wages in perpetuity — to do otherwise would compromise its institutional integrity and commitment to justice.

Dr. Waldman stated that “we cannot ask people to do this vital work [care for patients] without ensuring that they can afford to do so.” REACH’s respect for its employees and their needs runs deep, which is why we’re beyond elated to welcome them to our Certified Living Wage Employer program.

The Living Wage in Tompkins County is studied every two years by the Alternatives Federal Credit Union Biennial Living Wage Study. If you are a business or organization who pays at least a Living Wage, you can apply to the Tompkins County Workers’ Center for Certification to recognize your commitment to fair pay for workers. If you have any questions about how your business (or employer) can get certified, contact TCWC at (607) 269-0409 or