Newsday Article - Long Island Community Foundation awards $700G to empower girls, promote social justice, more - The Long Island Community Foundation
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January 8, 2024   |   By the Long Island Community Foundation
Newsday Article – Long Island Community Foundation awards $700G to empower girls, promote social justice, more

Tijuana Fulford, founder and executive director of the Butterfly Effect Project, which empowers Long Island girls. Credit: Barry Sloan

By Olivia Winslow olivia.winslow@newsday.com

In its year-end distribution of charitable grants, the Long Island Community Foundation announced it had given more than $700,000 to 28 groups spanning a wide range of projects, from environmental and conservation causes to the arts to youth development.

The foundation, a division of the New York Community Trust, announced it gave $706,500 to 28 groups in its last cycle for the year. The foundation said it had distributed $3,178,685 in grants in 2023 to nearly 100 nonprofits through its competitive and collaborative funds grant-making programs.

This latest round of grants went to projects in arts and culture, community development, conservation and the environment, education, health services and mental health, hunger and homelessness, youth development, and special projects.

“Basically, we favor projects that have clearly defined and measurable outcomes that address gaps in services or program models,” Marie Smith, spokeswoman for the foundation, said in an interview.

Sol Marie Alfonso Jones, the foundation’s program director, said in a statement: “These grants represent how philanthropy fuels innovation, tests new approaches to long-standing challenges, and meets the needs of some of the Island’s most vulnerable populations.”

Citizens Campaign for the Environment received a $40,000 grant to raise awareness about a legislative bill called the “Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act” that would address solid waste.

“Reducing solid waste on Long Island is a critical need,” CCE executive director Adrienne Esposito said in an interview. “This is the year we need to get it done. Brookhaven [Town] landfill will be closing in the next couple of years and we don’t have any solutions. The only thing everyone agrees on is reducing waste.”

Esposito said her nonprofit will work with villages and towns to encourage them to support the bill, which she said “has been weaving its way through the legislative process for the last two years.” The legislation, she said, “will save taxpayers and municipalities money by eliminating waste disposal costs. It’s a great bill for the environment, it’s good for our wallets and good for local governments.”

Stage the Change, a nonprofit that uses art to connect high school students from racially and economically diverse communities, received a $20,000 grant.

“We are really thrilled,” said Ruthie Pincus, founder and executive director of Stage the Change. “We put together a program last year, Voices of Change, which pairs together two diverse communities that are nearby one another but never get to see each other because of Long Island’s historic segregation.”

She said the students create an original piece of work, based on issues they find important, or social justice issues. “The students get to work together … to create a piece of theater.”

Pincus said the students’ interactions enabled them to get a “chance to understand both their differences and likenesses, and through that we hope to create a world of more understanding.”

The Butterfly Effect Project in Riverhead received $35,000 for what founder and executive director Tijuana Fulford said was an empowerment program for about 100 girls in the five elementary schools in the Riverhead school district, providing help with their academic, behavioral and emotional progress.

“What we would like to do in the Riverhead school district, we want to make sure our girls have a fair opportunity to broaden their horizon,” Fulford said.

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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

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