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The Port Washington Education Foundation will make its introduction to the Port Washington community at a kick-off event on Sunday, June 2 from 4 - 6 p.m. at Hempstead House on the Sands Point Preserve. Free of charge and with the community invited to attend, the event will give members of the foundation's founding board of directors a chance to speak about the foundation's mission and goals and to share their vision of what this organization can offer to Port Washington. Light refreshments will be available.

The purpose of the education foundation is to raise money from private sources to fund projects in the Port Washington school district that are beyond the scope of the school district budget. Formed by a group of some 20 community members who span five decades in age, the foundation's steering committee includes new and longtime residents who are united by their commitment to do something positive for the Port Washington school district.

The June 2 kick-off event, chaired by Kay Ullman and Matt Melkonian, will be, according to Mr. Melkonian, "welcoming, informative and festive." He notes that the Hempstead House location on the Sands Point Preserve is expansive and can accommodate a large group of people. Mr. Melkonian sees the foundation as a way of providing community support for educational excellence in Port Washington for the coming decades when his own two children, now under four years of age, will be students. He is a relative newcomer to Port Washington.

Mrs. Ullman, by contrast, is a Schreiber graduate, parent of Schreiber graduates and a grandparent of four Port Washington children, "two current, and two future, students at Sousa Elementary School," she proudly points out. Mrs. Ullman comments: "We're very enthusiastic about starting an independent effort to support education in Port Washington. We encourage members of the community to join us on June 2 to learn about the many possibilities an education foundation can offer. We'll also explain how our new organization fits into the landscape of other nonprofit organizations that already serve our community."

In addition to Mrs. Ullman, the foundation's founding board of directors includes other alumni of Schreiber High School along with parents of Schreiber graduates and grandparents of students currently enrolled in the Port Washington school district. The committee members are Amy Bass, Lynette Batts, Brian Cohen, Margaret DeSiervo, Ellen Ginsberg, Toula Halperin, Julie Harnick, Robert Kleinman, Renee Laffer, Marica Levine, Matt Melkonian, Laura Mogul (nonvoting member), Roy Nelson, MD, Claudia Rouhana, Robin Sigman, Tanya Sydnor, Pam Tarica, Michele Tashman and Kay Ullman. Education foundations in support of public school systems exist throughout the country and in many Long Island communities, including Manhasset and Roslyn. Amy Bass, who convened and chairs the foundation's board of directors and is a Schreiber alumna herself and the parent of two Schreiber graduates, says, "It's about time that Port Washington had an independent education foundation, carefully and thoughtfully crafted to suit the needs and concerns of our community." She continues, "Whether the foundation acts as funder, organizer or advocate, we believe it will provide Port students and the school district with a base of community support, both moral and financial, for continued excellence, creativity and innovation now and for years to come."

To meet with success in achieving its goals, the foundation needs to raise money, and is actively pursuing many avenues of funding. While there is no charge to the June 2 event, the foundation welcomes community financial support at all levels of giving. The Port Washington Education Foundation is classified as a not-for-profit 501C3 organization.

Donations may be mailed to PO Box 909, Port Washington. For further information about the foundation or the kick-off event on June 2, contact board of directors member Julie Harnick at 767-2907.


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