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Community Works seeks nominations for 2014 grant recipients (due 9/25/13)

Each year the Community Works Campaign raises money from Vassar students and employees for 10 local non-profit agencies. To build our list of recipients for this year’s campaign, we are encouraging College employees and students to nominate worthy agencies located in the Hudson Valley.

Community Works is open to all suggestions, but our focus has been in the areas noted below:

  • hunger, poverty, and homelessness
  • community organizing and advocacy
  • domestic violence and child abuse prevention
  • education and youth programming
  • the environment
  • health and disability services
  • LBGTQ services
  • the arts

Nominations for recipients should be received by Wednesday, September 25, 2013.

Nomination forms

For the 2013 Community Works campaign, Vassar gave a total of $77,815.62. Thanks to all who contributed.

Letter from the Community Works Chair

September 17, 2013

Dear Campus Community, 

On behalf of Vassar's Community Works campaign committee, I hope you will consider nominating a local non-profit organization for funding this coming year. Past grant recipients have included agencies that work in hunger relief, affordable housing and homelessness, domestic violence and child abuse prevention, LGBTQ services, youth support and empowerment, environmental advocacy, and the local arts, among other areas. Our committee of Vassar employees and students will carefully consider each nomination, and we expect to select ten agencies for grants. Nominations must be received by Wednesday September 25.

Why does Vassar conduct its own fundraising campaign for local non-profits? Community Works began because we took a stand on our principles of inclusion and tolerance. Until 2000 Vassar had participated in the United Way of Dutchess County campaign, which supported the Boy Scouts among other organizations. That year the Boy Scouts of America won its case in the U.S. Supreme Court to continue excluding gay men from consideration as group leaders.  Vassar decided that this practice was a violation of the college’s non-discrimination policy, and as a result the college withdrew from the United Way and started Community Works, adding a special commitment that continues through today: 100% of the funds raised goes directly to the local organizations and agencies, because Vassar covers the entire administrative cost of conducting the campaign.

Over the years Community Works has developed into more than just a way to contribute money. It has strengthened and enriched Vassar’s relationship with the Poughkeepsie community. Our yearly campaigns have helped educate employees and students about the important work of local non-profit organizations, and the challenges they face. The deeper connections we’ve fostered have led to important opportunities for our students to be more involved in the Poughkeepsie community, whether as volunteers or through Field Work internships. Our students  gain  an important new perspective from these experiences, recognizing that Poughkeepsie has a lot to teach them and their college.

There are just a few brief steps to nominate an agency for a Community Works grant. For instance you can go to the Community Works websiteto fill out a short form to fill out and submit online. A form can also be printed out from the site and sent completed in the campus mail to Community Works at Box 9. Paper copies of the form are also available at the Office of Communications.

All organizations eligible to receive a Community Works grant must present documentation of their 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status and adhere to Vassar's non-discrimination policy in the provision of services and in regard to their staff and volunteers. 

Again, the deadline for nominations is Wednesday, September 25, so please don't delay!

The time, effort and money we put into Community Works brings far greater results to both the community and the college than we would imagine. Thank you for your careful consideration of an organization to nominate, and don't hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Tom Ellman
Chair, 2014 Community Works Campaign
Associate Professor of Computer Science