Founded in 2018, the mission of the Foundation for Abilities First NY is to garner the financial resources necessary to meet the programmatic interests and to assure the sustainability of the mission of Abilities First, Inc. FAFNY will establish a stable commitment of philanthropic support, to assure the programs, services, and quality of life opportunities remain strong and available, as well as ensure the organization’s fiscal resiliency during unexpected changes.
FAFNY is a 501(c)(3) nonprofict organization that provides services to enrich the lives of children and adults in our communities. Our Federal ID number is 83-3116304.
All required state and federal forms, documents and financial statements are available upon request. Please contact 845-485-9805 x 1223.
Jeffery Fox joined Abilities First as Chief Executive Officer in July 2013. As the Chief Executive Officer of Abilities First, Jeff now has the privilege of overseeing programs and services that touch the lives of many children and adults across our region. He is proud to say that the mission of Abilities First overlaps heavily with his own personal mission.
Jeffery has been working with people with intellectual and developmental challenges since he began volunteering at the Newark Developmental Center in the 1980’s. Since then, he has held many different paid and unpaid positions in the Finger Lakes Region, Western New York and now in the Hudson Valley. He received all of his degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo, including his doctorate in Educational Psychology in 2008. He has co-authored numerous articles and research papers that were published in peer-reviewed academic journals, such as Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Child Psychiatry and Development and Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities.
Jeff’s community service is also related to his personal mission. He is on the Board of the Child Care Council of Dutchess and Putnam and the Advisory Board for the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum. He is also the Vice Chair of Hudson Valley Service Providers (HVSP), which is a coalition of 22 organizations across the Hudson Valley that collaborate to meet the challenges of New York State’s Medicaid Redesign. As part of his role in HVSP, he is a member of the Board of Directors of LIFEPlan Care Coordination Organization (CCO), which is one of seven CCOs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities that are authorized by the NYS Department of Health. He was selected in 2016 by the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce as an Athena Honoree for empowering women in leadership.
Melissa McCoy joined Abilities First as Chief Advancement Officer in December 2014. Melissa leads the Advancement initiatives, including: marketing, communications, philanthropy, community relations & business development.
Prior to joining the executive team at Abilities First, Melissa served as Vice President of the Elant Foundation, with three decades of experience in community service, fundraising, event planning and project management. Her earlier career was in the design & construction industry as Project Manager for Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, and as Principal for Design Perceptions.
McCoy, a graduate of Marymount College, has received her international professional certification as a Certified Fund Raising Executive. She is a graduate of the Leadership Dutchess, Patterns for Progress Fellows Program and Leadership Orange. She served the Association of Fundraising Professionals, as Mid-Hudson Chapter President, board member, event chairperson and mentor, and to the AFP International Committee on Directorship (International Board selection committee) as well as – Northeast U.S. District Representative, and event presentations.
Her former board and committee service includes: American Cancer Society – Eastern Division, YMCA of Newburgh, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County, Junior Achievement of the Hudson Valley, Orange County Ballet Theatre, Special Olympics, and as a founding member of the Arts in Healthcare Committee of the Orange County Arts Council. She has served as a grant reviewer for the United Way of Orange & Dutchess, mentor for AFP and the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce Career Mentorship program. Melissa is a member of the Poughkeepsie Arlington Rotary Club, Garden Club of Orange & Dutchess and serves on the Board of Directors of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce.
Melissa is the recipient of the 2018 ATHENA Award, Leadership Dutchess 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award, 2014 Woman of Achievement Award by the YWCA of Orange County and the Girl Scout Council Heart of the Hudson, and in 2008 while Alumni Association Board President she was awarded the Marymount College of Fordham Universities – Centennial Award for leadership.
JoAnn Parker, joined the Foundation for Abilities First NY in 2019 and serves as Director of Philanthropy with over 20 years of experience in the non-profit space working with individuals, foundations, corporations, and volunteers, building donor analytics, stewardship, and relationship management. She received her certification as a Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE) by CFRE International, a globally recognized accreditation for professionals in development. Parker is a graduate of Leadership Orange and currently serves on the Mid-Hudson Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals as chair of the Membership committee and committee mentorship program. She has volunteered with the Hudson Valley Make a Wish chapter for over twelve years as a wish granter.
Marcy Handler, MBA, the first Director of Grants at Abilities First, brings a wealth of professional experience in strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, organizational development and program design to support the philanthropy focus at FAFNY. Educated at Cornell University, San Francisco Art Institute and Marist College, her grant writing has resulted in excess of $29 million in awards to Hudson Valley organizations to strengthen their human services and economic development programs. With the ability to develop creative, long-term strategies to add new resources and fill gaps in funding, Handler works to enhance programming at Abilities First to better serve the community.