A local initiative, Hudson Valley Gives, acted as an overwhelming display of the people of the Hudson Valley coming together to support philanthropy.
“Hudson Valley Gives 2020 was a huge success. We were amazed and thrilled with the outpouring of support from so many people throughout the region,” said Elizabeth Rowley, executive director of the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan, organizers of the one-day fundraiser.
Each year, the fundraising initiative supports local nonprofits across seven counties, from Westchester up to Ulster. This year took on a special meaning.
"We had 3,596 unique donors, and that equated to 4,655 donations," Rowley said.
It equaled a record-breaking haul of more than $500,000, and that number continues to rise.
“Thank you, Hudson Valley," Rowley said. "Thank you, everyone. It was really an amazing, amazing day for us.”
The organization that ended up at the top of the leaderboard was the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum in Poughkeepsie.
"We are an interactive children's museum, hands on, we really focus on serving and engaging families with children ages zero to six," said Lara Litchfield-Kimber, executive director of the museum.
The museum offers the public a special program that is unique to their needs.
"One of the programs we developed four years ago was a public farmer's market. What we never could have predicted would have been that when all museums were required to shutter, is that we would have an essential business," she said.
The money they raised will go directly to that effort.
"The City of Poughkeepsie has a pretty significant food insecurity issue, and it was affecting the families that we serve, but our mission is pretty simple: We empower young children and their families," Litchfield-Kimber said.
Litchfield-Kimber said they’ve learned a major lesson.
"The idea that people won't give in the middle of a crisis, this, I think, is not true. Don't be afraid to ask just because there's uncertainty, because there are always people who want to help," Litchfield-Kimber said.