Seeing the Foundation grow from a famous Mr. A thought to an organization with a 30+ Ambassador Network across the country, strong local partnerships, and tens of thousands in giving each year, has been incredible.
For me, one of the most exciting things about being on the Foundation’s board has been seeing all of the local and national connections form and inform each other. Fellow RHHS grads continue to invest in the new homes they’ve settled in across the country, but share those experiences with us, learn from each other in the process of grant-making, and frequently have ideas for how the Foundation can be more involved in the local Red Hook community. Hitting five years means we’ve grown relationships with nonprofits to whom we’ve offered grants via active Ambassadors. It means we’ve visited Ambassadors and the grantee organizations, seen Ambassadors become Directors, Ambassadors mentor new Ambassadors, and our reach in the Red Hook area grow significantly. I can’t wait to see what the next five years will bring!
From Brittany Mosher (Director and Former Ambassador)
Over the past 15 years, I have lived in New York, Alaska, Montana, Colorado, Massachusetts, and, now, Vermont. Moving can be difficult, but it is also a time of hope and excitement. I love having the opportunity to get to know the character of a new place, to see how community members care for one another, and to become a part of this yourself. Being a Director of the Ascienzo Family Foundation has given me a bird’s eye view into communities all over the country, and the people who make those communities unique.
The Ascienzo Family Foundation is helping redefine philanthropist, by putting funding in the hands of wonderful change-makers, innovators, and do-ers. We believe that some of the best philanthropists in our communities might be those who have creative ideas and big hearts, but limited funding. I am so proud to be part of an organization that recognizes the valuable contributions that young people, teachers, community enthusiasts, and everyday people can make when given the tools that allow them to take action. Thank you for sharing your communities with us.
From Nick Fiorellini (Intern):
At last year’s hardscrabble festival, I was assisting Nick Ascienzo table and talk few initiatives that the Foundation was planning. It was our biggest year yet: We were spearheading our twenty-five-grant initiative, planning a no-cost food market—with pounds and pounds of locally grown produce, and (arguably most importantly) Nick was the grand marshal in the parade that was going to happen later that day.
As we passed out information about the Foundation and everything we were up to as an organization for the next few months, it seemed that there were more people who did stop to say hi and catch up with Nick than didn’t. Everyone in Red Hook is one or two degrees away from him. Whether he was your math teacher or a donor to your organization, the name Ascienzo probably means something to you—and has probably affected you in a palpable way.
Unlike many of the directors the foundation has had over the years, I did not have the privilege of knowing as Nick a teacher. But I do know it’s impossible to get involved in the public sector without being verklempt about the community you’re advocating for. Through witnessing the connections and relationships he has maintain after all these years—and seeing him interact with the Red Hook community—it’s obvious that he’s deeply invested and concerned about providing better opportunities for Red Hook and beyond.
Because of this, whenever a grant application comes through to the Foundation—whether from the local library or a non-profit an ambassador works for—it means something to the Ascienzo Family Foundation. These programs that we support are the heartbeats of the communities they serve, and it’s important to remember that supporting these educational, poverty alleviation, and senior care initiatives benefits us all.
As we celebrate five years as an organization, it’s not only important to recognize what the Ascienzo Family Foundation has accomplished over these years, but to begin to think of the change we will be making moving forward. In another five years’ time, when the face of Red Hook and the Foundation has changed, I can only hope that some of the people in the programs we funded will have the chance to come full circle and serve as ambassadors, interns, directors, and volunteers for an organization that helps make Red Hook, Red Hook.