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Monday, July 28, 2014
Rockville Centre asked to help find the most needy
Courtesy John Reese
John Reese and Tony Gerrato, of the Make it Count Foundation, work to repair the home of a Baldwin resident.

A not-for-profit organization based on Long Island and dedicated to providing housing, health and organization to those in need has contacted Rockville Centre Mayor Francis Murray in the hopes of finding residents in need in the village.

The Make it Count Foundation, formalized in December 2009, has strong ties to Rockville Centre through its treasurer, Tony Gerrato, who recently set up a meeting between founder Jon Reese and the mayor and Deputy Mayor Nancy Howard.

Reese explained the mission of his not-for-profit and explained that he prefers to have other organizations recommend who should receive the help they can provide.

“We’ve teamed up with organizations like the VA Medical Center, United Way and Habitat for Humanity to find residents to help,” Reese said. “They allow us to help folks in a lot of capacities.”

Reese said that 80 percent of the organization’s mission is to help those in need receive optimal housing. Currently, Make it Count is using its contractor connections to help renovate the house of a veteran whose home was devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

“This is going to cost us about $20,000, and if he had tried to have it done on his own, it would have cost him more than $30,000,” Reese said “There’s a lot of people on Long Island that just can’t get going. It was good to let this homeowner see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

The next step for Make it Count, Reese said, is to hopefully find a corporate partner to work on the next home. Reese said that, ideally, their partner would find the resident in need and help fund the project, while Make it Count would coordinate and use its connections to get the best deals for renovation.

“We’re relatively small,” Reese said. “We’ve raised more than $400,000 to this point, so we’re sustainable.”

Reese added that working with local organizations financially would allow Make it Count to get a lot more done.

“The most difficult part of this whole process is finding people through organizations,” Gerrato said. “You’d think there would be lists of people, but it doesn’t exist that way. “

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