Hudson Community Foundation marks 20 years of helping others

Group leaders want to continue growth

PHIL KEREN Reporter
Hudson Community Foundation president Amy Jordan, and staff members Mara Scherer and Mary Hughes.

HUDSON — The number 20 carries special significance for the Hudson Community Foundation.

Foundation leaders are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the organization’s founding by reflecting on their accomplishments and by looking to grow so they can continue helping families, businesses and community organizations in the city.

“Our 20th anniversary falls in 2020, a year we started with more than $20 million in assets for the first time,” stated Amy Jordan, a seven-year HCF professional who was elected the organization’s president two years ago. “Our expertise and energy level continue to build as we pursue additional ways to make Hudson an exceptional place to live, work, study and play.”

The foundation has distributed millions of dollars to local and national not-for-profit causes for the past 20 years. Leaders say their mission is to enhance the quality of life in the city by increasing charitable giving, connecting donors to community needs and by being a leader on community issues.

How it started

HCF was founded as an independent organization in August 2000 by a group of Hudson citizens including Phil Tobin, Bill Wooldredge, Jim Hackney and Dennis Rich with a goal of improving the quality of life through philanthropy.

Jordan said Tobin had worked as CFO for the Cleveland Foundation and knew that community foundations support specific geographic areas by facilitating and pooling donations that “address community needs and support local non-profits.”

After talking with residents, HCF’s founders “felt we needed a community foundation to enhance and preserve the overall quality of life in Hudson,” said Jordan.

Wooldredge, who is currently a member of the foundation’s Board of Directors, said he was approached by Tobin about starting the foundation. He said he met with other community members to form a Board of Directors for the organization. There are now 17 members of the Board of Directors. Jordan and two other staffers work out of the HCF at the historic Baldwin House on the village green.

“It’s there to help Hudson,” said Wooldredge, “…[It’s] a real community effort.”

What HCF does

HCF has worked with more than 150 Hudson individuals, families and organizations to create Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) which are used to manage their charitable donations locally and nationwide. HCF has distributed more than $18.7 million in DAF money to not-for-profit causes across the U.S., including $3.7 million to those in and primarily benefitting Hudson. HCF has provided more than $400,000 in direct grants to local organizations through its annual appeal for the Hudson Now Fund, Hudson Forever Endowment Fund, Arts & Culture Fund, Historic and Environmental Preservation Fund, Hudson Social Services Fund, and the Youth, Education & Recreation Fund.

“Through our community outreach, we have focused on youth, education, arts, culture and historic preservation,” noted Jordan. “Our supportive grantmaking to our local nonprofits is impactful, sustainable and enriches the community.”

She added that providing grants to local organizations’ programs led to partnering with groups and establishing new organizations such as Destination Hudson, Hudson Community First, EMS Outreach, Friends of Hudson Parks, and Leadership Hudson.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation has raised money to provide relief to businesses and families. Jordan noted $28,000 has been raised in HCF’s NOW Fund for the Hudson Food Pantry and added HCF is working with the Hudson Community Service Association to provide funding for the pantry to help with residents’ food needs, as well as items such as rent and utility payments.

HCF Executive Committee Secretary Jim Sluzewski said the pandemic led to many residents needing immediate help.

“Some families found themselves without incomes and needed food assistance,” said Sluzewski. “We are so fortunate to have a local food pantry in place … but funds were needed to buy the food being distributed. HCF was able to rally donors to help replenish the Hudson Food Pantry.”

Sluzewski added that HCF has supported social services for people in need in the city.

“There is often a perception that there is no need in Hudson,” noted Sluzewski. “But that is not at all the case. HCF has done great work in areas such as drug abuse prevention and treatment, hunger relief, suicide prevention and providing educational opportunities for families with limited resources.”

Jordan said HCF has raised $61,000 for its Hudson Restaurants and Retail Stores COVID Support Program, which is providing grants of up to $5,000 to qualifying restaurants and retail stores. So far, 16 businesses have received grants.

Other accomplishments during the past 20 years include:

• Establishing the Hudson City Schools Student Assistance Fund, which provides grants for school supplies, extracurricular fees and other items for students from families unable to afford such expenses.

• Endowing the city/’s annual Independence Day fireworks so the event can continue in perpetuity without more fundraising.

• Administering community fundraising for major projects, including construction of Hudson Memorial Stadium.

• Opening scholarship funds to establish a family’s legacy of educational support or as a memorial to a loved one.

“The beauty of a community foundation is that we are able to do such a wide range of activities that benefits Hudson and its residents,” said Sluzewski.

Looking ahead, Jordan said HCF will continue to grow its NOW and Hudson FOREVER Endowment funds.

“Both funds support Hudson and allow us to meet immediate and changing needs in the Hudson community,” said Jordan.

She added HCF will continue to “support the needs for those choosing to leave a legacy with our scholarship funds, memorial funds, designated funds, [and] donor advised funds.”

Jordan said she’s had the “privilege” to work with “some of the finest people in our community,” and looks forward to HCF continuing its mission of helping people and organizations.

“I’m inspired by what we can accomplish together now and for future generations,” said Jordan. 

To start a Donor Advised Fund or discuss other charitable needs with HCF, visit www.myhcf.org or call the foundation’s office at 330-655-3580.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.

Several Hudson Community Foundation Board of Director members stand on the front porch of the historic Baldwin House in downtown Hudson.Pictured from left are: Jenesa Lukac, John Archer, Tom Speaks, Bill Woodridge, John Dearborn, Don Tharp, Bill Sedlacek, and Drew Forhan.