Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley
“This is how we’re different: six in ten of our patients are on Medicaid, eight in ten are living at 150 percent of the poverty level or lower.” – Frances Fox-Pizzonia, Vice President of Education & Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley
Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley (PPMHV) provides sexual and reproductive healthcare to 20,000 women, men, and young people in Orange, Sullivan, Dutchess, and Ulster counties annually, as well as reaching over 35,000 members of the community through educational and outreach programs.
“The people we serve are the ones who are most at risk for cancers, unintended pregnancies, and STIs. They don’t have adequate access to education and resources,” says Fox-Pizzonia. Jessie Moore, Director of Sexuality Education for PPMHV, adds, “We are going into homeless shelters and soup kitchens because access to screenings isn’t the first concern of someone who doesn’t know how she is going to feed her family.”
Unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection rates, teen pregnancies and teen births continue to be areas of high concern in Ulster County. “People hear teen pregnancy rates are coming down,” says Fox-Pizzonia, “but we need to remember that this is because of improvements in education and access. We must educate teens so they understand how pregnancy will impact their lives economically and socially. There has to be a change in how the community thinks about these issues.”
PPMHV’s outreach program goes into the community and brings people together to talk about reproductive healthcare and its impact on our lives, normalizing it as a topic of discussion, to achieve a long-term solution instead of the prevalent approach of addressing it as a crisis.
In addition to general operating support and funding specifically targeting services in Ulster County, the Dyson Foundation provided a grant for security upgrades – in the wake of the shooting at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs in late 2015 – as part of an effort to ensure organizational stability by addressing patient and staff safety.
“After Colorado, our staff were at work the next day and the following weeks. It was telling that we were able to enact security upgrades immediately,” says Fox-Pizzonia.
The Dyson Foundation has long supported reproductive rights and health at the national policy level and the local level, and supports the provision of critical healthcare services to underserved communities in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Grants to Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley fall within the Health & Safety Net, Strengthening Nonprofits, and Public Policy funding themes.