KINGSTON, N.Y. (March 11, 2016) – Birchez Associates, LLC, Founder and Managing Partner Steven L. Aaron has named an advisory board that will help the company choose recipients and determine the allocations of grant money for the Birchez Foundation.
The advisory board members are:
- Maurice Hinchey – Maurice Hinchey’s 38 years of public service has earned him a reputation as “the environmental hero of the Hudson Valley,” and as a tireless advocate for working people everywhere. He is a pioneering voice in the environmental and human rights movements, author of many of the first state and national laws protecting our water, air, land and food, and was an early advocate for family farms. Born in New York City’s Greenwich Village and raised in Saugerties, he is known as an ardent supporter of affordable housing and aging in place communities, a champion of the middle class, and a dedicated fighter for women’s rights, renewable energy sources and economic fairness.
A progressive Democrat who attracted equal numbers of Republican and Independent supporters, Maurice represented New York’s 22nd Congressional District, which spans eight counties from the Hudson Valley to the Finger Lakes region.
Serving in the New York State Assembly for 18 years, including 14 years as Chairman of the Environmental Conservation Committee, Maurice first became known for his landmark investigative work on Love Canal, and for his tireless work against the dumping of toxic waste by organized crime. Former Gov. Cuomo has called him the “environmental conscience of New York State.”
While in the Assembly, Maurice developed a wide reputation for his extensive, local constituent work, believing his office should do all it could to help community members successfully navigate state agencies, and assist with government-related problems. He continued the unprecedented effort through his Congressional years. His office’s constituent services program continues to be a model for elected officials.
Early in his first year in the U.S. House of Representatives, Maurice initiated and led the successful effort to preserve Sterling Forest, the last significant area of open space in the New York metropolitan region and an important watershed for southeastern New York and northern New Jersey. He was the author of legislation that created the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, the first federal action formally recognizing the fundamentally significant role the people of the Hudson Valley played in the early development of America. Coupled with his earlier success in enacting the Hudson River Greenway, Maurice remains an active advocate for the Hudson River and surrounding communities.
- Al Spada – The former Ulster County clerk who has the distinction of being the longest serving county clerk in Ulster County since George Clinton held the position in the late 18th Century. Spada received numerous honors over the years including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York State Association of County Clerks and the Man of the Year Award from the local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He served on the boards of Benedictine and Kingston hospitals, the New York State Advisory Board of Public Works and the Kingston Housing Authority (also served as chairman). Spada also served on the Heritage Advisory Committee, the New York State Sports Authority and Ulster County United Way. In 2015, Congregation Agudas Achim synagogue awarded him its Humanitarian Award.
- Barbara Gutzler – Independent retail business manager; former Town of Wappingers Falls supervisor 2011-2016; Dutchess County legislator; West Park Union Free School District special education teacher. As supervisor, she was known for her ability to keep taxes down without cutting services and was a lead player in negotiating a deal that brought water from New York City to parts of the town that had not previously had it. She also served as president of the Dutchess County Association of Supervisors and Mayors.
- John V. Forman – Dutchess County legislator 2002-2005, 2008-2013, 2015-present; Fire Districts of New York Mutual Insurance Company marketing representative. He has spent many years volunteering in local organizations that include: a 25-year member with the W.H. Mase Hook & Ladder Fire Company, an honorary-life member with the Lewis Tompkins Hose Fire Company, a former director of the city of Beacon Little League, a member of the Knights of Columbus and a former board vice president for the Beacon Housing Authority.
- Marlow Dunham – Pastor, Change Point Church, Poughkeepsie, for nearly three decades, first under the banner of the Hopewell Christian Center and then later as The River Church. He has led a multitude of successful outreach projects to people of all walks of life and is especially known for his visionary skills and his ability to accept, embrace and meet the spiritual and temporal needs of people from all walks of life.
- Larry Kithcart – Ulster County Community Action Commission (UCCAC) executive director 1982-2012 (and currently UCCAC interim executive director), former Ulster County legislator 1969-1988. A pillar of the Kingston and Ulster County communities, he continues to help those in need. In his role with UCCAC he managed programs like Head Start, to help disadvantaged children, and heating/weatherization programs for the poor. During his legislative tenure he served on many county committees, including Budget and Operations, Labor Relations and Programs for the Aging. His work helped produce “spin off” organizations such as Resource Center for Accessible Living.
- Leslie Price – The Village of Schoharie clerk/treasurer since 2005, who is also the owner of the J. Lacy Unisex Salon, which has been in business in the village since 1979. Price took great care to ensure village offices never closed after they were destroyed by Hurricane Irene in 2011. She oversaw the offices’ relocation two times before their current move into the town hall.
“Birchez Associates is honored to have these outstanding community leaders join the Birchez Foundation Advisory Board,” Aaron said. “Their collective insight and outreach into the region will be beneficial to senior citizens, U.S. military veterans, students furthering their education and the environment.”
The Birchez Foundation, created in 2014, awards grants to further assist organizations that provide services to assist senior citizens and U.S. military veterans, or support educational programming and preserve or improve the environment.
Birchez Associates has often supported many worthy community causes and events in the communities that it serves, such as providing educational scholarships; distributing turkeys, toys and clothing during the holidays; and improving the lives of their residents. The Foundation’s goals are consistent in keeping with the history of generosity of Steve, Judy and Josh Aaron.
“The establishment of the foundation now formalizes Birchez ongoing, extensive commitment to the areas our Birches communities serve,” Aaron said.
ABOUT BIRCHEZ ASSOCIATES, LLC.
Birchez Associates, LLC, was founded by Steven L. Aaron in 2002 to develop and construct quality affordable housing for senior citizens, frail elderly, working families, veterans and single parents. Birchez Associates, LLC has since sponsored hundreds of affordable housing units in the Hudson Valley, generating over $60 million of development and construction in the region with well over $100 million coming in the near future.
For further information on Birchez Associates, LLC, please visit www.Birchez.com or call 845-331-2097.