Community Member Entrusted With Board Leadership: Michael Oates


Michael Oates

Being a member of the Board of Directors for a nonprofit organization has the distinct responsibility of representing the interests of a community, and to ensure an organization’s operation and mission remain vital and endure into the future. The composition of a Board requires diverse membership to reflect the community it serves, along with experience and talent to contribute to its strategies and emerging needs.

For over five years, Michael Oates, President & CEO of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation, has provided guidance and support to Abilities First. He joined the Abilities First, Inc. Board of Directors in 2017 and has continued to support strategies and provide guidance for the regionalism of the agency, as well as provide advocacy for the industry and those supported by Abilities First locally, within New York State, and with federally-elected officials.

Michael was presented the 2019 Abilities First Innovation Award for his long-term advocacy for equal access to employment for all. Michael worked with Abilities First to connect businesses with the Employment Services Program, including the current success with Green Panda, upon its relocation from China, whereby Abilities First individuals assist with the assembly and packaging of The Green Panda bamboo toothbrush, an environmentally-friendly product designed to be 100 percent biodegradable.

Michael is the former managing partner for Bellefield Development Partners, LLC, the developer of Bellefield at Historic Hyde Park in Dutchess County. Prior to joining Bellefield, Michael was the CEO of Hudson River Ventures, a small business investment fund focused on food and beverage, tourism, hospitality, 3D printing, and innovative technology with investment projects located in the Hudson Valley.

Abilities First and the Foundation for Abilities First NY (FAFNY) are most grateful for Michael’s commitment to, and support of its mission. We look forward to his continued leadership.