Charlie Cornacchio

Charlie Cornacchio

News Anchor

Children’s Museum executive director named ATHENA Recipient

Lara Litchfield-Kimber, executive director of the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, receives the 2015 Athena Award. Pictured left-to-right: Steve Chickery, Hudson Valley Office Furniture; Audra Gerty, DCRCOC; Litchfield-Kimber and Frank Castella, DCRCOC.

Lara Litchfield-Kimber, executive director of the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, has been chosen by her fellow honorees by secret ballot to receive the 2015 ATHENA Award, presented by The Chamber Foundation, Inc.  She was presented this honor at the ATHENA Awards Reception on Thursday, November 19 held at The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel in Poughkeepsie.  Litchfield-Kimber will travel to an upcoming regional ATHENA conference to represent the region.

Litchfield-Kimber came to the Hudson Valley in 2012 to be the executive director of the Children’s Museum, rebuilding the museum’s staff and board, raising funds, improving the building and overhauling its exhibits and programs. It is now a vibrant, hands-on learning environment where annual attendance has doubled to more than 50,000.

“Lara’s accomplishments speak for themselves,” said Frank Castella, Jr., President and CEO of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce and The Chamber Foundation.  “She exemplifies the ATHENA model in every aspect and we are fortunate to have her here in the Hudson Valley improving the fun, family-friendly options available to our community.”

Lara Litchfield-Kimber talks about the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum and its focus on school readiness.

Litchfield-Kimber also created a formal partnership with the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and developed a comprehensive school readiness initiative. The Children’s Museum created a collaborative network among Poughkeepsie’s inner-city Pre-K programs. Now, every child enrolled in a Pre-K program through Poughkeepsie Head Start, Universal Pre-K or Catharine Street Community Center visits the museum for free field trips and receives free family museum memberships.

Under Litchfield-Kimber’s leadership, the museum has been honored by Dutchess Tourism with its 2015 Family Entertainment Award of Distinction, and was recognized as a 2015 Non-Profit Spotlight Award winner by the United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region.

In 2015, Litchfield-Kimber received a Headliner Award for Leadership and Community from the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Litchfield-Kimber serves on the steering committee of the Dutchess County Coalition of Nonprofits and the Astor Head Start Policy Council. Litchfield-Kimber received her bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and master’s degree from Cornell University.

Bestowed annually, the ATHENA Award is given to a member of the community who best embodies the ATHENA Leadership Model, which focuses on personal traits of strong, successful leaders. It captures the spirit and collaborative leadership style often exemplified in women leaders, while recognizing the importance of traits such as courageous acts and fierce advocacy in the pursuit of excellence.  Nominations for the 2016 ATHENA Award are now being accepted.  To submit a candidate for consideration, visit

The 2015 ATHENA nominees include:

·      Dana Diorio-Casey LNHA, LMSW, MA, of the Pines at Poughkeepsie

·      Jeffery Fox, Ph.D., of Abilities First, Inc.

·      Carla Goldstein of the Omega Institute

·      Perrinella F. (Penny) Lewis

·      Lara Litchfield-Kimber of the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum

·      Gaye Mallet of Adams Fairacre Farms

·      Lori Rivenburgh of Boys & Girls Clubs of Town of Wallkill, Inc.

·      Rev. Luader Smith of House of Hope

·      Majorie Smith

·      Karen Zobel LNHA, LCSW, of The Community at Brookmeade

The 2015 ATHENA Awards Reception was presented by Health Quest and sponsored by: Gold sponsor: MidHudson Regional Hospital; Silver sponsor: The Arc of Dutchess, Dutchess County Department of Community and Family Services, and M&T Bank; Bronze sponsor: Abilities First, KeyBank, and Omega Institute for Holistic Studies; Profile sponsor: Adams Fairacre Farms; Supporting sponsors: The Chazen Companies, Hudson Valley Fresh, Hudson Valley Office Furniture, The Pines at Poughkeepsie, and TEG Federal Credit Union; and VIP Honoree Reception sponsor: DCH Wappingers Falls Toyota, Health Quest and KeyBank.



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