United Way, Association of Fundraising Professionals, and Vanacore, DeBenedictus, DiGovanni, & Weddell Build Capacity of Non-Profits By Awarding Scholarships to 10 Local Fundraising Professionals

Collaboration is key to fundraising success these days for the region's many non-profit and human service agencies. Budgets stretch a little further, manpower is enhanced, and programs and services are strengthened. Now, thanks to the generosity of a corporate partner added to the mix, increased knowledge and improved job skills will be another significant collaboration outcome for non-profits in the mid-Hudson region. 
United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region and Newburgh-based accounting firm Vanacore, DeBenedictus, DiGovanni & Weddell (VDDW) have teamed up to help build the capacity of fundraising professionals and non-profits in the Hudson Valley. The firm granted $2,500 to United Way to sponsor 10 memberships in the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Mid-Hudson Chapter. The membership scholarships, which were awarded recently, were granted to eight fundraising professionals and two young professionals (under age 30). Scholarship applications were received from 21 candidates from throughout the Mid-Hudson region. 
"Our firm is proud to support the good work of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Mid-Hudson Chapter,' said Thomas Weddell, managing partner of Vanacore, DeBenedictus, DiGovanni  & Weddell (VDDW). "AFP encourages and promotes peer networking for our region's fundraising and development professionals allowing members to learn and benefit from the experience of others so that all can do their jobs even better in service to our communities and the people who live here." 
AFP scholarships were awarded to:
- Sara Ugolini - Northeast Community Council, Inc., Millerton
- Loretta Spence - Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, White Plains
- Danielle Schuka - American Cancer Society, New Windsor
- Lucinda Poindexter - Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, Cornwall
- Elaine Hayes - Mount Gulian Society, Beacon
- Karolyn Thompson - Leadership Orange, New Windsor
- Christina Boryk - Rebuilding Together Dutchess County, Poughkeepsie
- Dana Gavin - Child Abuse Prevention Center, Poughkeepsie
The Young Professional scholarship recipients are:
- Ava Bynum - Hudson Valley Seed, Beacon
- Ilana Charette - Scenic Hudson, Poughkeepsie
"We are grateful for the support from Vanacore, DeBenedictus, DiGovanni  & Weddell and United Way," said Melissa McCoy, AFP Mid-Hudson Chapter president and Director of Corporate Initiatives at Elant, Inc. "It is through collaboration like this that we are able to learn and grow as professionals and share our knowledge and experiences with the next generation of fundraising professionals. I applaud our membership chair April Gozza, United Way, and VDDW for developing a creative program that will have a wave of positive benefits throughout our region for years to come." 
The Mid-Hudson chapter of AFP, a national organization, provides a network of resources to fundraising professionals who serve approximately 4,500 public charities in the counties of Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, and Ulster. The Association works to build and support the efforts of the region's not-for-profits and fundraising professionals through a variety of educational and networking programs, including web and audio conferences, special events, guest speakers, and signature programs such as National Philanthropy Day.
Award recipient Karolyn Thompson, Executive Director of Leadership Orange, said, "It's an honor to have been selected as one of the AFP scholarship recipients. As a member of AFP I will have the opportunity to expand my professional network, learn from the experience and expertise of other development professionals, acquire new skills and resources, and stay on top of current industry trends. Being able to network with representatives from other organizations throughout the region will also allow me to share our Leadership Orange program with others and seek out ways to collaborate with other organizations. I'm looking forward to getting involved," added Thompson. 
"Thanks to the generous donation from VDDW, the AFP scholarship membership program is a win for all involved," said April Gozza, United Way Vice President of Resource Development and AFP membership chair. "Working together we are enhancing the capacity of our region's not-for-profit organizations and making a difference in the lives of the people they serve." 
All of the scholarship recipients are first-time members of AFP. By accepting the membership, they agree to attend 10 AFP events throughout the year, including National Philanthropy Day on November 15, 2014, join and actively participate on a standing AFP committee, and subscribe to the AFP code of Ethical Principals and Standards and agree to promote the Donor Bill of Rights. Those applicants that were not selected for a scholarship will receive a coupon from AFP National for $50 off of a yearly membership.
Additional information about AFP, Mid-Hudson Valley Chapter, can be found at http://afpmhv.afpnet.org.