THE CASE FOR SUPPORT
Helping Pattern for Progress Helps the Hudson Valley
“We take on the issues everyone talks about but no one wants to address. Our work focuses on emerging trends that impact all sectors of the Hudson Valley. It isn’t easy and it isn’t always fun.
“We listen to people throughout the counties; we research demographics and trends to see why things aren’t working the way they should and then we propose solutions. We’ve been doing that for 50 years.
“Today, since the Great Recession, the Hudson Valley has changed and it is our job to figure out why and help those who live here, conduct their business here and govern here – always with just one goal in mind – to make their lives better.”
– Jonathan Drapkin, President and CEO
Hudson Valley Pattern for Pattern for Progress
Not always easy to describe, Pattern’s work is always felt.
When Pattern noticed that 30 school buildings closed, the staff found out why and offered solutions as what to do about it.
When the State legislature decided to impose the ninth tax/fee to fund the Metro North commuter rail, it was Pattern that uncovered the burdensome payroll tax. It was Pattern that sounded the alarm and wrote position papers that enabled the region’s chambers to articulate the unfairness of it, leading to a reduction in the level of the tax.
Throughout the region, as town and village infrastructure continued to crumble, it is Pattern that surveyed them, documented the issues and explained the lack of planning. It is Pattern that is now advocating for the funds to fix the problem.
It’s not so different when it comes to housing. It is Pattern that underscores the need for affordable shelter. It is Pattern that has marshaled the region’s housing organizations and repeatedly convened an annual Hudson Valley housing summit. It is Pattern that created a Center for Housing Solutions to raise the profile of the need for decent housing for everyone.
When the Governor created the Regional Economic Development Councils, it was Pattern that organized the training that led to the region having the highest number of grant applications – an effort that resulted in the region’s top-level success for millions of dollars in funding two out of four times.
And it is Pattern that continually raises the bar on behalf of the Hudson Valley.
As the region’s vitality becomes more complicated, Pattern believes more and more that regional solutions must be considered. Pattern created a regional training program known as the Pattern Fellows. It teaches the background and leadership necessary to engage in regional solutions. Fellows projects have led to recycling in Beacon, a region food bank program and an affordable housing education campaign, to name a few. More than 120 graduates have completed the program.
When it comes to making sure the Valley’s voice is heard in Washington, in county seats and in town halls across the region, Pattern has taken the lead. Pattern’s “Across the Aisle” events have shown that our congressmen –though from different parties – can work together. And each year, Pattern gathers the county leaders from different political parties to find common ground. For the towns and villages, there have been training, conferences and roundtable discussions on issues from energy to shared services – all with the goal of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of government when others doubt it can be done.
When the governments are failing to perform, Pattern is also willing to point it out, explain why and explore how it can be corrected. On the heels of a Pattern report that offered deep analysis on Rockland County’s multi-million dollar budget deficit, the government adopted recommendations to prevent such a crisis from happening again.
With that same attention to detail, Pattern watches the trends across the Hudson Valley. The aging of the Baby Boomer population is already starting to impact the region. Pattern has been there to show how housing needs are changing, how new jobs can be created and how the region needs a very different approach to healthcare. The region’s editorial boards have universally applauded Pattern’s work.
Pattern isn’t afraid to be heard – often in unfriendly environments. Whether standing in front of hundreds of supporters for even more money to be put into the school districts, Pattern had the courage to say “it isn’t a money issue” as New York already is the highest funded system in the country. Pattern hasn’t hesitated to stand in front of crowds to say everyone deserves efficient government or a job that pays a decent wage. And sometimes it means taking a position in front of hundreds of union workers to say just maybe their county didn’t belong in the nursing home business. You can agree or disagree, but Pattern isn’t afraid to speak up even when the audience is stacked against them.
When Pattern had outgrown its space and could have moved to anywhere in the Hudson Valley, it chose to locate in the City of Newburgh, a city that faces more than its share of social and economic challenges. Pattern chose to make a statement about the promise of the Newburgh and of all Hudson Valley urban centers.
With this kind of work record, it is no surprise that the region’s college, bank and hospital presidents are all part of Pattern’s dynamic board of directors. But look at the board and you will also find nonprofits that feed the poor, the heads of community foundations and the guardians of preserving our land. Pattern takes a balanced approach to promoting the quality of life of the Valley for all.
Pattern does all of this with a lean staff of six and while balancing its budget the past eight years. With its fiscal health intact and its position in the region well-regarded, Pattern is set to celebrate its 50th anniversary. But where is Pattern going next and how can you help?
Pattern is an organization that is led by its experienced and insightful board of directors. Every three years they determine the areas that should be of primary concern. The goals of the 50th anniversary campaign are to raise $1 million dollars to enable Pattern to focus on two key areas: education and the revitalization of the region’s urban areas. Together, these comprise a “Pattern for the Future”.
INNOVATION IN EDUCATION
New York State already spends more money on K through 12 education than every other state in the nation. The results? We are 31st in the nation in reading and 33rd in math. The Hudson Valley, with some of the highest real property taxes in the country, cannot afford to keep throwing more money at education when it’s not working. As Einstein said to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result is the definition of insanity. We need to change the way we educate our children so that more than 50% do not enter our community colleges needing remediation in basic English and math and so that more than one-third are considered prepared for a career. We need to change the way we think about the outcomes of education to ensure that we have the best workforce we can for the changing world we live in. We need to innovate to modernize an educational system that is still based on an agrarian era. The time for change is now.
Pattern seeks to create, similar to its successful Center for Housing Solutions, a Center for New Models in Education. We have shown that we know how to focus on an issue and change the way people think about it through research and advocacy. There is no similar organization that focuses on the needs of our children’s education regionally. Once meeting its funding goal of $300,000, the Center will launch a research agenda to measure existing school opportunity in the Hudson Valley and to examine how public investment in the region’s 122 school districts can lead to better results.
THE URBAN ACTION AGENDA
With an aging population and a diminishing number of 18-34 year olds, the Hudson Valley needs to find ways to grow again.
The cities and urban centers of the Hudson Valley, with a few exceptions, are in trouble. Industry has all but disappeared and the blight that strikes places like Detroit is around almost any corner in the heart of any small city in the region. Jobs are in short supply. Crime creates a concern that these cities are unsafe.
The small cities and urban centers of the Hudson Valley each have a unique measure of challenge as they often continue to suffer with little investment and a debilitating cycle of poverty.
Pattern proposes to help revitalize and grow in the region’s urban areas where infrastructure exists and there is proximity to mass transit, jobs and cultural amenities. Taken together, the urban centers form a nucleus of potential in the eyes of Pattern for Progress. In the Urban Action Agenda, Pattern seeks to map a new course for the Valley through the revival of its urban centers. The $700,000 initiative is funded in part by the Ford Foundation with a $400,000 grant over three years. “Pattern for the Future” aims to raised the remaining $300,000 through further donor and foundation support.
NO BETTER TIME
Together, these initiatives form a “Pattern for the Future.” These two broad-based efforts have the capacity to fundamentally change the Valley and to put the region on a solid footing for decades to come.
So as we begin the next 50 years, we seek your help in funding this vision for progress, this “Pattern for the Future” as a means to attract and retain the young people the Hudson Valley needs and to boost opportunities and outcomes for all students through new models in education.
There is no question that Pattern will build on its strong record of success. It will do so alongside all those who view the well-being of the region as their mission. There is no better time to support the one organization that has envisioned and helped to build a the Hudson Valley we know today.