TOWN OF POUGHKEEPSIE – The City of Poughkeepsie School District’s Urban Education Initiative program is getting a substantial boost thanks in part to family members and friends of Vassar College Alumnus, the late Daniel Mindich, who graduated from Vassar in 1987.
The $2.25 million donation to Vassar College will help support the college’s educational programs in the school district. Vassar spokesman Larry Hertz said the bulk of the money will ensure the continuation of the Vassar College Urban Education Initiative, which provides tutors, mentors, and other assistance for the city’s elementary and secondary students for the next decade. The program was initiated in 2004.
According to Mindrich’s twin brother Jeremy, the Vassar program “prepares students interested in education for what it’s like to be in the classroom.”
Mindich was an English and history teacher at Punahou School in Honolulu before perishing in a swimming accident near his home in 2014.
After he graduated from Vassar, Mindich received his master’s and doctorate degrees in education from Stanford University. Propel Capital, a New York-based social impact investment firm, along with family and friends of Mindich said the gift is contingent upon $1.25 million in matching donations.
Hertz said Vassar College friends and alums are raising the matching monies and the school district will have no financial obligation.
Urban Education Initiative Executive Director John Bradley said the grant will sustain a program that benefits both the Poughkeepsie community and Vassar students.
“Vassar UEI is one of our largest community programs, and this generous gift will allow us to take a step back and focus on how best to serve both the community and the Vassar students who are interested in working in an educational setting, and it sustains us for many years ahead,” he said.
Poughkeepsie School Board President Dr. Felicia Watson the district is “ecstatic about the news of continued funding for the Urban Education Initiative.” Watson also noted that the program has yielded much success since being initiated.
Heather Martino, president of the Poughkeepsie Public Schools Teachers’ Association, which represents the district’s educators said, the teachers’ union “is thrilled to learn that this collaborative opportunity among Vassar UEI and PCSD will continue. The support for our students and teachers has proven to be invaluable.”