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Garden Soil

HVADC CDFI Advisory Group: Denise Frangipane

Jan 31, 2023

When HVADC was developing the organization as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), it was important to HVADC leadership that the program’s advisory group bring together invested stakeholders from all the diverse areas of the region.

When HVADC was developing the organization as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), it was important to HVADC leadership that the program’s advisory group bring together invested stakeholders from all the diverse areas of the region.  


CDFI Advisory Group Member and CEO of Sullivan 180 Denise Frangipane, says rural Sullivan County often gets left out of New York development discussions, situated between the Hudson Valley, Delaware River Valley and Westchester County regions. She said she’s excited to be able to represent the voices and needs of her neighbors on the board.


“Growing up in an agricultural community I’ve always appreciated it and its impact. I became committed to agriculture when I was on the Bethel Town Council because I had a responsibility and could affect policy to address overdevelopment. It was not just about advocating against development, it was for advocating for policies that supported agriculture.”  


The CDFI Fund, a program of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, plays an important role in generating economic growth and opportunity in America’s historically neglected communities. The fund offers tailored resources and innovative programs that invest federal dollars alongside private sector capital which is then administered by institutions that take a market-based approach to supporting economically disadvantaged communities. These CDFI certified mission-driven organizations, including HVADC, are able to inject new sources of capital into neighborhoods that lack access to financing and provide Business Technical Assistance to small businesses. The advisory group and its members are tasked with assessing funding applications and seeking potential program recipients.  


“On paper Denise has all the experience and knowhow to be a great addition to the CDFI Advisory Group,” said Todd Erling, HVADC Executive Director. “But what really sets her apart is her deep rooted care for her community and her ability to convert that care into actionable programing with beneficial results. She’s the perfect person to advocate for the farmers and food entrepreneurs of Sullivan County.”  ​


Frangipane has been recognized for her hard work as Executive Director of Sullivan Renaissance. During Frangipane’s tenure, the organization, now merged with Sullivan 180, expanded to focus on development projects geared towards youth programing and community health in all its forms. Both organizations are offshoots of the Gerry Foundation, a regional nonprofit that has made major impacts in Sulivan County on behalf of the Gerry family. The name Sullivan 180 is an acknowledgement of the county’s rank of 61 out of 62 counties in New York that Sullivan County received by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health rankings, and its mission to turn that ranking around by 180 degrees.  


“We have a broad reach but are really focusing on youth, health and drug prevention,” she said.  


In 2000, Frangipane began working with the Gerry Foundation as part of the research and development team for Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. During this time, she established the Harvest Festival and worked on the creation of the Museum at Bethel Woods.  


As a member of the Bethel Town Council, she helped establish the Forest Reserve at Smallwood with a permanent conservation easement and worked with her colleagues to pass a ban on heavy industrial uses, which included damaging drilling practices.  


A graduate of Monticello High School, Frangipane attended SUNY Binghamton, where she became invested in issues related to safety for women and children. She also received her master’s degree in Public Administration from Marist College. Later, Denise was appointed by the Sullivan County Manager to develop systems and policies that improved access to the Division of Health and Family Services, including programs for pregnant and parenting teens.  


For a number of years, and through the pandemic, Frangipane served on the board of the Catskills Food Hub, where she first met Todd Erling.    


“I appreciate that Todd and HVADC have a broad view and not just a boardroom view,” she said. “I agreed (to be on the CDFI group) because I was glad to see Sullivan County invited to the table. At Sullivan 180 we are involved with a lot of collaborative projects.”  


Frangipane is also a member of the board of Cornell Cooperative Extension, Sullivan County, and remains a trustee on the board for the Museum at Bethel Woods. ​


Additional information about the Business Technical Assistance provided through HVADC CDFI program may be found at https://www.hvadc.org/incubator-without-walls and funding, at https://www.hvadc.org/loans-and-grants.

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