On Tuesday, January 5, 2016, the staff at Ashworth Creative randomly selected an Instagram photo with the #HVThankful hashtag as the winning entry for the 2015 #HVThankful challenge. #HVThankful, the brainchild of Poughkeepsie-based Ashworth Creative, encourages gratitude and philanthropy in the Hudson Valley by empowering local residents to speak up through social media. Emily Darrow, the Director of Marketing and Communication at United Way of the Orange and Dutchess Regions, whose photograph of the Hudson River was this year’s winning post, selected United Way as the charity to receive the 2015 #HVThankful award of $2,000. A celebration of the award winning organization will occur on February 9, 2016 at 10 a.m. at the United Way offices in Poughkeepsie, NY.
What makes the #HVThankful Challenge unique is that it reimagines the grantmaking and philanthropic processes by empowering Hudson Valley residents to engage in philanthropy and advocacy through social media. Emily Darrow was particularly proud to be a part of the donation of this gift, a contribution she says that many Hudson Valley residents, like herself, “wouldn’t be able to make at this level on their own.”
To participate in the campaign, #HVThankful asks residents to post images on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter of places, spaces, people, and items that they feel gratitude for in the Hudson Valley, and tag these posts using the #HVThankful hashtag. The winner then is able to select a charity to receive the funds that are donated by local business sponsors. 2015 sponsors included: Children’s Media Group, Premier Medical Group, Kirchhoff Consigli, Malcarne, Fox Radio, Page Park Associates, Highway Displays, and Marshall and Sterling.
The charity selected for 2015, United Way of the Dutchess and Orange Regions, has helped over 101,000 individuals in Dutchess and Orange County through its mission to build “a stronger, healthier community by raising funds, developing resources and forging partnerships that make a measurable differences in people's lives.” Each year through community conversations as well as a community volunteer grant review process, United Way is able to determine areas of greatest needs in our Hudson Valley region to effectively support programs promoting education, income, and health in Dutchess and Orange Counties.
For Emily Darrow, being a part of #HVThankful allowed her to express her gratitude for the area in which she was born and raised, while becoming a part of a greater charitable process. As the winning post was a picture she snapped of the Hudson River during a moment of quiet meditation, Emily states that “focusing on gratitude is good for health and the soul.”
365 Days of Gratitude
2016 will see the expansion of #HVThankful to support 365 days of philanthropy and generosity with increased #HVThankful outreach throughout the Hudson Valley. Eve Ashworth, owner of Ashworth Creative, believes that as the challenge grows in both visibility and philanthropy, the spirit of generosity that pervades our area will also grow, creating healthier and happier communities. Hudson Valley residents can begin posting on social media now, using the #HVThankful hashtag. An additional important step in securing this growth is through individual donations and business sponsorships. To learn more about donations and sponsorships, please contact Sarah Hurd, at (845) 877-0410 (ext. 102) or firstname.lastname@example.org.