Dave Sterman steps up to match all December cash donations to Family of New Paltz

Kathy Cartagena, Director of Family of New Paltz, poses for a photo with Dave Sterman. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.
— Winston Churchill


Financial journalist and proud Paltzonian Dave Sterman has launched a fundraising campaign for Family of New Paltz called “It Takes a Village.” For every $2 donated to Family, Sterman will give a $1 until Dec. 31.


Asked why he decided to start this campaign, Sterman said that he had heard something on National Public Radio about a matching campaign and how successful they can be, “because people are more apt to give if they know their donation will be stretched even further,” he said.

In the past, he had given what he could to national charities that he championed. But, having moved to New Paltz in 1995 and having learned about the work that Family did for the community that he has grown to cherish, he thought that it made more sense to give back locally. “Giving to any not-for-profit is a great thing; but I think, particularly in these economic times, you can make a much bigger impact if you give locally. And Family has the largest impact on our community’s basic needs: food, clothing, shelter, domestic violence shelters, crisis counseling…”

He said that over the years he heard repeatedly from friends and neighbors about Kathy Cartagena, the longtime director of Family, and the “great work that she and her staff and volunteers do for our community to make it a better place, that I thought it was the perfect organization to try and raise some money and awareness for.”

“Dave [Sterman] is such a lovely man,” said Cartagena. “I had never met him; he came in to my office and was so humble and caring and wanting to do something. So we came up with this ‘It Takes a Village’ name for the matching fundraiser. Yes, I borrowed it from Hillary [Clinton], because it really does take a village to do what we do at Family — more so every year as the economy worsens.”

How does it work? Cartagena explained that anyone who donates via check just has to write in the memo portion of the check “It Takes a Village,” and that will trigger Sterman’s matching dollars. “We’ve already received a bunch of checks,” she said, which will be critical for Family as the holiday season wraps up and the often-lean and mean winter months set in.

She said that one of her assistants is “hoarding away food right now, because we’re so afraid of those shelves [in Family’s food pantry] going bare come January! So any campaign like this makes an enormous difference for us to be able to do what we can to keep families fed and clothed and sheltered and safe. This is a very difficult time for people who have lost jobs, their homes…”

Sterman is hoping that this matching campaign will also “encourage others who are able to do the same for a local not-for-profit of their choosing. The matching campaigns are a way to magnify resources and stretch every bit donated.”

Having lived and worked in New York City, Sterman said that he was drawn to New Paltz the first time that he visited. “Not only is it beautiful, but the people are amazing and progressive, and people care about each other. It’s a true community. I’ve traveled all over the world, and I’ve yet to see any place that I’d want to relocate to. New Paltz has a magnetic quality about it.”

This campaign is his way of “giving back to the community that has given me so much. I, like most people, have fallen on very hard times at points in my life and needed a helping hand. If I continue to be fortunate enough to have a job, then I hope to make this an annual fundraiser for Family.”

Sterman didn’t even want his name attached to the fundraiser, but after talking with Cartagena, he realized that he had to “legitimize” it by putting a name to the person who would match each dollar. The goal of the campaign is $7,500 total.