Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. was presented with the Grand Award – Business of the Year by Think Dutchess Alliance for Business. According to Sarah Lee, CEO of Think Dutchess, the award recognized Central Hudson as “a critical agency in attracting and supporting business, extending essential grants to support the community in a time of crisis, and an avid supporter of programs to encourage economic growth.”
The award was presented at a virtual event on November 19, honoring six local leaders and businesses including Central Hudson. The mission of Think Dutchess Alliance for Business, Dutchess County’s economic development organization, is to attract, retain, and expand for-profit and not-for-profit businesses in the county.
“We congratulate all our fellow award recipients, and are truly honored to be recognized for our tradition of economic support and development efforts in our region,” said Charles A. Freni, President and CEO of Central Hudson, who accepted the award on behalf of the utility. He explained that Central Hudson’s economic development programs have provided $1.5 million in grants to Dutchess County businesses since 2010, and in the last 15 years provided more than $16 million in grants in support of development projects in the Mid-Hudson Valley. In addition, Central Hudson launched the Back to Business program at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, committing up to $1 million to help small businesses by paying down a portion of working capital loans taken through participating community banks. To date, this program has assisted 78 small businesses with grants totaling nearly $454,000, enabling the retention of more than 540 Mid-Hudson Valley jobs.
“We also provided more than $100,000 dollars for local charitable initiatives to help those most affected by the pandemic, and we have been proactively reaching out to our most vulnerable customers to get them the help they need,” said Freni. “I’m proud to say than our employees are personally involved in their communities, as well, offering their time and economic support for programs and activities that help our neighbors.
“We also understand the need for an efficient, clean and reliable energy delivery system, and we’re making investments in our systems and putting people to work to meet the energy needs of our businesses and communities,” he said. “Our community is stronger when we work together, and we’re fortunate to live and work in a place where we have always, and will continue to, take care of each other.”
“This year, perhaps more than ever, it is important that we celebrate the success and continued growth of our community in the face of the global pandemic,” said Lee. “Our winners represent the core values of the awards in displaying excellence, innovation, collaboration, service and resilience.”
For more information about Central Hudson’s community support and economic development programs, visit www.CentralHudson.com/About-Us/Community ; and to learn about the Back to Business program for small businesses, go to www.CentralHudson.com/Business-Customers/Back-to-Business-Funding-Program . For more information about Think Dutchess Alliance for Business, visit www.ThinkDutchess.com .