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Molinaro Announces More Than $372K in Learn, Play, Create Grant Awards
Fourth round of grants in ongoing initiative to enhance lives of children and families adversely affected by COVID-19 pandemic

Published: 8/27/2021

Poughkeepsie, NY … Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro today announced the latest round of grant awards, totaling $372,627, as part of the County’s Learn, Play, Create: Supporting Our Kids grant program to fund 18 projects to local non-profit organizations that directly benefit children and families.

Announced in June as part of the “Dutchess Invests,” the County Executive’s initiative to direct $57 million in one-time funding allocated to Dutchess County through the Federal Government’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) to areas the community has recognized as priorities, the Learn, Play, Create grant program provides $3 million in one-time grants to local non-profit youth organizations in the categories of expanded learning – arts, libraries and athletics – that were deprived of a year of fundraising or participation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Our children have missed out on so much over the last 20 months, and Dutchess County is proud to offer Learn, Play, Create as a way to help our kids get back some of what the pandemic stole from them. The investments we make in our kids today not only help them overcome recent losses, but ensure their development continues, helping them grow into successful young adults. Together, Dutchess County will continue making a real impact in our children’s lives and invest in our future.  I encourage youth organizations and libraries impacted by the pandemic to apply!”

Learn, Play, Create: Supporting Our Kids awards ($372,627 Total)

Blodgett Memorial Library, $7,000
Learn, Play, Create
– Crafts, art projects and pop-up events that will be brought into the library. 

Boy Scouts of America/American Legion Venture Crew 1758, $2,500
Uniform shirts and equipment
– Purchase uniform shirts to wear during competitions; gun locker to secure the air rifles; slings; new rifles to replace broken rifles.

Clinton Community Library, $50,000
Supercharging STEAM Programs to Mitigate Learning Loss
– Purchase non-fiction books and shelving; PCs, tablets and learning software; elementary coding workshops; STEAM program supplies; audio equipment and seating for outdoor events.

Crazy Over ART on Tour Inc., $5,500 
Mindful Pollinator Garden
– Purchase gardening tools, compost, mulch, fencing, watering cans, gloves, plants and make-your-own book for scavenger hunt, paper, watercolors and brushes, terra cotta pots, dirt shirt design, bug and bird houses, intention bottles.

DCH Sports, Inc., $5,000
Youth Sports
– Purchase sports equipment, supplies and uniforms. 

Dover Plains Library Association, $50,000
– Purchase an outfitted bookmobile or a vehicle suitable for use as a bookmobile; shelving, interior furnishings, exterior paint and/or ad wrap, laptop, barcode scanner, WiFi hotspot and booster, PA system and program equipment.

Family Services, $20,000
Enhanced Sports Opportunities for Youth
– Funds will be used for several pop-up basketball clinics and tournaments; field trips to college and professional basketball games; purchase sports equipment, supplies and incentives for youth participation.  

Finish Strong Wellness Center, $17,000
Hoops & High Tech
– Purchase six laptops, Microsoft Office and academic learning software;, digital camera, video technology, basketball equipment, team shirts, bags and water bottles; and reserve weekly basketball court time at the Family Partnership Center.

Hidden Hollow Farms Riding Center, Inc., $20,000
Outdoor Learn, Play, Create Environment
– Purchase up-to-date safety equipment, instructional supplies, as well as a new horse dedicated to the program.

Hudson River Rowing Association, Inc., $19,250
COVID-19 Repair and Recovery Project
– Purchase replacement equipment and parts critical to operations that deteriorated, was damaged or destroyed as a result of abnormally heavy use during the pandemic.   

Mid-Hudson Civic Center, Inc., $7,702
Children's Skates and Walkers
– Purchase 130 pairs of children's skates and five walkers.

Pawling Free Library, $50,000
Addition of Children’s Space
– Pay professional fees required for building an expansion and for actual building costs, such as materials and labor; the library has already raised more than $70,000 in private contributions to contribute to this project.

Positive About Possibilities, Inc., $20,000
Through Their Eyes
– Purchase equipment to launch a youth podcast called “Through Their Eyes,” providing a vehicle to give the youth a voice and reach their peers with similar concerns.

Rhinebeck Community Nursery School, $20,000
Reopening with Love: Restoring Access to Early Childhood Education in Northern Dutchess County
– One-time purchases of classroom furniture and equipment for a new outdoor learning space, allowing the school to continue filling the need for a half-day early childhood education program focused on social and emotional development.

Town of Poughkeepsie Soccer Club, $20,000
Equipment, Uniforms and Training
– Purchase needed equipment, including goalie nets, cones, and balls, as well as athletics uniforms; provide trainers to improve skills of coaches and players.

Town of Wappinger Little League, $20,000
Field Improvements
– Various field improvement projects to maintain and improve league’s park.  

Wappingers Youth Lacrosse Club, Inc., $20,000
Equipment, Supplies and Training
– Purchase equipment and training equipment to meet U.S. Lacrosse’s performance and safety standards, as well as automated external defibrillators (AEDs).

Wassaic Project, $18,675
Youth Makerspace Classroom Build Out
– Purchase insulation and ceiling panels; flooring; windows; electronic upgrades; light fixtures; chairs and tables; art supplies; projector and speakers for visual arts programming.

Gregg Pulver, Chairman of the Dutchess County Legislature, said, “Our children are our next generation, and Dutchess County is proud to invest in the future of our kids to help them rebound from all they lost as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These Learn, Play, Create grant awards will provide countless kids throughout our county with the opportunities they need to continue to flourish.”

At its June board meeting, the Dutchess County Legislature adopted the Learn, Play, Create: Supporting Our Kids grant program, as part of the “Dutchess Invests” initiative.

Legislator Joseph D. Cavaccini said, “These important funds couldn't come at a more critical time for Dutchess County's children. Our youth have missed so much as a result of this pandemic. I'm proud to be among the legislators who share in County Executive Molinaro's concern for our kids’ future. These investments, which will benefit local children for years to come, show that we recognize that our young people are a top priority!”

Funding is available in grant awards up to $20,000 for youth-serving organizations that promote learning, art enrichment, and sports activities for specific purchases or needs, including equipment, supplies or other one-time expenses to help enhance program offerings, as well as make the program more accessible for families. Libraries are eligible for purchases or needs up to $50,000.

The application period for the Learn, Play, Create: Supporting Our Kids grant program is ongoing on a first-come, first-served basis, based on eligibility; application instructions and guidance are available online. All applications will be reviewed for eligibility by the Department of Planning and Development with final funding approval made by the County Executive. Applications continue to be reviewed as they are received, and additional awards will be announced in the coming weeks.

School districts, private and religious schools, including school-affiliated clubs and/or programs, as well as municipal-funded/sponsored departments or clubs are not eligible to apply, since school districts, private and religious schools, and municipalities are eligible to receive American Rescue Plan funds.