Giving Back: Organizations We Love

In this season of giving, we are spotlighting some of our favorite organizations.

The Commission on Economic Opportunity (CEO) brings “hope, opportunity, and success” to people throughout the Capital Region in fulfillment of its mission is “to preserve and advance the self-sufficiency, well being, and growth of individuals, children and families through education, guidance and resources.” CEO offers Community, Housing, Early Childhood, and Youth and Family Services. CEO has a centralized intake process that quickly connects families and individuals with all pertinent services in CEO’s continuum of care. Among CEO’s many programs are: Career Development, Food Pantry, Foster Grandparents, Transport a Hero, Babies-in-Waiting, Fatherhood Initiative, Head Start, Weatherization, RESTORE (emergency home repair for elderly), Teenage Opportunity Program, WIC, and YouthBuild.

The Hudson Valley Community College Foundation “works to promote Hudson Valley Community College’s educational programs and services and to enhance its institutional goals and objectives.” Hudson Valley Community College is the second-largest institution of higher learning in the Capital Region, serving approximately 13,500 students each semester. As a comprehensive, full-service community college, Hudson Valley is committed to meeting the educational and training needs of diverse constituencies. Ninety-four percent of Hudson Valley graduates find immediate employment in their field or successfully transfer directly to a four-year institution following graduation. The Foundation, which is independent of the College, seeks external grants and donations to support initiatives that help Hudson Valley Community College remain at the forefront of higher education in the Capital Region.

The mission of the Rensselaer Land Trust (RLT) is to “conserve the open spaces, watersheds, and natural habitats of Rensselaer County, for the benefit of our communities and future generations.” Working with private landowners, the DEC, the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance, and others, RLT has preserved nearly 800 acres in Rensselaer County. These acres, many of which are accessible to the public, are legally and permanently protected from development, either by a conservation easement (a partnership between the land trust and a landowner whereby the landowner retains ownership but gives up development rights), or through outright donation of the land to RLT to hold forever wild. RLT aims to preserve the balanced mix of urban, suburban, and rural communities that is the foundation of Rensselaer County’s superb quality of life.

The Coyle Cassidy Food Pantry in Massachusetts provides nearly 300 local families with a bag of groceries on the last Saturday of every month. It also supplies holiday baskets, which contain all the fixings for a holiday meal, such as a turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, etc., in the Thanksgiving basket. In addition, the food pantry volunteers organize annual Christmas toy drives, and participate in the Project Bread Walk For Hunger, a twenty mile walk hosted annually in Boston to raise money for local food pantries. The Food Pantry celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year.