Matthew Vassar was one of the incorporators of the Poughkeepsie Savings Bank, the sixth savings bank to be chartered in New York State. Joining Vassar in the new enterprise were William Davies, James Emott, James Hooker, Frederick Barnard, Teunis Van Kleeck, Thomas W. Tallmadge, Nehemiah Conklin, Griffin Williamson, Henry A. Livingston and Stephen Armstrong. The earlier banks were the Bank for Savings in the City of New York (1819), Albany Savings Bank (1820), Troy Savings Bank (1823), Brooklyn Savings Bank (1827) and Seamen's Bank for Savings, New York. Frederic Bliss Stevens, History of the Savings Banks Asssociation of the State of New York
Vasar was later on the board and president of the Farmers and Manufacturers National Bank, which was chartered in 1834.
All the stock in the Poughkeepsie Whaling Company was subscribed to by citizens of Poughkeepsie and "Old Dutchess." M. Vassar was one of the subscribers and a director.
Matthew Vassar was elected president of the village of Poughkeepsie.
The Vassar brewery built new buildings on the riverfront above the Main Street Dock. The business weathered the depression of 1837 and in 1838 was flourishing.
Marietta and Emily Ingham founded the Le Roy Female Seminary in Le Roy, New York. The curriculum was influenced by that at the Mount Holyoke seminary, and by 1851, the seminary, overseen by the Presbyterian Synod of Genesee, had 230 pupils in two academic divisions: the non-graded secondary-level seminary and the primary (preparatory) department.
Lydia Booth, the daughter of Matthew Vassar’s sister, Maria, and George Booth, moved her female seminary from Fredericksburg, Virginia, to Poughkeepsie. The school was for many years located in a building on Garden Street owned by Matthew Vassar and was known as Cottage Hill Seminary.
“The force of circumstances brought me occasionaly in buisness entercourse with my Niece, which will account for the early direction of my mind for the enlarged Education of Women and the subsequent drift of enquiries in my conversation & correspondence with gentlemen Educators in this Country and a few in Europe….” Elizabeth Hazelton Haight, ed., Autobiography and Letters of Matthew Vassar
The Baptist Association built a new church on Lafayette Place at a cost of $20,000, one-half of which was donated by Matthew Vassar, who also gave the land. Mr. Vassar persuaded Rev. Rufus Babcock, later a charter trustee of the college, to return to the pastorate.
"The Hon. Henry Clay arrived at this place last Monday with the steamboat Robert L. Stevens...about 2 o'clock.... The numbers present have been…estimated at from seven to ten thousand people, and it is admitted that never since the welcome of LaFayette has Poughkeepsie been honored with so immense a concourse." Poughkeepsie Journal