People from across the country will soon have a new way to help the residents and business of Island Park in the form of a relief fund that was created by the Chamber of Commerce.
Officially called the Island Park, NY Residential and Business Hurricane Relief Fund, Inc., the fund is a not-for-profit corporation created by Chamber of Commerce President Glenn Ingoglia at the request of Mayor James Ruzicka.
“The mayor and the village clerk had asked me if I would set it up because they were getting solicitations from corporations to donate money and items,” Ingoglia said. “And they thought it appropriate to put them in touch with a relief fund instead of the municipality accepting those donations.”
Because it is set up as a not-for-profit corporation, the Island Park Fund (as it is called) has a board of directors: Ingoglia, Chamber member Mike Scully, Island Park Board of Education Trustee Mike Hastava and Island Park Civic Association President Dana Feminella.
The fund plans to split all of the donations it receives equally between homeowners and businesses in Island Park. “Businesses got hit hard, just like the residents did, but the difference is that the majority of businesses do not have any insurance,” Ingoglia said. “And the only relief for them that we know of is the FEMA small business loan, but they’re not offering relief money. So we want to include the businesses in this as well.”
Businesses can apply for FEMA loans the same as homeowners can. However, homeowners also have access to relief money that doesn’t have to be paid back. Businesses do not.
Though the fund cannot accept donations yet (Ingoglia is still working on the last of the tax paperwork), it has received pledges for money already. The West Hempstead High School Class of 1972 held its 40th reunion in early November and pledged approximately $1,300 to the Island Park Fund. “Once we’re up and running, we’re going to solicit as many people and corporations as we can,” said Ingoglia.