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Community Works Campaign Exceeds Goal, Thanks to Generosity of Vassar Employees

Vassar employees are facing many challenges of their own this year, but that didn’t stop them from going the extra mile to help others in the community. The College’s annual Community Works campaign, which supports local not-for-profit agencies, exceeded its $80,000 goal.

The College is handing out checks to 10 local organizations selected by the Community Works Committee based on nominations from Vassar employees. Committee member John Bradley, director of the Vassar Education Collaboration, said all of the agencies selected for funding this year were involved in direct care of those affected by “the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and social injustice.”

Bradley said he and others on the committee wondered whether Vassar employees would be able to be as generous as they had been in the past, but they set the 2021 goal at $80,000—$6,000 more than last year’s total—and donors responded. This year, 225 employees donated $83,500, which is more than had been raised through the Community Works campaign in nine years.

“We were facing many challenges in this year’s campaign,” Bradley said. “We couldn’t promote it in person—everything had to be virtual—so we had to take a real leap of faith when we set a higher target. No one on campus got a raise this year and many took voluntary furloughs, but the committee was enthusiastic, and we surpassed our goal.” 

Money from the Community Works campaign provides vital services for some of the most vulnerable groups in the region. Carlos Valencia, Dutchess County Reentry Coordinator for Exodus Transitional Community said the funds allocated for his organization will help those recently released from prison in numerous ways. “Our clients often leave prison with nothing but a few items in a small plastic bag,” Valencia said. “We provide clothing and hygiene products, and identification cards to help them access services. Sometimes, something as simple as a bus pass to get to a job interview can make all the difference.”

Exodus also runs classes in anger management and other skills to help the former inmates make the transition to life outside prison walls, and its caseworkers assist clients in obtaining medical care and housing as well as employment. “We are grateful to Vassar for helping us with our mission, “ Valencia said.