Nonprofit organizations conduct much of the vital work in society—protecting the vulnerable, educating the young, nourishing the spirit, and providing a vital connection between people, groups, and communities. Unfortunately, Long Island’s nonprofit sector is facing significant challenges. The devastating impact of government funding cuts, cutbacks in corporate funding, and increased competition for foundation dollars is creating huge holes in the already minimal safety net provided to those in need of assistance. Long Island's communities depend on a strong and resilient nonprofit sector. Therefore, the Long Island Community Foundation focuses its grantmaking in this area to strengthen the capacity of nonprofit organizations to achieve greater community impact for our Island.
Since 2014, the Long Island Community Foundation has funded the Leading in Community program for diverse nonprofit professionals and community leaders at Adelphi’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership. The certificate program combines monthly on-campus workshops with weekly online discussions focusing on personalized development plans to help these professionals with budgeting, fundraising, strategic planning, and collaborating with local organizations.
To push for important policy changes, local nonprofits often need to navigate the legislative process on both the county and state levels. And they’ve had a number of successes, including language access for those with limited English, fair housing, paid family leave, and the 2018 raise-the-age law, which means 17- and 18-year olds in legal trouble will no longer be automatically prosecuted as adults. That’s where the Advocacy Institute comes in. It helps nonprofits learn about New York’s legislative process, develop practical lobbying skills, and create their own advocacy campaigns. A grant from the Long Island Unitarian Universalist Fund at LICF gives grassroots organizations on Long Island the resources and support they need to effectively push for change.
Like other corporations, the approximately 6,000 nonprofits on Long Island regularly need legal advice to understand the complex web of overlapping state and federal regulations that govern them. They need help establishing governance and management policies and navigating contracts, real estate transactions, employment policies, lobbying, fundraising regulations, and mergers. With grants to the Pro Bono Partnership, we made it possible for them to open an office at Touro Law Center’s Public Advocacy Center and recruit volunteer attorneys who have assisted Long Island nonprofits with an array of legal matters.