Hudson Valley Funders Network

Early in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was unfolding, the Dyson Foundation began having ad hoc conversations with other funders in the Hudson Valley to discuss what we all were doing to respond and help. These conversations evolved into the Hudson Valley Funders Network, which regularly convenes to discuss how best to help our communities and nonprofits survive, if not thrive, when the crisis is over. By working together, we leveraged grant dollars and knowledge to respond nimbly and effectively.

The Network’s response was informed by two surveys sent to nonprofit organizations to assess their needs, an ongoing review of the actions taken by the federal government and New York State, and a document by SeaChange Capital Partners called Tough Times Call for Tough Action: A Decision Framework for Nonprofit Leaders and Boards.

We commissioned the Center for Effective Philanthropy to conduct a rapid response survey in April 2020 as a quick way to get a handle on what was happening in the rapidly changing nonprofit landscape. Then, in June/July 2020, we engaged the New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON) to conduct a second survey to discern the specific needs of nonprofits.

Funders recognize that we alone do not have the financial resources to fully fund the sector, so we focused on a top need called for in the survey responses, Planning and Strategy. A program was developed with NYCON to offer technical assistance to preserve and sustain charitable missions coming out of the pandemic, and funding for strategic restructuring and graceful dissolutions for those that may need it. The Network created a website as a one-stop shop for nonprofits to access webinars, resources, and NYCON’s assistance.

The Network recognizes and celebrates the fact that nonprofits in the Hudson Valley region are relied upon in the direst of times and are essential to the health, economic, social justice, and civic fabric of our communities. The Network is deeply grateful for the resilience and creativity nonprofits consistently demonstrate in challenging times.