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October 31, 2023   |   By the Long Island Community Foundation
Focus on the East End of Long Island

Women from the Shinnecock Indian Nation on Long Island farm kelp in the Shinnecock Bay to capture carbon and nitrogen. In this photo are Danielle Hopsun-Begun and Beverly Gwathney. Photo by Matt Ballard

Each year, the country’s 1 percent flock to Long Island’s East End, where they call the Hamptons home for the summer.

Well known for its billionaire mansions and celebrity getaways, the East End is also home to striking wealth gaps and rich cultural diversity—and to community organizations that advocate tirelessly to solve inequities and honor the heritage of its Indigenous residents and newest immigrants.

By funding these nonprofits, our Long Island Community Foundation supports the area’s varied interests and communities.

Shinnecock Kelp Farmers lab

S. Karen Burke, Congregation of St. Joseph, and Danielle Hopsun-Begun. Photo by Shinnecock Kelp Farmers

A testament to resilience, the Shinnecock people have lived on Long Island for 13,000 years. The Shinnecock Indian Nation is one of only two federally recognized tribes on Long Island today; it survived centuries of colonization and forced assimilation.

To protect the cherished cultural identity of the Shinnecock Nation and other Native tribes, the Foundation supported the Padoquohan Medicine Lodge.

This vital sanctuary provides food and safe shelter for tribe members and partners with community groups to identify risks to the tribes’ well-being. The Lodge also safeguards sacred burial grounds from development and rallies advocates to conserve Indigenous land for generations to come.

REVIVING SHINNECOCK BAY WITH SUGAR KELP

In 2012, pollutants clouded the waters of Shinnecock Bay and endangered the tribe’s 9,000 acres of plants, fish, and shellfish. The Shinnecock Kelp Farmers and Sisters of St. Joseph expertly addressed this problem with quick thinking and the cleansing effects of growing sugar kelp in water.

The Farmers spent 2021 harvesting enough sugar kelp to help extract nitrates from the water and replace the use of chemical fertilizers. As a result, Shinnecock Bay’s water quality surged, along with the amount of kelp now needed to sustain its cleaner water.

Sisters of St. Joseph, a convent whose service to the environment coincides with its religious mission, will conduct a feasibility study to learn how much sugar kelp farmers can keep growing, and how to build a sustainable hatchery to incubate it.

The hatchery will help free Shinnecock Bay of chemical pollutants, while nurturing long-term self-sufficiency for the Shinnecock Kelp Farmers.

TUTORING ON THE RESERVATION

Amid the learning setbacks brought on by COVID-19, Shinnecock Reservation students underwent a similar journey of perseverance.

Hamptons Community Outreach helped high school students dramatically improve their grade point average with personalized tutoring, free mental health services, and college and career counseling during the pandemic.

The nonprofit plans to scale up its work helping Shinnecock young people reach their full potential by expanding its resources to more children across the Reservation— including middle schoolers for the current school year.

TEACH A CHILD TO FISH

Meanwhile, Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center helps improve the lives of Long Island children through education and enrichment programs. The Center’s Teach Me How to Fish workforce training strategy brightens the economic future of Black Long Islanders, coaching participants to successfully land high-paying jobs.

Investing in the high-demand workforce sectors that help Long Island prosper, the Center’s program offers extensive training in software engineering, professional development, real estate, manufacturing, and clean energy.

Next up, the Center will work with more Long Island businesses and the Long Island Community Foundation’s Racial Equity Fund to help close the wealth equity gap in the community through advocacy and public policy work.

IMMIGRANTS POWER THE ECONOMY AND FACE AN UNSEEN CRISIS

A recent study from The Immigration Research Initiative revealed that contrary to negative portrayals in the media, Long Island’s immigrants have a positive and often overlooked, economic impact. Immigrants on Long Island fill much-needed roles in the workforce, and the majority hold middle- or upper-wage jobs.

Despite this good news, the East End’s Central American community—the fifth largest in the United States—faces hardship. We created the Long Island Immigrant Children’s Fund, a pooled fund of foundations and individual donors, to provide critical social and advocacy services to Central American children who began arriving on Long Island without adult family members in unexpectedly large numbers in 2014. Nonprofits like Catholic Charities, Safe Passage Project, and CARECEN have illuminated the challenges immigrants face, while providing social and legal services that empower children.

The East End of Long Island is a complex region that benefits from nonprofits making life better for all residents, especially those most in need.

Media Contact Information

Need help or advice?

Marie C. Smith
Director of Donor Relations and Communications
(631) 991-8800, ext. 223
msmith@licf.org

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Media Contact Information

Need help or advice?

Marie C. Smith
Director of Donor Relations and Communications
(631) 991-8800, ext. 223
msmith@licf.org

Get our media kit

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