First Round of Agency Partner Grant Awards Announced

First Round of Agency Partner Grant Awards Announced

County Executive Molinaro checks out a video project created by George a participant in the Spark Media Project. Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro announced the first round of funding awards for the 2015-16 Dutchess County Agency Partner Grant Program today during a special site visit at Spark Media Project (formerly known as the Children’s Media Project) in Poughkeepsie. Seven programs, representing six agencies were awarded a total of $275,000. The Agency Partner Grant Program awards are given to local non-profit agencies to deliver outcome-based programs in areas of identified need. The funding categories for the 2015-16 grant awards are: Economic & Cultural Benefit; Health & Human Service; and Environmental & Agricultural Sustainability.

County Executive Molinaro said, “This afternoon I had the opportunity to visit with Spark Media Lab students and program staff to learn about their work and hear about their experiences in the program. Since its inception two years ago, the Agency Partner Grant Program has produced positive, measurable results impacting residents throughout Dutchess County. Residents of all ages have benefited from the work of our local non-profit agencies, and I am pleased to continue that partnership.”

County Executive Molinaro implemented the Agency Partner Grant Program in 2013 to replace the ‘routine’ funding many non-profits had historically received in the county budget through individual line items. The program provides the ability to respond to evolving community needs through a competitive process designed to produce better outcomes and allocate scarce resources more effectively. A total of $780,000 in grant funding was made available for programs designed to address needs such as poverty and homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault, youth employment, senior transportation, and agriculture and farming sustainability, among others.

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County Executive Molinaro chats with Dutchess County Legislature Minority Leader Barbara Jeter-Jackson (center right), Nicole Fenichel-Hewitt, Executive Director (center left) and Mary Ellen Iatropoulos, Director of Education (left) for Spark Media Project after checking another project that Spark Media Project participant, Aren, is working on.The Agency Partner Grant Program is administered on an April 1st to March 31st program year under the direction of the Department of Planning & Development. For the 2015-16 program year, the department received 39 applications from 25 agencies, requesting over $1.5 million in funding. Applications are reviewed by the Community Development Advisory Committee (CDAC), a committee comprised of members of the local nonprofit community and county and municipal officials. The CDAC’s funding recommendations are then submitted to the County Executive for final approval.

Dutchess County Legislature Minority Leader Barbara Jeter-Jackson, who serves on the Community Development Advisory Committee, said, “The grant applications we reviewed this year highlight the numerous and diverse needs in our community. The programs receiving funding through the 2015-16 Agency Partner Grant will provide critical services and programs to residents of all ages living and working in Dutchess County.”

Programs receiving 2015-16 Agency Partner Grant funding include:

Economic & Cultural Benefit

Spark Media Project (previously Children’s Media Project) – $15,000 to support youth vocational assistance through an after-school and summer workforce program at the Spark Media Lab, where participants receive training and experience in media production, by working on the award-winning DROP TV series and broadcasting Radio Uprising, SMP’s weekly radio broadcast.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County – $95,000 to support Youth Vocational Training Programs, Green Teen Community Gardening (GTCG) in Beacon and No Child Left Inside (NCLI) in Poughkeepsie, which will provide at least 30 Dutchess County youth with paid working opportunities and work readiness skills.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County – $50,000 to support 4-H youth development, to prepare the next generation of agri-professionals via development of literacy and public speaking skills, focusing on writing comprehension, and developing marketable job skills.

Literacy Connections – $30,000 to help adults attain basic literacy skills through the Adult & Family Literacy Program and provide reading enrichment to children struggling with reading through the Book Buddies program.

“We appreciate the County’s continued support of our after-school youth employment program which provides high school aged youth in the City of Poughkeepsie and surrounding area with training and experience in media production. Through their work in the Spark Media Lab, youth acquire skills and knowledge that will assist them as they transition into college and the workforce. We are proud to partner with Dutchess County to provide these services which have made a lasting impact on our youth participants,” said Nicole Fenichel-Hewitt, Executive Director of Spark Media Project.

Health & Human Service

Hudson River Housing, Inc. – $25,000 to maintain a Housing Navigator program to assist homeless adults and families in transition to appropriate and stable housing. This program will also be eligible for a similar amount of funding from New York State through the Dutchess County Department of Community and Family Services (DCFS) for total support of $50,000.

Catholic Charities Community Services of Dutchess County – $25,000 to provide comprehensive case management for low-income residents by providing ongoing services to meet the immediate and basic needs of clients who are at risk of homelessness or who have difficulty affording basic necessities.

Family Promise of the Mid-Hudson Valley, Inc. – $10,000 to hire a case manager to provide families who are homeless with short term emergency housing and creation of a management plan to obtain and secure employment and housing.

“I congratulate the recipients of the 2015-16 Agency Partner Grant Program award. These programs are invaluable to so many in our community…helping people to overcome the challenges of poverty and homelessness and cultivating life skills for young people to ensure successful futures,” said Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Rob Rolison.

Mary Marshall, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Community Services of Dutchess County said, “The funding we received last year through the Agency Partner Grant program allowed us to provide housing and direct financial assistance to hundreds of county residents. We are grateful for the continued support from the county which will allow us to deliver comprehensive case management services and financial literacy training to residents in need.”

Additional funding announcements for the Agency Partner Grant Program will be made in the coming weeks.

To learn more about the Agency Partner Grant Program, visit:

Author: Harlem Valley News