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Community Works, Vassar’s annual giving campaign, raises nearly $77,000 for local non-profit organizations

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – Community Works, Vassar College’s annual giving campaign, exceeded its fund raising goal by raising a total of $76,845 for ten local non-profit organizations in the Poughkeepsie community.

Funded by donations from employees, trustees, and students, as well as family and friends of the Chair, Community Works has provided more than $1 million in grants to more than 50 different groups since its inception in 2001. Recipients are selected each year by an employee committee based upon nominations from members of the college community. And 100% of contributions go to support the local groups working to make our community a better place, because the college pays for all the campaign’s administrative costs.

“Thanks to the generous and caring Vassar community, we are able to help local organizations doing critical work in areas such as education/literacy, youth services, environment, domestic violence, immigrant services, LGBTQ services, legal services, and animal welfare,” said Karen E. Getter, Community Works committee chair.

2018 recipients include:

Catharine Street Community Center

Downtown Poughkeepsie agency focuses on four program areas for children through 6th grade: Summer Enrichment, Bridge to School (school readiness for ages 3-5), After School, and Universal Pre-K. Curriculum spans academics, cultural and recreational activities, and life skills. The Center also honors two high school seniors and two local employers at its annual Martin Luther King, Jr. community breakfast.

Community Family Development
For 40 years has provided the Poughkeepsie community affordable childcare for infants and toddlers, pre-school, pre-kindergarten, after school care, as well as summer programming for children from six weeks through twelve years old. The developmentally appropriate curriculum at this very diverse school fosters the individual growth of each child.

GLSEN-Hudson ValleyThrough education and advocacy this all-volunteer organization strives for each student at every school to be valued and respected, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Services range from teacher, student, and parent programs to the support of school based gay-straight alliance groups.

Hudson Valley House of Hope
Seeks to eliminate sexual assault and domestic abuse through sensitive prevention, intervention, and treatment. From a 14-bed residential shelter it provides 24-hour emergency services, crisis intervention, and counseling services for victims and their children. Also offers advocacy, public education, children’s services, a crisis hotline, and job skills training.

Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue
A safe haven for dozens of unwanted, abused, and neglected horses from its farm in Dutchess County. The horses also serve as companion animals in equine-assisted mental health services, including services for people affected by cancer, grief and loss, PTSD, autism, ADHD, anxiety, and depression, as well as for at-risk youth.

Legal Services of the Mid-Hudson Valley
Provides free, high quality counsel in non-criminal matters to low-income individuals and families, protecting human necessities such as access to shelter and medical care, and a person’s freedom from physical abuse. Focus areas include disability advocacy, domestic violence, elder law, veterans benefits and services, Medicaid, eviction, foreclosure, HIV/AIDS, and food stamps.

Literacy Connections
Recruits and trains volunteers to provide free tutoring for people struggling with literacy, whether English is their first language or a second language. Its programs also address illiteracy as an intergenerational problem -- if the parents are not reading, or are struggling with reading, the children too often struggle with the same issues and are at high risk of dropping out of school.

Scenic Hudson: Northside Community Greenway Project
Intends to create a linear park through the City of Poughkeepsie that serves as a community catalyst by connecting (along the Fall Kill and the north side’s former CSX railroad spur) affordable housing, job centers, social services, schools, arts organizations, high school equivalency programs, urban farming, and youth programs. Advancing the City’s north side is key, where unemployment ranges up to 24%, high school graduation rates are around 60%, and home ownership is only 36%.

Sparrow’s Nest
Created in 2012 with the simple idea of cooking for families of local mothers diagnosed with cancer. Today, having fed over 1200 people, it provides two meals per week to the families of caregivers and children diagnosed with any type of cancer that requires chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. All recipients live within 20 miles of the health department-approved kitchen in Hopewell Junction.

Ulster Immigrant Defense Network
Coalition formed by faith communities and concerned residents (with a board led by Islamic, Jewish, Christian, Latino and business representatives) to provide legal assistance and direct support for local immigrants and refugees at risk. Services include: bilingual helpline; financial assistance for people affected by detention and deportation; accompaniment to court appearances and ICE check-ins; “Know Your Rights” information and legal referrals; rapid response to immigration enforcement actions; and safe spaces in houses of worship and homes.

Vassar College is a coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Wednesday, January 24, 2018