Foundation Events

Chamber Foundation Announcement

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The Chamber Foundation Spotlight

Foundation Accepting ATHENA Nominations

The Chamber Foundation, Inc. announced it is accepting ATHENA International Awards nominations at the recent International Women’s Day celebration held at Dutchess Community College on March 8th. Nominations will be accepted through June 2, 2017.

Now in its 12th year here in the Hudson Valley, the ATHENA Award is given to members of the community who best embody the ATHENA Leadership Model, which focuses on the personal traits of strong, successful leaders. It captures the spirit and collaborative leadership style often exemplified in women leaders, while also recognizing the importance of courageous acts and fierce advocacy in pursuit of excellence. The ATHENA Awards recognize individuals who demonstrate strengths in career excellence and leadership, community volunteer involvement and a willingness to serve as a mentor – especially to women in the business community.

In the past, honorees have been selected and one was chosen to represent the group, effectively diminishing the much-deserved recognition of the others. For the second year, The Foundation will charge each honoree with the task of being an advocate for the ATHENA model.

The ATHENA Award Honorees will be recognized in November.

Youth Leadership Participants Honored at Ceremony

More than 70 student participants in The Chamber Foundation, Inc.’s Youth Leadership Program were honored at a recognition dinner held June 3 at The Villa Borghese in Wappingers Falls.

The Youth Leadership program aims to help local high school students develop academic, social and life skills and provides them with out-of-the-classroom leadership experiences. A two-year program, Youth Leadership focuses on helping students look beyond high school and providing them with tools to prepare for their futures.

This is accomplished in part through monthly meetings featuring local community leaders and professionals who talk to the students about a variety of leadership and life-skill topics, such as team building, communication and public speaking, money management, diversity, college planning, ethics and finance.

“The Chamber Foundation is very proud of this year’s Youth Leadership students. We have seen growth in their confidence and ability to take on challenges both academically and personally,” said Nicholas Shannon, executive director of The Chamber Foundation, Inc. “We are confident that the lessons they have learned will benefit them well into their future.”

The program splits the students into two tracks focusing on specific skills. Track One, the Junior Achievement Track, is typically for sophomores, and encourages the students to form their own student-based company. In the process, they learn about stock sales and product selection as well as sales and marketing techniques. Students in this track also are asked to complete 10 hours of community service.

Track Two, the Career, Education and Life Skills Track, is geared toward juniors and focuses on preparation for life after high school, including résumé writing, interview skills, college applications and paying for college. As part of this track, students must complete 20-hour internships in their fields of interest.

Students may also complete college-level coursework through the program. Marist College offers discounted courses to juniors and seniors participating in Dutchess Leadership through its Greystone Program. Student Billy Smart was recognized at the dinner for having taken a Marist College course through the program that earned three college credits for $200, saving him nearly $2,000.

The program offered this year’s students a variety of experiences, including a dinner in the Marist College dining hall to give them a taste of campus life. They also went on a trip to Sharpe Reservation for a day of team building and took a Youth Leadership Tour of Dutchess County, visiting sites including Vassar Brothers Medical Center, the Trevor Zoo, Madava Farms – Home of Crown Maple Syrup and The Culinary Institute of America. The exposure to these diverse valley destinations was intended to acquaint students with a wide range of career possibilities.

Enrollment is open for next year’s youth leadership program. The program is open to any sophomore or junior at a public or private high school in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Selection is on a first-come, first-served basis, and sophomores are particularly encouraged to apply. If you know of a student who could benefit from participating, visit for details or call Nick Shannon at 845-454-1700 ext. 1026 with questions. The application deadline has been extended to June 19.

The Youth Leadership Program is sponsored by IBM and The Gap, Inc.; the Youth Leadership Recognition Dinner was sponsored by DCH Wappingers Falls Toyota and Health Quest.

The Chamber Foundation, Inc., is the fundraising arm of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce that aims to provide educational opportunities, develop leadership skills and foster a commitment to community service for youth and the workforce. For more about the Chamber Foundation, visit