Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia & Greene Counties

“Recognizing and developing internal capacity is essential to our ability to assist in building a healthy, vibrant and sustainable community. Support from partners enhances the vital services we provide to our communities.” — Evon Antonio, Executive Director

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties (CCE Columbia and Greene) came into being in 2012, when the century-old extension organizations in each county consolidated into one entity. Like all Cornell Cooperative Extension organizations, CCE Columbia and Greene works to improve life within its community by connecting people with the information they need. Using a collaborative approach that combines research-based tools and local experience, CCE Columbia and Greene advocates for and provides educational programs and community resources designed to maintain and enhance health and wellness, youth and family development, the environment, and economic sustainability.

Upon the retirement of CCE Columbia and Greene’s executive director, the organization appointed an existing staff member to the post of interim executive director and applied for a Dyson Foundation Management Assistance Mini-Grant to develop a leadership succession plan. The goals of the plan included identifying the desired expertise and qualities of its next executive director, the organizational priorities and interests that would be important for the new leader to focus on, and the internal systems and processes that would need to be in place for a successful transition. (Based on this, they concluded that the right candidate was already in place, and the interim became the new executive director.) Management Assistance grants like this one support the theme of Strengthening Nonprofits, through funding that builds upon and enhances an organization’s core operational capacity.

During 2019, CCE Columbia and Greene also received project support funding from the Dyson Foundation for their Parenting with Confidence program. This program provides free parenting education classes to parents and caregivers who may need extra support and guidance in raising their children, and has successfully reduced the high rate of calls to Child Protective Services and resulting foster care placements. This Safety Net-themed funding provides parents and caregivers with the support needed to cope with past hardships, gain self-confidence and control over their lives, and provide their children with the greatest chance of success.