January 5, 2016 was a very special day at Ashworth Creative. After months of work on the #HVThankful campaign, we were ready to pick the winner of this year’s $2,000 prize. The name drawn was Emily Darrow, Director of Marketing and Communications at the United Way of Dutchess-Orange Region. When she received an email from Ashworth Creative announcing that her Instagram post of the Hudson River (hashtagged with #HVThankful), was the winning post ” Emily was “flabbergasted” and “overjoyed”, but did not skip a beat in naming the recipient of this year’s $2,000 prize.

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This year, the United Way of Dutchess-Orange Region will have the opportunity to put the $2,000 prize towards fulfilling their mission to build “a stronger, healthier community by raising funds, developing resources and forging partnerships that make a measurable difference in people’s lives.” Through a robust grant program, and a volunteer committee that reviews and monitors projects, the United Way is able to make an enormous impact throughout the neediest areas of the community by looking at what Emily calls the “big picture”.

Emily's Winning Post from December 4, 2015.
Emily’s Winning Post from December 4, 2015.

Emily Darrow’s winning photo was shot in a moment of gratitude, in which she was enjoying a moment of quiet solitude and reflection by the Hudson River. The Hudson Valley is remarkable because of the number of charitable causes and people dotting the beautiful landscape. In 2014, Eve Ashworth, Account Director of Ashworth Creative, wanted to design a new way to use social media to advocate and fundraise for local nonprofits and charities. By creating the hashtag #HVThankful, she ignited a culture of gratitude that brought in generous business sponsorships, and grew the campaign to where it is today.

And Emily Darrow is proud to be a part of the #HVThankful movement. When asked what makes #HVThankful so special, Emily explained: “Any campaign that focuses on an individual being able to contribute is empowering. To be able to have the opportunity to give such a large chunk of money to a cause of my choice is a rare opportunity, one that not many people have.” And that’s the point of #HVThankful – giving Hudson Valley residents the opportunity to use social media to share gratitude, and possibly, give large donations to a local cause that inspires them. Through the contribution of Ashworth Creative, along with this year’s business sponsors: Children’s Medical Group, Premier Medical Group of the Hudson Valley, Kirchhoff-Consigli Construction Management, Malcarne Contracting, Fox Radio, Page Park Associates, Highway Displays, and Marshall & Sterling Insurance, the 2015 #HVThankful challenge was able to raise $2,000 to donate to the United Way of the Dutchess and Orange Region.

2016 will see even more growth for #HVThankful. The team at Ashworth Creative is taking #HVThankful “365,” encouraging people to participate in the campaign all year long. Whether you tweet, post on Facebook, share photos on Instagram, advocate for the campaign, or donate/sponsor, we hope that you will help fuel the fire of gratitude and giving that pervades the Hudson Valley from January to December! Thank you!

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Congratulations to Emily Darrow and United Way of Dutchess-Orange Region. Here’s to #HVThankful 2016!

For more information please visit the United Way of Dutchess-Orange Region website.