The Hope for Youth Foundation supports charities primarily in the Hudson Valley that focus on assisting young people who are disabled, ill or disadvantaged.The foundation also supports youth programs which facilitate healthy growth whether it is academic, emotional or athletic, and sponsors college scholarships for worthy students.
The Hope for Youth Foundation, Inc. (HFY) is a 501(c)(3) Not For Profit that was formed in 1986, through the efforts of Gary B. Pease, former owner of WHUD-FM/WLNA-AM and Jim Witt, former owner of Fleetweather Inc. At that time the Foundation’s vision was to benefit children by donating all proceeds from the sale of the Hudson Valley Long-Range Weather Calendars to local children’s charities.
The original calendars were in black and white and had limited distribution. Eventually Joe Deutsch joined the HFY and provided his professional colored photographs of the Hudson Valley to produce the beautiful calendars sold today. As the calendars gained recognition and sales increased, more and more Hudson Valley children who were ill, physically or mentally challenged, or disadvantaged were benefiting from the HFY.
In 1998, HFY established a scholarship program for graduating seniors who demonstrated outstanding service to school and community. Currently four scholarships are being offered to graduating seniors each June: one for either Panas or Lakeland High School, The Merrill and Ellen Roth Work Ethic Scholarship for Hendrick Hudson High School, The Joan Goldstein Memorial Scholarship for Peekskill High School and The Thomas J. Witt Memorial Scholarship for Putnam Valley High School.
Over the years with the expanding sale of calendars, the HFY also expanded by introducing fundraising activities and donation opportunities. Today the vision to benefit children remains the same, and we are proud that we have contributed close to three million dollars to worthy children’s organizations in the Hudson Valley.
100% of the funds we raise go to benefit the charities we support!
President, Founder & CEO
Jim taught science and chaired the Science Department at the Lakeland Schools. It was at Lakeland where he established and operated a nationally famous secondary school weather program. Jim was on the faculty of Columbia University and taught a weather program for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In addition, he was an instructor of meteorology at Western Connecticut State College and Pace University. From 1970 to 1996, Jim was co-owner and Vice President of Fleetweather, Inc. Jim has received multiple awards for distinguished community service. In 2011 he was “The Special Award” winner of the American Meteorological Society for leadership in teaching meteorology. He authored a number of publications in meteorology and pedagogy. Jim is an on-air radio personality who is currently broadcasting on WHUD and WKIT (Bangor, Maine). Jim frequently guest lectures on long and short range forecasting, speaks to students of all ages at local schools and continues his research on long range weather.
Howard began his career as an attorney in the early 1980’s working for Shearson Lehman Brothers, but quickly moved into the investment business. For over three decades, he has been a venture capitalist working for Citicorp, Invesco, co-founding his own diversified venture capital firm Vedanta Capital in 2006 and most recently founding Cortlandt Private Capital. As a venture capitalist, Howard has had an opportunity to work very closely with numerous early stage companies as a board member assisting senior management in growing companies until they became candidates for an initial public offering or a sale to another company.
Howard has also been very involved with community service. He is a board member (prior board chair and treasurer) and wish granter mentor of the Make-a-Wish Foundation of the Hudson Valley. He is also a member of the Audit and Finance Committee of the National Board of the Make-a-Wish Foundation of America. Howard also served as a board member of the Hudson Valley Hospital Center. Howard and Neva are volunteer camp counselors at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a camp for critically ill children. They have two grown children, Rebecca and Jesse and live in Cortlandt Manor.
Jenet, a Peekskill High School graduate is a former H.O.P.E. for Youth scholarship recipient. Mrs. Ferris is currently the marketing director for Greater Hudson Bank, a true community-minded bank. Most recently, she worked in Hudson Valley Hospital Center’s marketing department. Prior to that, she worked in the events and catering department for the St. Regis New York. She also supported the travel public relations team for the Jamaica Tourist Board account while working for Ruder Finn public relations agency. Mrs. Ferris earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She resides in Peekskill with her husband, Nicholas.
Roger was former president and treasurer of The Appraisers Association of America, the largest non-profit appraisal organization in America. He was also the former owner and President of the New York Centaurs – professional soccer team in the A-League. He was previously a member of the board of directors of at St. Christopher’s Inn – a drug and alcohol rehab facility in Garrison.
Cliff, a native Vermonter, has resided with his wife of 47 years, Diana, in Cortlandt Manor since 1967. They have three adult sons, David, Eric, and Seth. After graduating from Hamilton College with a BA in history, Cliff received a Master of Arts in teaching degree from the University of Vermont. Later he was involved in a doctoral program in Educational Administration at New York University.
Cliff has been an educator his entire life, starting in Smithtown High School on Long Island, moving to Mt. Vernon High School and then spending 31 years at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua. He also coached the Greeley girls’ and boys’ swimming teams which collectively won 14 sectional championships.
Upon retiring from Greeley, Cliff trained student teachers at Pace University and Manhattanville College. He is an active member of the Peekskill Presbyterian Church, serving on Session, leading adult education and singing in the choir. His hobbies include golf, travel, reading and watching each of his ten grandchildren participate in their sporting, dance and academic activities.
Cliff joined Rotary in 2003 and served on the Board of Directors from 2005-2007. He became club secretary in 2008, was program chair in 2009 and headed the 40thannual Horse Show in 2010. He introduced the Rotary district’s Four-Way Speech contest for high school students to the local club. He has particularly enjoyed helping Rotary to honor deserving seniors from the three local high schools in the areas of scholarship, fellowship and athletics.
Bruce graduated from Tufts University in 1974, with a civil engineering degree and started working in Boston at Camp Dresser and McKee. He left there in 1976 to join his family owned business, Frank & Lindy Plumbing & Heating.
He has been involved in many community activities. He was a member of the Hudson Valley Hospital Board of Trustees and an officer of their foundation. Bruce founded the Peekskill Celebration Festival and served as their Chairman. He twice served as Board Chairman of the Hudson Valley Chamber of Commerce and continues as a Board Member. Bruce has been a Rotarian since 1979.
He was awarded the Chester A. Smith award by the Field Library in Peekskill for his community service and received the Maureen Erickson Volunteer of the Year award by the Chamber of Commerce.
Bruce has two grown children, Scott and Brian, and lives in Cortlandt Manor. His wife, Cheryl, died of breast cancer in 2005 and the Cancer Center at New York Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital is named in her honor.
Nancy is a retired teacher and licensed Mental Health Counselor. She worked in the public school system for 28 years and also had a private practice. Nancy holds a BA from Adelphi University, an MS in secondary science education from Western Connecticut State College and an MS in counseling and certification in family therapy from Long Island University. Currently she volunteers for Hospice as a bereavement group facilitator and sits on the Board of the Friends of Boscobel. Jim and Nancy Witt have been married since 1960. They reside in Cold Spring and have three children and five grandchildren.
Second Vice President
Ellen was raised on Long Island, spent her early adulthood in Manhattan and moved to Montrose in 1990 with her husband, Merrill. She has two children, Stephen and Nina, who are in their early 20s. She graduated from SUNY Stony Brook with a BS in Nursing and worked as bone marrow transplant nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering. At night she went to NYU and earned her MBA. She then worked in Procter and Gamble’s Patient Care Division until her she had her children. While raising them she immersed herself in volunteering in her school and community, including serving as PTA President at three schools in the Hendrick Hudson District and volunteering at Phelps Hospice. In the past she has served on the board of the Montrose Child Care Center and currently at Temple Israel of Northern Westchester and the Hendrick Hudson Free Library. She also facilitates a support group for blood cancer patients and their families for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and manages her family’s real estate business.
In 1993 Larry founded ITI Strategies, Inc., in Peekskill, NY, as well as a fully independent tax preparation practice. He holds an MBA in Accounting from St. John’s University, holds his CFP designation, and is also a Certified Public Accountant. He frequently lectures on financial planning to professional societies, business associations, not-for-profit organizations, Networking groups and Rotary Clubs.
In addition to his own business, he is a board member of several organization in Westchester. Some of his involvements include, Chairman of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce, The Financial Planning Association of the Greater Hudson Valley, The Westchester Rockland International Association of Financial Planners (Past President), The Peekskill Rotary Club (Past President), The Paramount Center for the Arts and the Lincoln Society in Peekskill (Past President).
Children were always a big part of Janice’s upbringing as she came from a large close knit family who instilled in her the importance of community involvement. Janice Shaw was born, raised and educated in Brooklyn, NY and called it her home until 1984. In the fall of that year she and her husband Ed decided to move to the suburbs and start a family. Cortlandt seemed like an affordable, safe community that was an easy commute to NYC, with good schools and a vibrant community. She worked in Manhattan as a graphic artist until the birth of her second daughter in 1991. It was from then on that she had the ability to stay home to raise the children. Janice became involved with her children’s elementary school almost from the first day of kindergarten and served as a PTA leader for over 10 years.
Janice went back to school in the late 1990’s and graduated with an advanced degree in nutrition in 2008 and has since worked as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in community health and nutrition working mostly with school aged children and their families. She has created, organized and implemented numerous programs which supported school aged children, both in mind and body. Her most recent projects included: wellness and illness prevention programs, health education, nutrition assessment, nutrition counseling, as well as, academic support and enrichment programs. She is fully committed to the belief that children of all ages thrive when they have people who believe in them and support their needs.
Carol and her husband, Bruce, moved to Cold Spring from Larchmont in 2013. They have two daughters, Amy and Nicole, and four amazing (just ask her) grandchildren. Carol’s first career was as a teacher in the Mamaroneck school system. When she returned to work after starting a family, she developed a career in Human Resource Management. She retired from her position as VP, Human Resources Director for Parade Publications after 16 years with the company. Prior to that, she had been Personnel Director at The H.W. Wilson Company. She earned a BS in English Education at the State University of NY at Cortland and a MS in College and University Administration and Personnel at Indiana University. Recently she has been a Medicare Rights Advocate and a volunteer at Mt. Kisco Elementary School.
John is the owner of Arthur Weeks and Son Jewelers, a family owned Peekskill business since 1896. He is Registered Jeweler of the American Gem Society. He is very involved with community service. He is a Member of Salvation Army Advisory Board, a Member of the Board of Directors of the Cortlandt Cemetary Association, a Member of the Board of Directors of the Peekskill Rotary Club, and a Member of the Poughkeepsie United Methodist Church. He and his wife Debra have resided in Hopewell Junction, Dutchess County since 1994. They have two children Brittany and Robert.
John C. Sullivan, Esq. -Council
John is is the founder of the John C. Sullivan P.C. a law firm in Yorktown Heights. He represents clients in a variety of legal matters, including real estate, wills, trusts & estates, business law and litigation.
Prior to founding the firm in 1992, Mr. Sullivan was an Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. He received his law degree from New York Law School in 1988. He is admitted to practice law in the State of New York and is a member of the New York State Bar Association.