Foundation receives $10K grant from State Farm 

The Chamber Foundation, Inc., the nonprofit affiliate of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, recently announced it received a $10,000 grant from State Farm to support The Youth Leadership Program, an innovative, leadership development program designed to develop the academic, social, and life skills of area youth.

“This program offers local high school sophomores and juniors the opportunity to explore themselves and their future path,” said Foundation Executive Director Nicholas Shannon. “Students graduate this program more confident and well rounded with the skills and attitudes needed for success in college and life.”

Program participants have opportunities for substantive interaction with peers, community based service organizations, institutions of higher education, and local professionals.

“We believe early intervention sets the stage for success in the future,” said Jen Dunn, a State Farm agent in Poughkeepsie and First Vice Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. “Financial literacy continues to be an important tool for everyone, especially our youth. Along with all the components of the program, this grant will have a positive impact not only on the students, but also on the community at large.”

The first year of Youth Leadership is designed for sophomores and leads the students through the formation of their own student-based company. During this process, students learn the intricacies of running a business including recruiting investors through stock sales, product selection, and sales and marketing techniques. During the second year, as juniors, students participate in college/real world preparation sessions covering résumé writing, interview skills, college applications, paying for college, and financial education. The monthly sessions also feature a group interactive presentation from a prominent community leader on topics such as leadership, wellness, and community awareness.

To help reinforce these lessons, sophomores complete eight hours of community service and juniors complete a 20-hour internship based on career interests.

Youth Leadership is a collaborative effort with area school districts and includes the local community, business leaders, and Foundation staff. Youth Leadership is open to any student from any school or district within Dutchess County, including home-schooled students, and is sponsored by The Gap, Inc. with support from IBM Corporation and State Farm.

Applications are currently being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis for the 2018-2019 Youth Leadership Program year. Incoming sophomores are encouraged to apply. More information and the application can be found at For more information or questions, contact Nicholas Shannon at (845) 454-1700 ext. 1026.

About State Farm:
The mission of State Farm is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its nearly 19,000 agents and nearly 70,000 employees serve more than 84 million policies and accounts – more than 81 million auto, fire, life, health and commercial policies, and more than 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 33 on the 2017 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit

About The Chamber Foundation, Inc.:

The Chamber Foundation, Inc. was established in 2002 to promote education and training programs for local youth and professionals with the goal of enhancing the Hudson Valley region’s future of economic growth. Its mission is to provide educational opportunities for youth and the workforce, to build and strengthen personal and business capacity, develop leadership skills and foster a commitment to community service. For more information, visit