The Walkway Over the Hudson has become one of the Hudson Valley’s iconic destinations, thanks largely in part to the devoted efforts of Elizabeth Waldstein. During her nine years as executive director, the organization’s budget has grown from $227,000 to $953,000, currently supporting a robust series of programs, services, and events for nearly 600,000 visitors annually.
This is no surprise to those who know Waldstein well, as philanthropic efforts have been a priority for a majority of her life. While in college, she worked on a research project in Nepal that helped empower local women in the areas of personal finance and literacy. Since moving to Hyde Park in the early 2000s, she has been active in various community projects, including bringing a skate park to Hyde Park, and serving as the project director for a partnership formed to purchase and restore more than 200 acres of historically significant property, reconnecting the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Sites with the construction and interpretation of Roosevelt Farm Lane.
What advice do you have for the next generation of female leaders?
Do not take for granted the incredible sacrifice, dedication, and courage so many women have made to get us just a little bit closer to having equal rights. Read and learn about the hundreds of women like Margaret Sanger, Indira Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Mead, Amelia Earhart, Sojourner Truth, Gloria Steinem, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the list goes on and on.
Question and ask why these important historical figures are not prominently featured in our textbooks, or do not have roads, bridges, and monuments named after them. Vote and look forward to the day when we inaugurate the first woman President of the United States.
Your father was an Iowa State Senator. Can you tell us about him?
My father was a man of great integrity. Although he was a popular senator with excellent chances to continue, he chose to step down after eight years. He believed in term limits and always reminded me that being an elected official was a privilege and a true form of public service. Both he and my mother were active volunteers throughout their lives. My father encouraged me to think for myself.
During my high-spirited teenage years, I often heard “Elizabeth, engage your brain before your mouth.” He was very proud of my accomplishments and trusted me to venture beyond my family and community to travel around the world at a young age.