2013 Year in Review
In 2013 the Dyson Foundation gave to an array of nonprofits throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley region and beyond, primarily investing in established organizations serving critical human service needs. The Foundation also awarded several large multi-year grants in 2013, committing more than $21 million for funding future projects. And, after nearly two years of development, the Foundation completed and opened Upper Landing Park in the City of Poughkeepsie to the public.
The Foundation paid out $18.6 million to 222 different nonprofits in 2013, similar to giving levels established during the previous year. Many of the Foundation’s 271 grants were to local and regional charities providing services in the six-county Mid-Hudson Region (comprised of Dutchess, Columbia, Greene, Orange, Putnam, and Ulster). As in past years, grant size ranged widely by amounts—from a low of $400 to a high of $1,000,000—with most grants averaging $25,000.
In keeping with recent trends, the Foundation provided a significant commitment to programmatic and general operating support for many nonprofits providing essential services for Mid-Hudson Valley residents. Those two categories of giving accounted for 206 of the Foundation’s 271 grants last year and slightly more than $12 million of its overall giving. Typical charities receiving general operating support were nonprofits engaged in feeding destitute residents, such as Dutchess Outreach ($100,000), or those providing emergency housing assistance and crisis counseling, such as Hudson River Housing ($125,000) and Family of Woodstock ($150,000).
Of the several large, multi-year grants awarded in 2013, the largest—a $5 million commitment over five years—will go to Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. The fund will endow a professorship to support the college’s new Cornell Tech campus being established in New York City. Cornell Tech aims to educate the next generation of leaders who will advance technology, generate cutting-edge research that addresses real-world problems, and contribute to the New York City community in significant ways. Other significant multi-year grant awards went to Walkway Over the Hudson, Health Quest, Vassar Brothers Medical Center Foundation, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Of the Foundation’s two main giving programs, the Mid-Hudson Valley Grant Program accounted for $11,033,454 of its total giving in 2013, while Legacy & Family Interest Grants totaled $7,246,620. These amounts were similar to levels established in previous years and represent 98% of the Foundation’s overall giving for the year. The two other programs—Director’s Discretionary and Support for Philanthropy—each represented 1% of the Foundation’s charitable portfolio.
The Foundation gave substantially less in the Management Assistance Program (MAP) sub-category in 2013. The $240,000 paid in 22 MAP grants in the year represented a significant reduction from the 2012 total of $468,750. Over the past few years, grants for organizational assessment and strategic planning have represented a shrinking portion of mini-grants – now making up a combined 39% of grant dollars, down from 52% in 2012 and 71% in 2011. This year, board development and financial management projects were more significant – at 16 and 17%, respectively.
In addition to its grant making in 2013, the Dyson Foundation oversaw the completion of Upper Landing Park in the City of Poughkeepsie. After purchasing the long vacant, overgrown parcel from the City in 2012, the Foundation worked for several months constructing walking paths, benches, historic signage, landscaping, and other amenities at the historic waterfront property before opening it as a new public park in the fall of 2013. In addition to serving as a “passive recreation” park, the property provides access to the base of the new waterfront elevator (which opened to the public in August, 2014) allowing access to and from Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, which towers 210 feet above the Poughkeepsie waterfront.
Another Foundation initiative spanning all of 2013 and continuing into 2014 focused on the overall development of the Poughkeepsie waterfront. Funded by a $150,000 grant awarded in 2012 to the Dutchess County Department of Planning, a consulting firm specializing in urban waterfront planning was retained to coordinate a master planning effort for the City of Poughkeepsie and Town of Poughkeepsie waterfront area. The firm hired to carry out the project— Stantec Planning & Landscape Architecture P.C. —engaged the public as well as numerous government officials, business leaders and nonprofit representatives in developing a comprehensive vision for waterfront development in the city and town. Ultimately they were charged with the creation of an Integrated Waterfront Redevelopment Strategy that knits together several related studies and which builds upon preceding work that has been on waterfront redevelopment. This included the creation of a design plan for pathways and signage for primary connections throughout the area and the preparation of zoning amendments and design standards for a waterfront district.
At the end of 2013, the total market value of the Foundation’s investment portfolio was $245.5 million, which represented an increase of $7.9 million over its market value at the end of 2012. The Dyson Foundation's investment portfolio had a return of approximately $4.4 million in FY2012.