Dyson Foundation Grant Aids SUNY Orange Foundation Board of Directors Initiative

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- Supported by a board capacity-building grant from the Dyson Foundation, the SUNY Orange Foundation in February embarked upon a year-long board diversity and inclusion education and strategic planning initiative.

This effort focuses on enhancing the Foundation’s engagement with community leaders who represent the diverse communities served by the College. The project is a priority embedded in the SUNY Orange Foundation 2014-2017 Strategic Plan.

A Diversity Task Force, comprised of Foundation Board members and chaired by Helen Ullrich, developed the diversity and inclusion initiative and will continue working with the Board’s Executive Committee to coordinate the process. Funding from the Dyson Foundation grant will assist the SUNY Orange Foundation in underwriting the cost of retaining Vincent Berkeley Jr., a North Carolina-based consultant, to plan and facilitate a series of board retreats. The Foundation held the first two of a series of half-day meetings in February. Upcoming sessions are scheduled for March and June.

“It is important that we, as a Board, are more representative of the College’s student body. Our work in the community, on behalf of the College, puts us in a position to significantly impact the lives of our students in many positive ways,” says Rich Rowley, Chair of the SUNY Orange Foundation Board of Directors. “A more diverse board will allow us to engage a broader array of partners and ensure that our decision-making reflects all segments of the students and communities that the College serves.”

The Board expects this initiative will allow it to expand support of the Foundation and College as it engages a broader span of constituents who represent the changing demographics of the community. In addition, the Board hopes to engage individuals who represent diverse communities to help it more fully understand how best to employ scholarships and College programs to attract and retain students from various communities.

The Foundation anticipates the project will serve as a model of inclusivity and diversity for non-profit board leadership. Ultimately, the initiative may lead to a demographic profile of the Board of Directors that more accurately reflects the makeup of the SUNY Orange student population and the community the College serves.

For more information, contact Vinnie Cazzetta, executive director of the SUNY Orange Foundation, at (845) 341-4726.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940