“Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: ‘I’m with you kid. Let’s go.” In a part of the Catskills filled with both rich possibilities and deep challenges, Peg Ellsworth has lived into the words of Maya Angelou, grabbing the communities she loves by the lapels to help them thrive. With courage, a firm mind, and an enormous heart, Peg has led one of the most innovative community foundations in the country into building an area in ways it didn’t know were possible.
Under her guidance, the MARK Project has solicited funds totaling nearly $14M for community projects, programs, flood relief, homeowner assistance, small business development, and Main Street Revitalization. These funds have leveraged an additional $50M in private and public investment that has translated to $64M invested in the region. In addition, in coordination with local municipalities, MARK has assisted income-eligible homeowners with over $2M in funds for repairs addressing health and safety issues.
With this work, Ms. Ellsworth has parlayed a 25-year career directing and administering federal, state, and locally funded projects into an extraordinarily powerful set of impacts for the region, bringing hope and help to community members in need, support and resources to a growing small business community, and tireless championship for good ideas and ventures across the region.
When the area was devastated by Hurricane Irene flooding, Peg and the MARK Project stepped in around the clock, even as her own house flooded. When the wedding industry needed good food for a growing clientele, Peg and her husband created a cutting-edge catering business while providing professional career opportunities for young residents. When the new state-wide vision for economic development emerged, Peg stepped up to serve on the Executive Committee of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council. She has unstinting energy, commitment, and belief in solutions, and she invariably is willing to work to make a difference.
If you go to a meeting in the area, you might find someone wearing a button that says, “It’s all Peg’s fault.” If it’s a breakthrough idea, a kind gesture, a new way to make this part of the Catskills live into its possibility, it probably was.
Ms. Camillone was brought on staff at MARK to provide immediate assistance in the wake of Hurricane Irene. She was instrumental in the coordination of volunteers, needed resources, and funding assistance to flood effected individuals, families, and businesses. She currently has primary administrative responsibility for our CDBG programs, as well as administering our Small Business Development Fund and other local business development projects. MARK also uses her talents to maintain our website and our social media outreach efforts.
Chelsea Slavin is a lifelong area resident and graduated from Margaretville Central School. She continued her education at SUNY Delhi and received an Associates in Criminal Justice and is currently working towards her Bachelor’s in the same field. She brings an in depth understanding of the social and economic challenges of the region and great organizational skills to the MARK Project team. Prior to MARK she was a customer service representative at Margaretville Telephone Company.
Housing Rehabilitation Specialist
Mr. Beemer comes to MARK with over 30 years of construction experience and is a certified lead paint risk assessor. He possesses extensive knowledge of rehabilitation to older buildings using best practices in Historic Preservation while incorporating the latest in green technology and energy efficiency and also works closely with local Code Enforcement Officers to insure adherence to all local and state building code requirements.