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Molinaro to Receive Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Hudson Valley Vision Award for ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ Efforts

Published: 6/28/2017

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus
(845) 486-2000

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro will receive the inaugural Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Hudson Valley Vision Award on Saturday, July 1, presented by the Trustees of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park at its second annual Family Fun Festival on the Library’s Great Lawn.

Throughout their lives, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt worked to break down barriers for disabled and disenfranchised citizens of the world and this award honors those working to improve the future of the Hudson Valley for all residents, through engagement and inclusion.

County Executive Molinaro said, “I am honored to receive this recognition for Dutchess County’s effort to ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ and change the hearts and minds of our residents about our neighbors of all abilities. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were true champions for inclusion and the rights of all Americans, and I am humbled to receive an award that embodies their spirit. I am grateful for the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum’s support of our ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ efforts, and I’m inspired to continue its namesake’s advocacy for every resident of every ability.”

Established in 2015, Dutchess County’s “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” initiative fosters a welcoming and supportive environment for residents with special needs. Since July 2016, more than 60 towns, villages and cities throughout New York State, including the majority of those in Dutchess County, have adopted “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” resolutions, pledging to make their communities more supportive for residents of all abilities.

Dutchess County has taken numerous steps to “ThinkDIFFERENTLY,” including, among others:

  • funding, through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, several projects featuring accessible infrastructure which increased residents’ access to facilities and resources;
  • appointing a Deputy Commissioner for Special Needs, who can help residents with special needs navigate service providers and government agencies;
  • partnering with the Anderson Center for Autism to teach local businesses and organizations to better communicate with residents with autism;
  • and hosting the 2016 and 2017 Special Olympics New York State Winter Games, the 2016 and 2017 “Think DIFFERENTLY” Dash for residents of all abilities, and several free movie days and picnics for residents with special needs.

More information about Dutchess County’s efforts and how other communities can “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” is available at

Paul Sparrow, Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, said, “In the spirit of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, County Executive Molinaro has worked tirelessly to ensure all residents of every ability are supported in Dutchess County and included in their community. Through his efforts to ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY,’ County Executive Molinaro has made inclusion a priority, and his message has spread throughout New York. We are proud to present him with the first-ever Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Hudson Valley Vision Award, and we’re thankful for his continuation of the Roosevelts’ vision.”

The presentation of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Hudson Valley Vision Award will take place at noon, highlighting the Family Fun Festival, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and focuses on inclusion for audiences of every ability. The Family Fun Festival, which will be broadcast live by iHeartMedia, includes music, a hot air balloon, circus acts, face-painting, food trucks and a raptor show.

Made possible by the support of the Roosevelt Library Trustees, partners and sponsors, the event is free and open to the public. The Library will also offer free admission to the museum from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and offer sensory-sensitive museum time, with lower lighting and lower volume on audiovisual programs, starting at 8 a.m. for attendees of every ability. In partnership with the Poughkeepsie Public Library District and the Friends of the Poughkeepsie Public Library District, the Henry A. Wallace Visitor Center will offer “quiet spaces,” including comfortable seating, tablets with interactive reading apps, books for attendees of all ages and an opportunity to recharge.

Toni-Marie Ciarfella, Dutchess County’s Deputy Commissioner for Special Needs, said, “We thank the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum for choosing to ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ – first for completing our Autism Supportive Environment training, hosting our ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ for Jobs Round Table earlier this month, and now hosting this Family Fun Festival with those of all abilities in mind. The Roosevelts’ legacy lives on, as museum and library staff continue to ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY,’ and we hope other individuals, organizations and businesses throughout our community will follow their example and support our neighbors with special needs.”