In a first-time regionwide initiative, five major Long Island philanthropic groups have pledged a half-million dollars to help 12 grassroots organizations, including LIPC, to improve the quality of life in distressed communities.
The project – designed to help struggling organizations develop managerial skills, work together and become more effective community advocates – was introduced at a conference Thursday at JPMorgan Chase Foundation headquarters in Melville.
“We looked at what else we could do besides giving money to organizations,” said Suzy Sonenberg, Executive Director of the Long Island Community Foundation, which initiated the Leadership, Effectiveness, Action and Partnership project. Technical assistance will be provided by the Community Training and Assistance Center, a national not-for-profit group focusing on urban communities. Representatives will visit each Long Island organization to “gain an understanding of the challenges it faces,” and work sessions will begin this summer, a spokesman said.
“We’ll reach forward, all of us together. You don’t have to be constantly struggling just to catch up,” Sonenberg said. A project of this kind on a regional scale “has never been done before,” she said.
To start, the Rauch Foundation will give $10,000 for general support to each of the 12 community groups, said Vice President Linda Landsman. “It’s our hope the funds will free each organization to participate more fully,” Landsman said.
Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, a speaker at the kickoff, said, “We have an abundance of wonderful people with compassion and caring. This will give them additional training in the business-like skills to make them more effective in the long term.”
The funders include the Long Island Community Foundation, the Rauch Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Horace Hagedorn Foundation, and the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock.