Mia Michaelides: First Time Ambassador Dives Right In

Mia Michaelides, RHHS ‘17

Mia Michaelides, RHHS ‘17

Mia Michaelides (RHHS ‘17) joined our ambassador cohort in 2018 and jumped quickly into her advocacy work. Mia is currently a sophomore at Fraleigh Dickinson University majoring in Business Administration and Human Resources. On campus, Mia is involved with a sustainable entrepreneurship student group called Enactus, and is currently serving as their Vice President. Through Enactus, Mia became connected with the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation (ECF), and was “motivated to work with ECF because of their incredible work supporting families dealing with the immense financial and emotional burdens of pediatric cancer.”

This past grant cycle, the Ascienzo Family Foundation provided a $5,000 grant to ECF to help out families with costs of housing, car payments, transportation, and medical expenses while they care for their child. As Mia described in her grant application, families with children who have cancer are faced with difficult and urgent financial needs, and ECF helps these families out with assistance outside of the hospital care. ECF provides over 220 New Jersey families with in-home counseling, material assistance, and emergency financial assistance through their Family Assistance Fund. We were excited to learn more about their work, and be able to contribute funds to increase the number of families ECF can serve!

Mia also plays lacrosse at FDU and talks about her community service involvement here (thanks for the shout-out, Mia!).

Winter Greetings

Warm thoughts your way, as we endure the frigid temperatures!


January has  historically been our "time away" period to reenergize and reflect on previous year's activity. This past month has been no different, with the exception of a well-spent Martin Luther King Jr. Day on the 21st. A few of our local ambassadors (Emma Donahue, Brenna Dolan, and Tess Rothwell) assisted at the Community Center where Bard College sponsored a Day of Engagement in conjunction with the Center's Repair Cafe. The Ambassadors helped Chef Larry Anthony (you may remember hearing about him from the No-Cost Food Market in November), the Food Director for the Red Hook, Rhinebeck, and Pine Plains School Districts, prepare nutritious soup and salads for the public who visited the pop-up café.

Our participation was a nice follow up to the Nourish Your Neighbor Food Campaign from the fall, and we’ve loved every opportunity to engage more with Bard Center for Civic Engagement, the RH Community Center, and all the community members who came by during the event. There is enthusiasm among our local partners and ambassadors to keep pursuing additional healthy food programs. This could take many forms, such as a Chef Cook-Off, partnering with sustainable food delivery systems like FeedHV, continuing education through our Garden Club program grant at Mill Road Elementary School, or senior assistance at the Community Center. We'll keep you posted, and if you have any ideas, please send them our way!

Robinson Greig: Advocating for Fresh Food in Boston

Class of 2015 Ambassador Robinson Greig

Class of 2015 Ambassador Robinson Greig

Inaugural ambassador Robinson Greig (RHHS ‘09) has found several ways to get involved in Boston since studying Mechanical Engineering at Northeastern University. When he first joined the Foundation, Robinson advocated for Resilient Coders, a group that works to “spread code literacy to communities traditionally underrepresented in technology,” and believes “in social justice through economic empowerment.”

For the past three years, Robinson has advocated on behalf of Fresh Truck, a group that provides mobile healthy food markets to those who need it most in the Greater Boston Area. He says, “Working with the foundation has encouraged me to get more involved with these organizations. I'm always looking out for more ways to help Fresh Truck continue to grow; whether that means connecting them with advisors and sponsors, volunteering at their events, or batting ideas back and forth with their team.” This year, the foundation provided a $5,000 grant to Fresh Truck’s new program, Fresh Connect, which, “makes it possible for healthcare providers and other organizations invested in the health of communities to prescribe food as medicine.” The program has gone through a successful pilot version, and the Foundation’s grant will enable FreshConnect to enroll an additional 60 senior households.

Robinson is currently a graduate student at Harvard Business School.

Welcoming 2019 as We Reflect on 2018

We wish everyone a warm welcome into 2019!

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This past year has brought us much joy and growth- from accepting a new ambassador class, to meeting our Twenty-five Grant Initiative with 10 local Red Hook grants and 15 grants through our ambassador network, to increasing our total charitable giving to $165,000 total (see short explanations of all the grants here) - and we're excited to see what this year holds. We thank you all for being a part of a successful year.

Throughout 2018 we were able to foster stronger bonds with organizations we have been working with for several years now, as well as begin some new partnerships. We're constantly amazed and uplifted by the volunteer work being done in Red Hook and across the country by our ambassadors. It keeps us going!

Our year-end celebration took place at The Elmendorph Inn in Red Hook on Dec. 23rd, a brunch of some 25 ambassadors and directors. Everyone gathered with a thankful spirit for our common Red Hook bonds and passion to provide opportunities for those in need. We took the opportunity to introduce our new Ambassador Class of 2019, as well. They are: Tessa Rothwell (RHHS '19), Emily Appenzeller (RHHS '18), Elizabeth Ricci (RHHS '15), Erica Mansfield (RHHS '14), Iana Robitaille (RHHS '11), Fatima Ismail (RHHS '11), and Rohan Parikh (RHHS '05). 

We welcome the challenges of 2019 from maintaining communications with an ever expanding pool of ambassadors to our local outreach in developing long range goals. Best Wishes in your outlook, as well!

Ali, Brittany, Nick, Barbara, & Sophie 

Your AFF Directors