Press Releases

Mid-Hudson Valley Community Profiles Website Launched

May 11, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts: Andrea Reynolds, Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, 845-452-3077

                 Megan Pierce, United Way of Dutchess County, 845-471-1900 x 115

                 Kent Gardner, Center for Governmental Research, 585-466-4273

                 Steve Densmore, Dyson Foundation, 845-234-8713

 

Mid-Hudson Valley Community Profiles Website Launched

Site Provides Insights into Trends, Needs in Dutchess, Orange, Ulster Counties

POUGHKEEPSIE—Center for Governmental Research (CGR) President and CEO Kent Gardner today unveiled the Mid-Hudson Valley Community Profiles Website, a new source of in depth, comparative information about Dutchess, Orange, and Ulster counties that will provide government agencies and nonprofits throughout the region with an important new tool for assessing and understanding the populations they serve. The website, located at www.mhvcommunityprofiles.org, is available to the public and will be consistently updated with new data over the next five years.

During a press conference held at Marist College’s Admissions Auditorium on Wednesday morning, Mr. Gardner demonstrated how to navigate the site, discussed how it will prove useful to various organizations, and pointed out some interesting trends found within the comparative data.

“Good information doesn’t save lives or revitalize communities—but without it, public policy and private philanthropy can’t be effective,” said Mr. Gardner. “We’re pleased to have partnered with the Dyson Foundation, the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, and United Way of Dutchess County in the creation of this information resource. We hope that community nonprofits and the public sector will find that this website stimulates dialogue about needs, and cooperation around goals, policies and programs.”

Non-profit and government leaders from the three counties also attended the press conference. They included Jacki Brownstein, Executive Director of Mental Health America Dutchess County; Kevin White, Executive Director of Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh; and Michael Berg, Executive Director of Family of Woodstock. Each delivered brief remarks about the important role the new site will provide for service providers operating in Dutchess, Orange, and Ulster counties. Organizers planned a series of workshops in each of the three counties to introduce the new website to nonprofit and government agency representatives.

The Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, the Dyson Foundation, and United Way of Dutchess County jointly committed $300,000 over the next five years in order to commission CGR to create and maintain the new website. The three organizations, with input from local health and human service providers, selected 50 indicators within the following fields to be represented on the site: children and youth, community engagement, demographics, economy, education, financial stability, health, and housing. 

“We are very excited to launch this website, which makes a great deal of regional data and analysis easily available to the public,” said Michell Speight, Director of Programs for the Dyson Foundation.  “We believe that access to this indicator data, and the ability to make comparisons within the region, will be useful to a variety of nonprofits, businesses, government agencies, and individuals.  We look forward to seeing how it’s put to use in the coming months.”

 “The Community Foundation is pleased to join the Dyson Foundation and United Way on this significant project.  Through our support of the Community Profiles Web site, we will provide organizations the ability to track community conditions, develop programs and affect change that will contribute to the well-being of citizens in the Hudson Valley,” said Andrea L. Reynolds, President and CEO of the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley.

“We are delighted to have worked the Dyson Foundation, the Community Foundations and CGR to make this information available to our community, nonprofit partners and residents,” said Sheila Appel, Board Chair of United Way of Dutchess County. “Knowing more about our area will help us make use of our strengths and address areas for growth which will improve lives.”

The website includes the following features: 

  • One regional profile website that includes charts, data tables, and analysis of the three-county region (Dutchess, Orange, and Ulster).
  • Three separate community profile websites (Dutchess, Orange and Ulster) that include charts, data tables, and analysis specific to the individual county with comparisons to the region.
  • Four complete community profiles (region, plus three individual county profiles) based upon a consistent set of 50 indicators.
  • Key Trends analysis for the eight main fields (e.g. education) for each of the four community profile websites.
  • Summary Report compiling key trends for each of the four profile websites.
  • Demographic indicators, including total population, age of population, population by race and ethnicity, and household type, for each of the four profile websites.
  • Regular updating of indicator data, charts, and analysis, as well as county and regional summaries.

The Dyson Foundation has teamed with CGR on important community-based research projects in the past. In 2009, the Foundation commissioned CGR to conduct a review and analysis of salaries and benefits for Dutchess County legislators and executive staff.  In 2005, CGR received a grant to conduct the Mid-Hudson Valley Nonprofit Economic Impact Study.

Many cities and regions around the country have similar community indicator projects and CGR has developed and maintains such projects for other communities such as Rochester and Herkimer-Oneida counties.

The Center for Governmental Research (CGR) (www.cgr.org) was founded in 1915 by George Eastman as a bureau of municipal research in Rochester NY to serve as an “independent, non-partisan agency for keeping citizens informed.”  Today as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with offices in Rochester and Albany, CGR’s activities focus on issues  that affect the quality of life in communities both inside and outside of New York State.

 

Background

United Way of Dutchess County

United Way of Dutchess County is one of the area’s premier community-impact organizations, serving as a resource and convener to help increase community capacity to meet community needs. Its mission is to build a stronger, healthier community by raising resources and developing partnerships to make a measurable difference in people’s lives. More than 50,000 county residents each year rely on a United Way funded program, partnership or initiative for assistance. For more information visit www.unitedwaydutchess.org.

 Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley—Serving Dutchess, Ulster and Putnam Counties

Established in 1969, the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley is your first resource for everything charitable. Currently, the Foundation administers more than 495 charitable funds established by donors who primarily live in Dutchess, Putnam and Ulster counties.  Since the Foundation’s inception, more than $16 million in grants and scholarships has been awarded to our community. For more information about the Community Foundation call 845-452-3077 or visit www.cfhvny.org.

The Dyson Foundation

The Dyson Foundation is a private grant making foundation headquartered in Dutchess County and directed by the Dyson family under the leadership of Foundation President Robert R. Dyson. The Dyson Foundation's mission is to improve and enhance the quality of life in the region for all of its residents, especially those most vulnerable or economically disadvantaged. For more information visit www.dysonfoundation.org.

Striking a Balance: New Yorkers Speak Out on Rightsizing Local Government

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 12, 2011
 
Contact:
The Marist Poll, 845-575-5050 
Lee M. Miringoff  
Barbara L. Carvalho 
Mary E. Azzoli
 
The Dyson Foundation  
Diana M. Gurieva, 845-677-0644  
Steve Densmore, 845-234-8713
 
This Dyson Foundation/Marist Poll reports:
 
Local governments in New York State are at a crossroads. Faced with high taxes, rising costs, and already strained state and federal budgets, how can local governments still provide essential services? Is rightsizing local government the answer?
 
The question of restructuring local government is at the heart of “Striking a Balance: New Yorkers Speak Out on Rightsizing Local Government.” This major study of more than 4,500 New Yorkers, funded by the Dyson Foundation and conducted by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, takes an in-depth look at the issue of local government consolidation on a statewide level and in nine regions -- the Capital Region, the Adirondacks, Western New York, the Finger Lakes, Central New York, the Mid-Hudson Valley, the Lower Hudson Valley, New York City, and Long Island.
 
“We believe this is an extremely important time to release these results of the Marist Poll’s survey of more than 4,500 New Yorkers,” says Robert R. Dyson, President of the Dyson Foundation. “We anticipate this survey will serve government and public policy makers in their deliberations on this important and somewhat volatile subject. It is our hope to provide a balanced and comprehensive public perspective to inform and aid in the coming debates.”
 
Survey Findings:  
 
The State of New York
 
• 53% of New Yorkers think the state is moving in the wrong direction.
 
• While statewide residents divide, 54% of those outside of New York City think there are too many local governments.
 
• 85% of New Yorkers give their local government average or above average grades. 60% have confidence in their local decision-makers, and 55% believe they get a good value for the taxes they pay.
 
Restructure Government? First Impressions
 
• 68% of New Yorkers have a positive impression of the term shared services. 60% have a similar reaction to government consolidation, and 58% say the same about merged services. 52% of New Yorkers have a positive impression of regionalism. However, dissolving local government is perceived positively by 31%.
 
• There is no consensus about the definition of consolidation. Half of residents describe consolidation as shared services while 44% define it as merged government.
 
• Pluralities of New Yorkers expect government consolidation to decrease costs (48%) and increase efficiency (45%).
 
Government Consolidation: Where New Yorkers Stand
 
• 54% of New Yorkers outside of New York City, which is mostly consolidated, favor local government consolidation for their local government.
 
• Only 13% of New Yorkers think that no towns or cities in New York should be considered for consolidation. 40%, however, believe all towns or cities should be considered for consolidation while 47% say the action should be considered for towns and cities under certain circumstances.
 
“These are difficult economic times. If consolidation reduces cost, improves government efficiency, and supports economic growth without sacrificing local identity, then, New Yorkers want consolidation considered,” says Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “If not, it’s back to the drawing board for restructuring local government.”
 
Government Consolidation: Getting Specific
 
• Outside of New York City, New Yorkers were asked about the consolidation of specific services. The services New Yorkers favor for consolidation are public transportation (73%), road and highway maintenance (68%), parks and recreation (66%), prisons (57%), and public libraries (56%). They are on the fence about the consolidation of police (51%) and fire and rescue services (48%).
 
• Only 45% of New Yorkers support the consolidation of school districts.
 
• While notable proportions of New Yorkers rely on private services to carry out these functions, New Yorkers view the consolidation of recycling services (69%), garbage removal (56%), sewage services (55%), and drinking water (53%) positively.
 
Government Consolidation: A Balancing Act
 
• Again, New Yorkers outside of New York City were asked about potential risks and opportunities of consolidation. New Yorkers are more likely to support consolidation if the quality of their local services increases (83%), their local community becomes more attractive to business (76%), their property taxes are cut (74%), or the cost of their local services decreases (68%). New Yorkers are also more likely to favor consolidation if greater efficiency is a result of consolidation (64%), duplication of services is reduced (64%), or their community receives grant money (61%).
 
• New Yorkers are more likely to oppose consolidation if they have less of a say in their local government (62%), costs for their community increases (62%), their community loses its sense of identity (56%), or consolidation leads to job losses (50%). If their local government is left out of the decision-making process (43%), or if there are no cost savings for them (43%), New Yorkers view consolidation less favorably.
 
Living with Consolidation: New York City Residents Rate Their Services
 
• In New York City, which is mostly consolidated, residents rate many of their services positively. The exceptions are public schools (42%) and road and highway maintenance (27%).
 
 
Key regional findings and complete survey results for “Striking a Balance: New Yorkers Speak Out on Rightsizing Local Government” may be found at www.nylocalgov.org. For more information about the Marist Poll, visit www.maristpoll.marist.edu.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mid-Hudson Valley Community Profiles Website

July 12, 2010
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Contacts: Andrea Reynolds, Community Foundation, 845-452-3077
               Megan Pierce, United Way of Dutchess County, 845-471-1900 x 115
               Kent Gardner, Center for Government Research, 585-327-7054
               Steve Densmore, Dyson Foundation, 845-234-8713
           
 
Mid-Hudson Valley Community Profiles Website Commissioned
New Site Will Allow Greater Understanding of Regional Trends, Needs
 

POUGHKEEPSIE—Three of the Mid-Hudson Valley’s leading philanthropic organizations have commissioned the respected Center for Government Research (CGR) to create a website that will host comparative information about Dutchess, Orange, and Ulster counties, providing government and nonprofits throughout the region with an important new tool for assessing and understanding the populations they serve.

The Dyson Foundation, United Way of Dutchess County, and the Community Foundation serving Dutchess, Ulster, and Putnam Counties announced this week that they will jointly commit up to $54,000 per year for the next five years in order to commission CGR to create and maintain the new website, which should become operational early in 2011. The three organizations, with input from local health and human service providers, selected 50 indicators within the following fields to be represented on the site: children and youth, community engagement, demographics, education, financial self-sufficiency, and culture/tourism.  

“This innovative new website will provide an apples-to-apples understanding of regional trends and comparative information that has been difficult to obtain in the past because of variations in how each county reports certain types of information,” said Michell Speight, Program Director for the Dyson Foundation. “We are pleased to be collaborating with the Community Foundation and the United Way to offer this service, particularly because this has been a goal of many of Dutchess County’s human services agencies for several years.”

“The Community Foundation is pleased to join the Dyson Foundation and United Way on this significant project.  Through our support of the Community Indicators website, we will provide organizations the ability to track community conditions, develop programs and affect change that will contribute to the well-being of citizens in the Hudson Valley,” said Andrea Reynolds, President of the Community Foundation serving Dutchess, Ulster and Putnam counties.

 “Along with the Dyson Foundation, the Community Foundation and CGR we are pleased to bring this information to the community, nonprofit partners and residents,” said Anne M. Beaulieu, CEO and President of United Way of Dutchess County. “Knowing more about our area will help us celebrate and make use of our strengths and address areas for growth. Working together – collaboratively – nonprofits, government and other sectors will improve lives.”

As proposed, the project will include the following:
 
  • One regional profile website that will include charts, data tables, and analysis of the three-county region (Dutchess, Orange, and Ulster).
  • Three separate community profile websites (Dutchess, Orange and Ulster) to include charts, data tables, and analysis specific to the individual county with comparisons to the region.
  • Four complete community profiles (region, plus three individual county profiles) based upon a consistent set of 50 indicators.
  • Key Trends analysis for the six main fields (e.g. education) for each of the four community profile websites.
  • Summary Report compiling key trends for each of the four profile websites.
  • Demographic indicators, including total population, age of population, population by race and ethnicity, and household type, for each of the four profile websites.
  • Regular updating of indicator data, charts, and analysis, as well as county and regional summaries.
 
The Dyson Foundation has teamed with CGR on important community-based research projects in the past. In 2009, the Foundation commissioned CGR to conduct a review and analysis of salaries and benefits for Dutchess County legislators and executive staff.  In 2005, CGR received a grant to conduct the Mid-Hudson Valley Nonprofit Economic Impact Study.
 
Many cities and regions around the county have similar community indicator projects and CGR has developed and maintains such projects for other communities such as Rochester and Herkimer-Oneida counties. The Center for Governmental Research (CGR) was founded in 1915 by George Eastman as a bureau of municipal research in Rochester NY to serve as an “independent, non-partisan agency for keeping citizens informed.”  Today as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with offices in Rochester and Albany, CGR’s activities focus on issues that affect the quality of life in communities both inside and outside of New York State.
 
 
Background
 
United Way of Dutchess County
United Way of Dutchess County is one of the area’s premier community-impact organizations, serving as a resource and convener to help increase community capacity to meet community needs. Its mission is to build a stronger, healthier community by raising resources and developing partnerships to make a measurable difference in people’s lives. More than 50,000 county residents each year rely on a United Way funded program, partnership or initiative for assistance. For more information visit www.unitedwaydutchess.org.
 
 Community Foundation serving Dutchess, Ulster and Putnam counties 
Established in 1969, the Community Foundation is your first resource for everything charitable. Currently, the Foundation administers more than 435 charitable funds established by donors who primarily live in Dutchess, Putnam and Ulster counties.  Since the Foundation’s inception, more than $14 million in grants and scholarships has been awarded to our community. For more information about the Community Foundation call 845-452-3077 or visit www.cfdcny.org.
 
The Dyson Foundation
The Dyson Foundation is a private grant making foundation headquartered in Dutchess County and directed by the Dyson family under the leadership of Foundation President Robert R. Dyson. The Dyson Foundation's mission is to improve and enhance the quality of life in the region for all of its residents, especially those most vulnerable or economically disadvantaged. For more information visit www.dysonfoundation.org
 
 

Dyson Foundation Forges Partnership with Mid-Hudson Children's Museum - December 2010

December 21, 2010
 
Foundation Purchases Water Street Property as Investment in ‘Waterfront Stabilization’
 
POUGHKEEPSIE—The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum sold its North Water Street property to the Dyson Foundation on Monday, Dec. 20 for $1.4 million and then entered into a long-term lease that enables the family-centered nonprofit to maintain its base of operations at the waterfront location.
 
Leaders from the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum and the Dyson Foundation described the transaction as an innovative partnership that will benefit the Children’s Museum while helping to secure the stability of the Poughkeepsie waterfront, which is facing increased development pressures following the success of the Walkway Over the Hudson and new projects slated for the area. All proceeds from the sale went to retire the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum’s entire mortgage debt on the property.
 
“We believe this partnership is in the best interests of the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, our many members, and the nearly 60,000 children and parents that are enlightened by our work each year,” said Tracy Cass MacKenzie, President of the Museum’s Board of Directors. “We anticipate continuing operations at the 75 North Water Street property for a long time.”
 
Museum Executive Director Edward Glisson added that the partnership will allow the Children’s Museum to concentrate on its core strengths. “The purchase by the Dyson Foundation is enabling us to focus on running a museum without the overarching problems of owning and maintaining the building and grounds,” he said.
 
The Dyson Foundation took the unique step of purchasing the property—which includes the main two-story building, a parking lot and a waterfront pavilion—in order to both assist the Children’s Museum with its long term goals and as an investment in a strategically important piece of  property along the City of Poughkeepsie’s waterfront.
 
The Foundation provided significant funding and professional support for the development of the Walkway Over the Hudson, which has attracted nearly 800,000 visitors since it opened in October, 2009.  A new 21-story, high-speed elevator linking the city’s waterfront to the Walkway will be constructed next year on land located just to the north of the Children’s Museum property.
 
“With the success of the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park and the pending construction of the new waterfront elevator, the Foundation decided to make a long-term investment in the Children’s Museum property,” said Diana Gurieva, Executive Vice President of the Dyson Foundation. “We believe this is in the best interests of the Children’s Museum as well as the City of Poughkeepsie.”
 
The transaction was completed on Monday following nearly a year of discussion and deliberation between the two parties. The Children’s Museum’s Board of Directors voted unanimously on June 14 to approve the sale. A long-term lease was subsequently signed allowing the Children’s Museum to maintain its base of operations at the waterfront location.

'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