Press Releases

'Walkway Over the Hudson' First Phase Funded

Dyson Foundation Financing $1.5 Million Engineering Study

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 2007

CONTACT
Fred Schaeffer
Walkway Over the Hudson
845.518.6071

Peter Melewski
Bergmann Associates Inc.
518.573.1668

Eileen Larrabee
NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
518.486.1868

Stephen Densmore
The Dyson Foundation
845.234.8713

MILLBROOK—The Dyson Foundation will fund a $1.5 million engineering and design study that will serve as the first critical step in the plan to transform the former Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge into a lofty pedestrian park spanning the Hudson River.

The grant will allow Walkway Over the Hudson, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving and converting the historic bridge into a public park, to “fast-track” the project in hopes of finishing it in time for the 2009 Henry Hudson Quadricentennial celebration.

“As much as the Golden Gate Bridge defines San Francisco, we believe this historically significant and visually stunning pedestrian walkway will someday define the Hudson River Valley,” said Robert R. Dyson, president of the Millbrook-based Dyson Foundation. “With this grant, we look forward to forging a private-public partnership between various levels of government, local non-profits and the private sector, which will be the only way to bring Walkway Over the Hudson’s long held dream a step closer to reality.”

Walkway Over the Hudson Chairman Fred Schaeffer said securing the funding adds significant momentum and credibility to his group’s nearly 12-year effort to turn the abandoned railroad bridge into what would become the world’s longest elevated pedestrian walkway, soaring 212 feet above the Hudson River.

“The Dyson Foundation is providing a tremendous service to the community because this will be great for the entire Hudson Valley. It will help the economy by providing an attraction that will draw tourism from throughout the world,” Schaeffer said. “Once it’s refurbished, it will be able to accommodate walking, jogging, biking, rollerblading, picnicking and just daydreaming. The views from up there are breathtaking.”

"This will be a wonderful park," said Carol Ash, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, pledging to work with the coalition of interested parties toward the goal of making the pedestrian walkway a public park. "I am enthused by this project and I look forward to working with the Dyson Foundation, our colleagues in government and Walkway Over the Hudson to make it a reality."

Walkway Over the Hudson has already secured nearly $1 million in promised funding from federal and state sources that will eventually help pay for construction costs, Schaeffer said. A total budget for the project will be determined by the planning and engineering study.

The $1.5 million grant will pay for comprehensive project management, planning and engineering services to be conducted by Bergmann Associates Inc., an Albany-based engineering and architectural firm with a proven track record in the inspection and rehabilitation of historic bridges. Peter Melewski, project manager and a principal with Bergmann, was formerly in charge of all engineering design for the New York State Thruway Authority.

“We’re aiming at a very aggressive schedule,” said Melewski, explaining that the Dyson Foundation grant allows his firm to immediately begin a comprehensive assessment of the bridge’s maintenance needs and alternatives for adaptation to its proposed use as a pedestrian walkway. Initial inspections last fall by Bergmann team divers indicated that the bridge’s massive underwater foundations were more than up to the task ahead.

“We will assess its maintenance needs and its current capacity, but we feel the bridge is more than adequate for the proposed purpose,” Melewski added. “Our schedule is ambitious, but it’s doable as long as there’s support and coordination among the stakeholders.”

Under the current timeline, Bergmann Associates aims to complete bidding documents by the summer of 2008 and commence construction by next fall in order to meet the Fall, 2009 deadline. (The actual commemoration of explorer Henry Hudson’s fateful journey up the Hudson River will occur in September, 2009—400 years after the Dutch adventurer actually sailed up the Hudson River Valley and deep into the heart of the New World.)

When it was completed in 1888, the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge was the longest bridge in the world. A 6,767-foot engineering marvel, it was the first Hudson River bridge to be built between Albany and New York City, opening a new vein of commerce between New England and the Western states. In 1974, a fire sealed its demise as a railroad bridge and it went unattended until the mid-1990s when Walkway Over the Hudson commenced its grassroots preservation effort.

Established in 1957, the Dyson Foundation is a private, family-directed grantmaking foundation led by Robert R. Dyson, who has served as the Foundation’s President since 2000. Headquartered in Millbrook, the Foundation awards grants through a diverse regional funding program serving the Mid-Hudson Valley. The Foundation’s assets stand at approximately $337 million and, in 2006, it awarded grants in excess of $18.4 million.

For more information about this press release, contact:
Fred Schaeffer, Chairman, Walkway Over the Hudson
845-518-6071 or 845-454-1190
Peter Melewski, Project Manager & Principal, Bergmann Associates Inc.
518-573-1668
Eileen Larrabee, Director of Communications, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
518-486-1868
Stephen Densmore, Press Liaison, The Dyson Foundation
845-234-8713

Effective City After-School Program Gets Dyson Funding

Harriet Tubman Academic Skills Program Gets Great Results

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 2007

POUGHKEEPSIE--As its name implies, children enrolled in the Harriet Tubman Academic
Skills Program don’t play kick ball—they hit the books. And now, with help from a $40,000
grant from the Dyson Foundation, the surprisingly effective City of Poughkeepsie-based after
school program has much of the funding needed to continue to serve nearly 60 elementary
school-aged children for another two years.

“We seem to be the best kept secret in Dutchess County,” said Program Director Christine
Arnfield, who helped found the free after school and summer program 10 years ago. Since then,
Arnfield said, the program has consistently helped city children achieve better grades (and
superior scores on state-mandated tests) than their peers who do not attend the program by
focusing on the fundamentals of reading and homework.

“Our main goal here is to make sure that their homework is getting done and that it’s getting
done neatly,” Arnfield said of the non-profit program, which serves students (kindergarten
through sixth grade) who live in Poughkeepsie’s Tubman Terrace apartment complex, and, space
permitting, other children from the rest of the city.

Clinton Elementary School Teacher Kathleen Seyfert attested to HTASP’s successful track
record, pointing to the after school program’s unique ability to partner with teachers in her
neighborhood-based elementary school over the years.

“This program has been a tremendous asset to the children enrolled in the Poughkeepsie School
District,” said Seyfert, a fifth grade teacher. “Mrs. Arnfield and her staff worked closely with me
in preparing my students for the new social studies standardized test. As a result, my students
scored very well, and continue to score higher than those not enrolled in the program.”

Joseph Olah, chairman of the HTASP’s board of directors, said the program relies heavily upon
community volunteers to help children complete and comprehend their homework. Along with a
program director and three teachers (all part-time employees), Olah said, the program utilizes up
to 40 volunteers to accomplish its mission.

Volunteers hail from every corner of the community, including parents, retirees, Vassar and
Marist college students, IBM employees, and congregants from area churches. (Two local
churches jointly own Tubman Terrace—the Poughkeepsie United Methodist Church and AME
Zion Church.) But, Olah stressed, the after school program always needs more volunteers in
order to provide the individual attention that makes it so effective. “We have a drastic need for
more volunteers,” he said, noting that volunteers are asked for a two-hour commitment, one day
each week. “It’s not a huge commitment and it’s very satisfying. These kids really appreciate the
time we spend with them.”

And so do their parents. “As a parent of four children, this program has been a tremendous
asset,” said Maria Feaster, who currently has three children enrolled in the program. “It not only
helps my children with their homework and provides them with academic enrichment, but it also
provides them with a safe place to spend after school and during the summer months.”

In June, the Harriet Tubman Academic Skills Program received a two-year funding commitment
totaling $40,000 from the Dyson Foundation, representing an increase over previous years’
funding. Nonetheless, Olah pointed out that the program is “always hustling for money” to
maintain its modest nearly $60,000 annual budget, with most of the funding paying for HTASP’s
four part-time employees.

Established in 1957, the Dyson Foundation is a private, family-directed grantmaking foundation
led by Robert R. Dyson, who has served as the Foundation’s President since 2000.
Headquartered in Millbrook, the Foundation awards grants through a diverse regional funding
program serving the Mid-Hudson Valley. The Foundation’s assets stand at approximately $337
million and, in 2006, it awarded grants in excess of $18.4 million.

For more information about HTASP, contact Christine Arnfield at 845-473-0141.

For more information about this press release, contact:
Christine Arnfield, HTASP, Program Director
845-473-0141
Joseph Olah, HTASP, Board Chairman
845-702-3760
Stephen Densmore, Press Liaison, Dyson Foundation
845-234-8713

The Community Foundation of Dutchess County, United Way of Dutchess County and The Dyson Foundation Award $210,000 in Grants for Seniors

Five Agencies Receive Funding to Provide Quality of Life Services to Isolated Dutchess County Seniors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 2003

CONTACT
Shirley Johnson
United Way of Dutchess County
845.471.1900 x18

Karen VanHouten
The Community Foundation of Dutchess County
845.452.3077  x15

Cecilia Stancell
The Dyson Foundation
845.677.0644

Poughkeepsie, NY – The Community Foundation of Dutchess County (CFDC), United Way of Dutchess County (UWDC), and The Dyson Foundation have collectively awarded $210,000 in grants to assist five local agencies in providing quality of life services to the isolated elderly in Dutchess County. Each funder provided $70,000 toward these grant awards.
The goal of the collaboration was to identify local agencies that provide life enrichment, education, medical, transportation, and visitation programs to senior citizens throughout Dutchess County. Fifteen grant proposals totaling $728,588 in requests were received.

The grant recipients are:
  • Association for Senior Citizens - $86,700 for the ASC (Association of Senior Citizens) Transportation Network Program and a voucher program to supplement the program.
  • Beacon Community Center - $11,300 for the Senior Citizens Enrichment Program
  • Community Resources and Service Center, Inc. - $12,000 for the Transportation/Driver Pool Program
  • Dutchess County YMCA - $40,000 for the Fitness and Training Program for Older Adults
  • Family Services, Inc. - $60,000 for the Crime Victims Assistance Program
“This initiative represents a new synergy between United Way of Dutchess County and The Community Foundation. With the further interest, support, and funding of The Dyson Foundation, our collective grantmaking for seniors was maximized. We are delighted to award these grants and we are confident these programs and services will help our local seniors through additional programs and enhanced transportation services,” said Pat Wright, President of The Community Foundation of Dutchess County.

Seniors comprise 18% of the population in Dutchess County. A large portion of this audience includes isolated seniors needing many services. Independent research conducted separately by UWDC and the Dyson Foundation indicated a necessity to educate senior citizens about services that are available to them, particularly transportation. When each organization became aware there was a common interest in addressing this need, a joint grant initiative was born to address this need.

Diana Gurieva, Executive Vice President of the Dyson Foundation, indicated that “As the population of Dutchess County ages, funders need to look for creative ways to meet the needs of the senior residents of our community. This collaboration seeks to do just that by targeting the most vulnerable and isolated of the senior population. We hope that the services provided as a result of these grants will make a critical difference."

“The partnership created from this initiative will hopefully serve as a springboard for future collaborations between organizations that have the knowledge, financial resources and manpower to build a stronger, healthier community. Through group effort, it is evident that everyone achieves more. I am extremely pleased to be working with The Dyson Foundation and The Community Foundation of Dutchess County to improve the quality of life services to isolated Dutchess County seniors,” added Jim Williamson, President and CEO of United Way of Dutchess County.

For more information about the funders involved in this collaborative grantmaking initiative, please click on:
communityfoundationdc.org, unitedwaydutchess.org or dysonfoundation.org.

If you have additional questions, please contact either the following people:
Karen VanHouten, The Community Foundation of Dutchess County
(T) (845) 452-3077, ext. 15
(F) (845) 452-3083

Shirley Johnson, United Way of Dutchess County
(T) (845) 471-1900, ext. 18
(F) (845) 471-1933

Cecilia Stancell, The Dyson Foundation
Communications Associate
(T) (845) 677-0644
(F) (845) 677-0650

Senior Initiative Grants Awarded - October 2003

Agency: Association for Senior Citizens
Program Title: Association for Senior Citizens Transportation Network
Amount Requested: $86,700
Expected number of persons served: 5000
Program Description: Through this grant, the Association for Senior Citizens will develop an affordable, community-wide transportation network that specifically targets homebound; wheelchair bound, and the isolated elderly. A portion of the grant award ed will be used for a voucher program to both expand the hours of operation as appropriate and to expand the geographic area covered. The areas served will include the City of Poughkeepsie, the towns of Hyde Park, Poughkeepsie, Pleasant Valley, LaGrange, Beekman, East Fishkill, Wappinger, Fishkill, and the villages of Fishkill, Millbrook, Wappinger Falls and Stanfordville.

Agency: Beacon Community Center
Program Title: Senior Citizens Enrichment Program
Amount Requested: $11,300
Expected number of persons served: 90
Program Description: Beacon Community Center will expand their existing Senior Citizens Enrichment Program. “The program functions as a socialization and activity hub for isolated, lonely, frail senior citizens and retirees seeking camaraderie, new learning opportunities and health information.” The grant will allow an expansion of services and capacity served. Senior citizens in the Beacon-Southern Dutchess area will be served.

Agency: Community Resources & Service Center, Inc.
Program Title: Transportation/Driver Pool
Amount Requested: $12,000
Expected number of persons served: 600
Program Description: The Community Resources & Service Center, Inc. received this grant to fund an existing successful program. The organization provides transportation to medical appointments in Southeastern Dutchess County, including the town of Pawling, Wingdale, Poughquag, and the eastern fringe of Beekman. Demand for services has been steadily increasing and this grant will assure the continuation of the program.

Agency: Dutchess County YMCA
Program Title: Fitness and Training Program for Older Adults
Amount Requested: $40,000
Expected number of persons served: 100
Program Description: Physical activity in the form of exercise can provide an opportunity to meet two important needs of many older adults; companionship and fitness. This program at the YMCA meets both of these needs head on with an organized program of physical fitness which will offer both physical improvement and fun for the participants. This program primarily covers the City of Poughkeepsie.

Agency: Family Services, Inc.
Program Title: Crime Victims Assistance Program
Amount Requested: $60,000
Expected number of persons served: 80
Program Description: Family Services, Inc. has received funding to expand an existing program. “The program is an outreach and intervention program designed to assist seniors to live their lives without being abused and/or neglected. The current program provides increased safety for seniors who have been or are at risk of neglect, abuse or maltreatment.” The geographic area served is Dutchess County.

The Community Foundation of Dutchess County, United Way of Dutchess County and the Dyson Foundation Partner to Provide $210,000 for Senior Initiative

Collaborative Effort Will Provide Quality of Life Services to Isolated Dutchess County Seniors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2003

CONTACT
Shirley Johnson
United Way of Dutchess County
845-471-1900 x18

Karen VanHouten
Community Foundation of Dutchess County
845.452.3077

Cecilia Stancell
The Dyson Foundation
845.677.0644

Poughkeepsie, NY – In an unprecedented collaborative effort, the Community Foundation of Dutchess County (CFDC), the United Way of Dutchess County (UWDC), and the Dyson Foundation announced that they would each provide $70,000, for a total of $210,000, to dramatically expand the quality of life services to isolated seniors in Dutchess County.

The goal of the collaboration is to identify local agencies that can provide life enrichment, education, medical, transportation, and visitation programs to senior citizens throughout Dutchess County who may or may not already be involved in a program that provides these services. Agencies identified to receive a grant will be required to provide evidence of strong outreach/education to senior citizens in Dutchess County throughout all socio-economic tiers.

“This initiative is the first of its kind where three prominent funders felt it was imperative to focus their efforts toward a single, real issue. We believe that only through a joint effort can we make a difference and have a greater impact on the lives of our seniors,” said Jim Williamson, President and CEO of UWDC.

The first step of the partnership is to create a joint community initiative task force, who will appoint appropriate and equal volunteer representation from CFDC, UWDC and the Dyson Foundation. Subsequently, the responsibilities of the Task Force are to create and release the required community-wide Request for Proposal (RFP); set the criteria for proposal consideration and funding; and set the timetable for release, receipt, review and decision making necessary to consider responses to the RFP.

Seniors comprise 18% of the population in Dutchess County. A large portion of this audience includes isolated seniors needing many services. Independent research conducted separately by UWDC and the Dyson Foundation indicates a necessity to educate senior citizens about services that are available to them, particularly transportation. When each organization became aware there was a common interest in addressing this need, a joint grant initiative was born to address this need.

"The Dyson Foundation is pleased to join with the Community Foundation of Dutchess County and the United Way of Dutchess County in this collaboration. During these times of economic stress and uncertainty, it just makes sense for funders to work together in order to leverage their resources," said Diana M. Gurieva, Executive Vice President of the Dyson Foundation.

“There is an increasing need to educate seniors in regard to options that are available to them for remaining in their own homes, and/or information about assisted living facilities,” said Patricia Wright, President of CFDC. “Seniors also need access to health related information which affects them. This initiative will foster the development of new, or the expansion of existing, high-need services for Dutchess County’s most elderly and isolated senior citizens.”

Organizations that are eligible to submit a RFP are entities that have legitimate 501(c)(3) such as the lead agency, partnerships with the corporate sector, recreation and social organizations, government agencies, neighborhood groups, faith-based organizations, schools, etc.

Applications for grants to 501(c)(3) organizations that provide services to senior citizens, or enhance the quality of life of senior citizens may be found online at www.communityfoundationdc.org, www.unitedwaydutchess.org or www.dysonfoundation.org. The deadline to submit the applications is July 22, 2003 and should be sent to United Way of Dutchess County, P.O. Box 832, Poughkeepsie, NY 12602. Awards will be announced in September by a joint review team of CFDC, UWDC, and DF representatives.

This is a one-year grant with an additional six-month period allowed for start up. Multi-year funding may be considered, renewable for up to three years contingent upon review.

If you have additional questions, please contact either the following people:

Karen VanHouten, Community Foundation of Dutchess County
(T) (845) 452-3077
(F) (845) 452-3083

Shirley Johnson, United Way of Dutchess County
(845) 471-1900, ext. 18 (phone)
(845) 471-1933 (fax)

Cecilia Stancell, Dyson Foundation

Communications Associate
(845) 677-0644
(845) 677-0650 (fax)

Dyson Foundation Announces Management Assistance Program for Mid-Hudson Valley Nonprofits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 8, 2002

Contact: Ceclia Stancell 845.677-0644

MILLBROOK, NY – The Dyson Foundation of Millbrook, New York announces the creation of a new program to support and strengthen local nonprofit organizations – the Mid-Hudson Valley Nonprofit Management Assistance Program (MAP program). The Foundation has committed over $750,000 to this project for the next year. The goal of this new initiative is to help local organizations improve their internal operations, administration and management. “The Foundation has learned that it is not enough to support just good ideas and good works, we have to enhance the management capacity of nonprofit organizations at the same time. We believe that well-managed, efficient and effective organizations will be able to carry out their missions with greater impact – and deliver more and better services to the community” said Diana M. Gurieva, the Foundation’s executive director.

“Nonprofit organizations are a vital part of the life and the health of the Mid-Hudson Valley” said Rob Dyson, president and board chair of his family foundation. “We want to help them do a better job, whether their job is feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, educating the young and the old, helping to create jobs, or enhancing our environment and the cultural opportunities in our communities.” With this initiative, the Dyson Foundation joins a growing number of foundations and grant-makers around the country that have chosen to invest in building the capacity and strengthening the infrastructure of nonprofit organizations.

The main elements of the Dyson Foundation MAP program are:
  • A grant award to The Council of Community Services of New York State (CCSNYS) to open a regional office in Poughkeepsie to centrally serve the Mid- Hudson region. CCSNYS is a management support provider organization based in Albany that has been working with nonprofits across New York State since 1927. Their services to nonprofits will include: workshops on topics such as fund raising and strategic planning, organizational assessments, one-on-one consulting, legal assistance, nonprofit accounting, strategic alliance and merger planning, retreat facilitation, and group purchasing, such as for insurance coverage for nonprofits. CCSNYS is a membership organization, open to all nonprofits in New York State, that charges competitively low fees for their services. The Dyson Foundation believes that CCSNYS will bring significant expertise and resources to nonprofits throughout the region.
  • A Foundation-administered Mini-Grant program to help board, staff and volunteer leaders with financial support to hire consultants or to attend conferences, workshops and seminars. Grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded on a competitive basis, and can be applied to CCSNYS’ consulting or training fees or to the provider of an organization’s choosing. A streamlined application process will accommodate quick turn-around and will make the application process as simple as possible for applicants. All nonprofits with 501(c)(3) status based in the counties of Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, and Ulster are eligible to apply for Mini-Grant funding. Current Dyson Foundation grantees may apply for Mini-Grant funding in addition to their existing grants.
  • A Cash Flow Loan program to allow organizations to continue operating without a disruption of services when funding from other sources is delayed. Current Mid- Hudson Valley Dyson Foundation grantees may apply for short-term interest-free loans from this revolving loan fund. Loans of up to $50,000 are available against fully approved government contracts and foundation or corporate grants. Loan recipients will pay a small service charge, most of which will be refunded on timely repayment.
  • Technology consulting from the Foundation’s Information Technology manager for current Mid-Hudson Valley Dyson Foundation grantees. This may include technology planning and budgeting assistance.

The MAP program will be administered by Dean K. Stein, the Foundation’s deputy executive director. For more information about the MAP program or the Dyson Foundation, please visit www.dysonfoundation.org. For more information about CCSNYS, visit www.ccsnys.org.

The Dyson Foundation is a private, family-directed grant-making foundation established in 1957 by the late Charles H. and Margaret M. Dyson. The Foundation is led by Robert R. Dyson who has served as the Foundation’s President since 2000. Headquartered in Millbrook (Dutchess County, New York), the Foundation awards grants in two main funding areas: a diverse regional funding program in the Dyson family’s home community of the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York State and a national initiative in training in community pediatrics, known as the Anne E. Dyson Community Pediatrics Training Initiative. Endowed through bequests from the estates of Charles H. Dyson and Margaret M. Dyson, the Foundation’s assets presently stand at over $300 million. During 2002, it will award grants in excess of $14 million.

For more information about this press release, contact:
Cecilia Stancell (845) 677-0644