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Letter from the chair to kick off the 2015 campaign

Vassar College Community Works Campaign 2015

5 November 2014

Dear Members of the Vassar Community,

On behalf of my six fellow committee members, I am pleased to announce the start of the college’s annual Community Works campaign. We ask you to consider contributing what you can to eleven non-profits that provide crucial services and leadership to the Hudson Valley.

Each organization listed below will receive an equal share of the total contributions. They were selected by our committee from nominations by Vassar employees and students, with a focus on such key matters as: hunger relief; affordable housing and homelessness; domestic violence and child abuse; youth; lesbian/gay/bisexual/transsexual/queer (LGBTQ) services; and the environment. We chose Catharine Street Community Center, Dutchess County SPCA, Dutchess Outreach, Family Partnership Center, GLSEN-Hudson Valley, Grace Smith House, Hudson River Housing, John Flowers Family Partnership, R.E.A.L. Skills Network, Rural and Migrant Ministry, and Sustainable Hudson Valley.
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Community Works support is no passing matter for our recipients. Dutchess Outreach explains that due to reduced funding in the past year the agency’s food pantry had to cut back hours from five to four days per week. That translated to nearly 30,000 fewer meals they were able to provide. Longtime Community Works grant recipient John Flowers is one of Poughkeepsie’s most productive and optimistic grassroots leaders, and he said it simply to us recently: things are tough out there for local agencies and many of the people they serve.

At the same time, groups supported by Community Works also have encouraging accomplishments to share. In the past year Hudson River has helped 125 people move from its emergency shelter to more stable housing. GLSEN-Hudson Valley (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) reports that it has provided professional development workshops to nearly 1,000 educators on creating safe school environments for LGBTQ youth.

When the need is so great it’s heartening to remember that Vassar covers the entire administrative cost of conducting Community Works, so that this campaign’s eleven non-profits will receive 100% of the funds we will contribute together.

Community Works also continues to be more than just a way to contribute money — it strengthens and enriches Vassar’s relationship with the greater Poughkeepsie community. It educates us about the important work of local non-profits. It creates opportunities for our students to get involved in our community as volunteers or through Field Work. It helps us all to recognize how the college and the community are better for the collaborations in which we share.

You can make your tax-deductible donation via payroll deduction, credit card, or check. Make a contribution online or print and return a completed form with your check to Box 9. On behalf of the selected agencies and their clients, as well as the Community Works Campaign committee, I thank you for your consideration and support.

Sincerely,

Tom Ellman,
Community Works Campaign Chair 2014-2015
Associate Professor of Computer Science