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

25 Grant Initiative Update

12 Grants Funded so far!


Did you know about our twenty-five grant initiative? This year, one of the goals of the foundation is to fund twenty-five grants before the end of the grant cycle. As of today, the foundation has funded twelve of these grants!

The grants have been provided through local grant partnerships here in the Red Hook area, as well as through our ambassador networks across the country. Our grant cycle continues over the holiday season, so stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks.

Here are the programs we provided funding to so far:

If you or or someone you know is working near the greater Red Hook Community on projects related to programs that support elder care needs, educational pursuits for the underserved, or poverty alleviation, we encourage you to apply for funding! Click the link below for an application and email us at ascienzofamilyfoundation@gmail.com with any questions!

Giving Tuesday 2018- Nourish Your Neighbor


Giving Tuesday is almost upon us, but we have more work to do before then! This year two of our ambassadors have been hard at work on our Nourish Your Neighbor (NYN) campaign, trying to create a healthier food drive for the community. We kicked NYN off with a No-Cost Farmer’s Market on Nov. 10th, and will be collecting items for the food drive until Nov. 27th. For every item donated, we will match with $1. The goal is 10,000 items and $10,000, and we can’t do it without all of you!


Last year we ran a similar matching campaign, and members of the Red Hook community donated over 5,500 non-perishable items, with the AFF donating $3,250 to the RHFA to support local families during the holiday season. We hope to be able to provide more items and food vouchers this season, and donate healthier items as well!


Garden Club- Grant Profile

In the garden, we grow more than fruits, flowers and vegetables; we grow bodies, minds, and spirits!

– Kaitlin Doherty, Mill Road Garden Teacher


This past May, the AFF approved a three year grant to the Garden Club, specifically for garden supplies and educational programs that are hosted at the Mill Road Community Garden. The garden serves as an outdoor classroom for students in the elementary school. Students learn everything from seasonal eating, to plant life cycles, to seed saving, to composting. The garden has been used by many different ages groups, and for activities such as after-school garden club, flex classes, science classes, and engineering design classes. The Garden Club has also started programming to transform the space into a tranquil place for mindfulness and meditation, specifically to help students with social-emotional issues.

We’re so excited to be a part of this program. This grant was one of six we’ve funded so far in 2018, as part of our 25 Grant Initiative. Amy Parrella and the Mill Road Garden Committee sent us this wonderful picture of a hand-painted thank you note that students helped create! How beautiful!

No-Cost Farmer's Market

This past weekend the AFF, along with many community partners, hosted a no-cost Farmer’s Market at the Red Hook Community Center. Here are some reflections on the event, from Director/Founder Nick, Class of 2018 Ambassador Brenna Dolen (RHHS ‘12), and Class of 2018 Ambassador Emma Donahue (RHHS ‘14).

Brenna, Nick, and Emma

Brenna, Nick, and Emma

From Nick: The wildly successful No Charge Farm Market this weekend was initiated & organized by two of our 2018 ambassadors in Brenna Dolen and Emma Donahue. What a production and what results they realized! As part of our month long Nourish Your Neighbor Food Drive the event provided nutritional local farm produce, fruits, and even a fresh frozen turkey to 75 families and individuals. A crowd of about 150 was delighted by Chef Larry Anthony's food demonstrations, enjoyed the music from Maggie Rothwell, were amazed by food science experiments from students through Bard's Center for Civic Engagement, painted some pumpkins, and picked up a few necessities from our Community Action neighbors. The produce, fruits, and other foodstuffs were donated by Montgomery Place Orchards, Migliorelli's Farm, Brittany Hollow Farm, Bread Alone, TOPS, Adams, and Hannafords. And our turkey giveaway was made possible by the generous offering from Sky High Farm and the use of a refrigerated truck from Erina at Farmer's Door was a godsend. We're grateful for the 25 or so volunteers from the RHFA, the Rotary Club, and Bard who assisted in staging the Community Center from 10am to noon yesterday morning and in creating the market atmosphere. We're so pleased to have had such wonderful Red Hook Community support in assisting and embracing those members of the area who are less fortunate. Kudos to Everyone who had a role in the Market's success! 

Brenna and Nick with Maggie Rothwell. We loved hearing her perform!

Brenna and Nick with Maggie Rothwell. We loved hearing her perform!

From Brenna: This community certainly has enough fresh food for everyone, it's just a matter of distribution of surplus and minimizing food waste. The donations we received from local farms were enormously generous, and I feel grateful that these community members came through with enthusiasm to support this event. This event would never have been possible without their support.

It is important to remember that the people receiving these donations may be the same people giving back a few years from now and vice versa. There was an immense amount of gratitude from community members, and support from our volunteers.

Between Maggie Rothwell's joyful voice, Chef Larry's food demonstrations, Bard CCE's chemistry activities, winter coat giveaways from Community Action, and pumpkin painting, the energy in the room was so positive. 

Chef Larry did some great cooking demonstrations for everyone!

Chef Larry did some great cooking demonstrations for everyone!

From Emma: I never could have imagined what a huge impact this event would have on Red Hook's community.  As someone who has been lucky enough to afford fresh, local produce I was not aware of the prevalence of food insecurity in this area.  Coming together within the community has made me understand the wide gap that we worked toward bridging on Saturday.  Utilizing this farm market as a means to work together to decrease the connection between food insecurity and health was amazing.  Seeing everyone enjoying the delicious treats prepared by Chef Larry, chatting with individuals who were visiting the market, and feeling the sense of community that warmed the Red Hook Community Center was inspiring and gave me a glimpse into the possibilities for the future of food drives and steps toward bettering the relationship between food insecurity and health.  I am excited at the prospect of continuing these healthy, sustainable food drives as well as continuing the work with community partners, families, and individuals.

The Farmer’s Market may be over, but our Nourish Your Neighbor campaign is just getting started! This food drive runs until November 27th. Read more here.