Abilities First Receives $3.2M Gift to Expand School Resources for Students with Disabilities in Orange County

New Windsor, N.Y. (June 22, 2017) – Resources for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities will expand in Orange County thanks to the generous property donation of the former Devitt’s Medical Arts Building to Abilities First. The property will be renovated into a state-of-the-art educational facility to serve 40 students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, ages 5 – 21. Abilities First will open a temporary location in Cornwall in the fall of 2017 during renovations.

The Abilities First School, presently located in LaGrange and Red Hook currently supports 116 students spread across six Hudson Valley counties. This new facility will enable Abilities First to better serve students currently living in and near Orange County.

The donation, the largest gift in the organization’s history, was made by Ari Straus and his father, Dr. Marc Straus. Straus is the CEO and managing partner of Monticello Motor Club, an automotive country club and private race track in Monticello, New York. Dr. Straus is a renowned art collector and owner of a contemporary art gallery in Manhattan.

“Since an initial visit to the Abilities First School and learning of the school’s need to expand into Orange County, the Straus family has been unwavering in their support to do something meaningful for the students.” said Melissa McCoy, Chief Advancement Officer for Abilities First. “Most children, especially those with disabilities, need the opportunity to be educated and integrate into the communities in which they live, with the available resources and support vital to their success.

Abilities First is most grateful to the Straus Family for their generous gift, which will expand regional options for families, shorten travel time for current students, and enhance the opportunity for families to have close proximity to participate in their child’s activities and meetings.”

“In addition to the school, we will also utilize space to develop other needed programs and services for people with developmental challenges living in the region,” said Dr. Jeff Fox, CEO of Abilities First. “We look forward to a 2018 opening of the ‘Straus Family Pavilion’, named in recognition of this tremendous gift.”

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