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LI Women’s Group Gives $45k

Meadowbrook Women’s Initiative (MWI) presented  grants totaling $45K at its 4th annual philanthropy awards ceremony and installation held June 26 at Temple Chaverim in Plainview.

The three 2012-13 recipients are the Hofstra University School of Medicine, Angela’s House, and Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE).

MWI’s annual grant to Hofstra, $18,000 this year, provides scholarships for summer internships. “This funding makes it possible for students to go off and do very unglamorous work in very unglamorous places, in lower income and high need areas locally or internationally,” said Meredith Celentano, Assistant Vice President for Development & Alumni Affairs. Helping people in third world countries learn to deal with pediatric dehydration, and helping to develop and then use a Malaria Wheel in schools in the Dominican Republic to teach children how to avoid contracting malaria are among the projects medical school students have pursued using previous MWI grants.

Angela’s House, based in Hauppauge, and FREE, based in Old Bethpage, each received a one-time grant of $13,500. Angela’s House offers support and services for families who need care at home for their medically frail and chronically ill children;  later this summer its third residence, with 24-hour nursing care, will open in Stony Brook. “I never forget starting out as a desperate parent looking for help,” explained founder and executive director Bob Policastro, whose infant daughter, Angela, was placed in a residence in Connecticut 24 years ago because there wasn’t a suitable facility on Long Island. “We do everything in the world to not have parents worry financially. We don’t want parents of seriously ill children to have any more stress than they already do.”

FREE’s 3,500 clients have intellectual and other developmental disabilities for which they receive a wide assortment of services, including 24-hour care and supervised housing, rehabilitation, family support and day services based on individual needs.  Started in 1977, FREE “is an alternative for children who were institutionalized,” explained Anita Dowd-Neufeld, Divisional Director of Strategic Partnerships and Resource Development. “Part of our mission is to help these young people to realize their full potential, to reach high and achieve more.” MWI’s grant will help to fund FREE’s arts and employment programs.

 “We have more than 30 study groups, we go on trips, we have luncheons, but at the end of the day, we are a charitable organization,” said June Stelboum, VP of Philanthropy. “All of MWI’s donations are locally based. The money raised here is to be spent here.”

MWI has more than 500 members, mostly retired women, who live in virtually every community in Nassau County, as well as Suffolk and Queens. The organization is dedicated to promoting lifetime learning, serving the community, raising funds for worthwhile local causes, and making a difference in the lives of members and the lives of others. Among its regular activities are 30 study groups, museum trips, a book and author luncheon, theater party, card party, knitting afghans for AIDS patients and preemie hats and making “ouch babies” for children in hospitals, volunteering at the A Holly Patterson extended care facility in Uniondale, delivering and serving food at the Mary Brennan INN, and working with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).  There also is a large and active singles group, with more than 100 women participating in a variety of weekday and weekend activities.

Further information about MWI can be found on its website: