Dutchess County — Daymond John, an investor on the competition television show, “Shark Tank,” where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to investors in hopes of getting funding, announced a donation of $10,000, in collaboration with Hudson Valley’s Pattern for Progress, to Poughkeepsie City School District on Thursday night.
Nicknamed “The People’s Shark” on the show, John, a resident of Pleasant Valley in Dutchess County (just northeast of Poughkeepsie), said it was important to provide opportunities for people to take chances, with experience being vital as an entrepreneur.
The donation was announced as the Newburgh-based Pattern for Progress celebrated its 50th anniversary at Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor.
The funding will be earmarked for Poughkeepsie High School’s Career Action Center, which collaborates with the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce to provide students with internships. With the donation, the program will be able to offer paid internships for students reports The Poughkeepsie Journal.
“This partnership provides our high school students with unprecedented opportunities to explore their career interests and engage in robust internships to prepare them for college and competitive careers,” Nicole Williams, superintendent of Poughkeepsie School District, said.
Poughkeepsie High School seniors Juan Arroyo and Demaj Ffriend both took internships through the program — Arroyo with Sen. Sue Serino and Ffriend with Frank Castella, president and CEO of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Arroyo said the internship provided more than just skills, but the confidence to aspire to better things and aim higher.
“It made me think that I could be a politician, that I could be something better,” Arroyo tells the Poughkeepsie Journal.
Pattern for Progress is a not-for-profit organization which promotes the growth of the Hudson Valley, supporting several counties including Dutchess and Orange.
Jonathan Drapkin, president and CEO of Pattern for Progress, said John was brought in as speaker due to his entrepreneurial interests and the fact that he owns a home in Pleasant Valley.
“Daymond epitomizes a lot of Pattern’s areas of interest, including education, entrepreneurship and a focus on urban centers,” Drapkin said.
In choosing to make Dutchess County his home, John said the area just had a certain appeal that he couldn’t find in the city.
“I love how quaint it is, and I love Pleasant Valley,” John said.