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Greentree Good Neighbor Grants Surpass Million-Dollar Milestone

Several years ago, the Greentree Foundation, founded by the late Mrs. John Hay Whitney of Manhasset, established the “Greentree Good Neighbor Fund” to support charities in the Town of North Hempstead. Greentree Foundation has made generous annual grants to support this worthy program and with the $175,000 grant it made earlier this year, a total of over $1,000,000 has now been awarded to deserving local organizations since the first Good Neighbor Grants were awarded in 2004.

Groups sharing this year’s grant include Manhasset organizations Adventures in Learning, Manhasset / Great Neck EOC, Manhasset SEPTA, and St. Ignatius Retreat House. Throughout North Hempstead, Greentree Foundation Good Neighbor Grants will fund many important initiatives addressing diverse social issues including educating at-risk children, fighting hunger, and overcoming addictions. Grants will also support immigrant education and provide assistance for the infirm and our seniors.

The availability of Good Neighbor Grants was especially important this year as charities try to cope with unprecedented economic conditions. Charities find themselves facing a “financial perfect storm” with decreased government funding, reduced donations and vastly increased needs of the people they serve. A recent survey of food banks serving North Hempstead residents reported a 35 percent increase since last year in the number of people seeking their help. Many other charitable organizations report similar situations, so the impact of these grant funds will be especially significant and essential to important programs.

Greentree Foundation entrusts the entire grantee selection process to the Manhasset Community Fund. “The Manhasset Community Fund has done an excellent job administering the Good Neighbor Grants over the last five years,” said Greentree President Richard Schaffer. He further explained: “We are aware that this is a difficult time for many in our community and on Long Island. Greentree Foundation is grateful for experienced partners such as Manhasset Community Fund, which assesses the needs in North Hempstead, and the Long Island Community Foundation, which assists groups in other areas of Nassau and Suffolk counties. We hope that the grants made locally and regionally by these two partners will make a difference for many worthy organizations and individuals.”

All Good Neighbor Grant funds are donated exclusively by Greentree Foundation. While the Manhasset Community Fund conducts the Good Neighbor Grant selection process, no public donations made to Manhasset Community Fund are used to fund these grants. The traditional work of the Manhasset Community Fund continues as it has since 1946, with all donations by Manhasset residents and businesses going to help groups serving the people of Manhasset.

This year’s Good Neighbor Grantees were evaluated and selected by a six-member committee of the Manhasset Community Fund, chaired by Thomas P. O’Malley, a former co-president of the fund. Other committee members included: Iliza Bartels, Sheila Brennan, Roger Goodwin, Vincent Stempien and Patricia Vermeulen. Mr. O’Malley reflected that, “The selection process was extremely difficult this year because of the financial hardships and increased needs faced by so many deserving charitable organizations due to the economic downturn. This forced our committee to have to make some tough decisions, but in the end, we felt the funds were distributed where they’ll do the most to help people.”

Over 600 Requests for Proposals were sent to various North Hempstead organizations. After a thorough and thoughtful selection process that included over 20 on-site visits, the 2009 Greentree Foundation Good Neighbor Grants were awarded to these 17 deserving organizations:

• Adventures in Learning ($20,000): To fund an early reading program for at-risk children in Manhasset and Great Neck.

• Alzheimer’s Day Program at Herricks Community Center ($6,000): To install a Sensory Garden to provide socialization and recreation to persons with early to moderate dementia.

• Concerned Citizens for Roslyn Youth ($20,000): To provide after-school and summer enrichment programs to needy children in Roslyn.

Family & Children’s Association ($10,000): To enlarge the senior bill-payer assistance program.

• Great Neck COPAY ($10,000): To expand immigrant success initiatives and to encourage immigrant parents’ participation in their children’s education.

• Health & Welfare Council ($10,000): To educate deserving seniors about governmental supplemental nutrition programs.

• Island Harvest ($10,000): To fund a “Weekend Food” Program for elementary school children who rely on school lunches and breakfasts as their primary source of nourishment.

• Littig House Community Center ($7,500): To support the summer education program for deserving children.

• Long Island Cares – The Harry Chapin Food Bank ($10,000): To increase food distribution to the needy.

• Manhasset/Great Neck EOC ($15,000): To employ a youth director.

• Manhasset SEPTA ($7,500): To provide a “Saturday Series Adaptive Program” for Special Needs Children.

• MPowering Kids ($10,000): To expand the role of the high school coordinator at this after-school program in Westbury.

• North Shore Child & Family Guidance ($10,000): To fight adolescent substance abuse.

• Port Washington Senior Citizens ($5,000): To support reinstated recreational programs.

• St. Aloysius Church ($5,000): To further outreach to the needy in Great Neck.

• St. Ignatius Retreat House ($10,000): To expand alcohol recovery programs.

• Westbury Neighborhood Association ($8,000): To enlarge outreach and counseling services.

Submitted by the Manhasset Community Fund