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Awards of Distinction Finalist Category Spotlight: Dutchess County Executive Overall Award

Date Published: May 29, 2020

What about your business / organization is inspiring to you?

Dutchess County Fairgrounds: Teaching and promoting agriculture and creating family traditions.

Hudson Valley Renegades: The Renegades are celebrating our 27th year of providing affordable fun and entertainment in the Hudson Valley. The most inspiring part is the impact we have had on families and different organizations. By focusing on the ballpark experience, we have allowed families and friends to create long-lasting memories and have become a major part of people’s lives and summers. We have had the opportunity to watch children grow up at the park and now have the opportunity to watch their children grow. Many of them have gone on to work for us.  We are proud of our community involvement and the impact we have had on organizations. Last year we made over $170,000 in in-kind donations to hundreds of organizations throughout the entire community. Since our inception we have donated over $750,000 to local family and children’s initiatives. Through our creative advertising packages and captive audience, we have helped businesses expand their outreach to residents throughout the Hudson Valley.

Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum: As the only children’s museum in the entire Hudson Valley, we believe MHCM has an important role to play in empowering families from ALL backgrounds.  So while we are known as a vibrant destination for family learning and engagement, we are really much more than that.  We embrace our role as a platform to advance social justice throughout our regional community.  We work to level the playing field in many ways - from making sure families in need or in crisis can have access to the museum through free admission and field trip initiatives, to leveraging our institutional resources to fight urban food insecurity by operating a public farmers market. 

How is your business / organization handling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Dutchess County Fairgrounds: We are preparing to welcome people back to celebrate when this pandemic passes.

Hudson Valley Renegades: We understand that this is a very challenging time for everyone. To help with the hardships that we are all facing, the Renegades implemented a #GadesGivingBack initiative to donate a portion of profits from ticket sales, gift cards and food and beverage back to the community. The Renegades plan to keep doing things throughout the season to support this initiative. Once things settle down and we return to a sense of normalcy, we will be here with open arms to greet people and look forward to bringing everyone together again at The Dutch!

Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum: Even before the New York on Pause executive order was announced, MHCM announced its closure to visitors so that we could lead by example and do our part in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in our community.  However, the extended closure puts the museum in an extremely vulnerable position due to the loss of significant revenue.  As a nonprofit organization, we do not have a large cash reserve, and we stand to lose 51% of our earned revenue which comes in the spring in the form of admission sales, field trips, and birthday parties. We have had to furlough our entire staff team (other than our executive director, who has taken a voluntary 50% salary reduction) while we pursue various forms of disaster relief assistance. There is one bright spot, and that is that the Poughkeepsie Waterfront Market is considered an essential business under the New York on Pause order. We have been able to quickly organize, rally our vendors, secure a little funding, and now have the opening of this seasonal farmers market planned for one month early on May 4th.

What are your hopes for the future of travel in Dutchess County?

Dutchess County Fairgrounds: We hope that Dutchess County will continue to be a travel destination.  

Hudson Valley Renegades: We are very fortunate to be located in this thriving area that is filled with amazing attractions, a rich history and culture, incredible food options, and awe-inspiring views. There is something to do for everyone! Our hope is that travel continues to grow and that this area remains one of the top visited destinations in NYS. We are grateful for our tourism partners and thrilled to work with one another.

Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum: Our primary concern right now is for the health and safety of all who live and work in Dutchess County. This is an incredible community - one with proven resilience and a deep caring for its people, businesses and tourist destinations. As a region, we need to get our legs back under us and ensure our infrastructure is sound so that we can again roll out the welcome mat for visitors from far and wide.  To get there, we will all need to dig in and give a little more of our time, talent and treasure to support our neighbors who are suffering through this unprecedented public health crisis. Together, and in time, we will be again be ready to introduce the world to our local treasures and the wonder of the area.

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