Though actor and director Billy Baldwin may have moved to the West Coast from his hometown of New York several years ago, Long Island will always hold a special place in his heart. The actor has been involved with The Long Island Community Foundation nonprofit for years. The LICF has taken on tough problems to improve the quality of life on Long Island by supporting organizations that build better and stronger communities. “The work they do across Long Island is nothing short of incredible,” says Baldwin of the LICF, which is led by executive director David Okorn. Baldwin and his five siblings including actor brothers Alec, Stephen, and Daniel grew up in Massapequa on the island and the family’s ties run deep.
The LICF recently launched the COVID-19 Long Island Philanthropic Response Fund to aid service providers addressing the health and economic effects of the coronavirus locally and so far, a million dollars has been raised. “Unfortunately, this doesn’t come close to meeting the emerging and critical needs affecting the region,” explains Baldwin and Okorn. “Priority will be given to nonprofits addressing essential health and human services and food insecurity, as well as those that support arts and culture. We believe each of these focus areas is directly tied to our communities’ health and wellness and economic recovery.”
DuJour spoke with Baldwin to get the scoop on how he’s helping and how others can help Long Island, too.
How did you get involved with this organization? Why is this cause important to you?
I’ve worked with the Long Island Community Foundation for twenty years. I got started with them after some friends from Massapequa turned me onto the great work they were doing locally. The Massapequa Community Fund does several things: they give scholarships to the Massapequa high school; they aid families in crisis; they give grants to local nonprofits that serve the town; and they send 10 to 15 local teachers from the public school annually to attend the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero Classroom program [which helps enhance curriculums and creative thinking for educators].
What does your day look like during this shelter-in-place scenario?
I’m at our home in Montecito, California with my wife [singer Chynna Phillips] and our three kids.
What are your days like lately?
We’re doing tons of grocery shopping, endless cooking and cleaning, dishwasher and laundry loads. Looking through old photo albums, I bleached the garage floors and I’m doing all the things you tell your wife you’ll do but never get around to doing.
How are you staying sane right now?
Lots of coffee in the morning, lots of wine in the evening.
How are you getting some fresh air?
I think it’s important to get outside and go for a walk, a hike or just take the dog out. in nature. You’ve got to get some air. We just saw our neighbor Ellen DeGeneres going for a power walk.
What’s been weighing on you?
I just feel for my kids and the community. Two years ago, our community was wiped out by fires and mudslides and my son got very sick. And now, schools are shut down which means no prom, no graduation. I wonder what kind of anxiety kids are experiencing with this right now and how they’re handling this now and down the road. Who knows when life will resume as it was.
What are you watching right now?
My kids are watching everything and I am watching music documentaries like Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice and Echo in The Canyon.
What is your go-to news source during this period?
I listen to the news all the time. I like NPR, BBC, Bloomberg, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. I read Twitter a lot for news headlines.
And what’s atop your to-do list once this is all over?
A huge orgy. I just want us collectively to take all of our clothes off and rub up against each other with a lot of oil, weed and wine. Just kidding. I am focusing on health and happiness and getting back to normal. And making sure Donald Trump is defeated in November.