Bethpage Federal Credit Union Secures Grants for Long Island Nonprofits

Fire Island Lighthouse. Photo by Beth Batkiewicz.


Fire Island Lighthouse. Photo by Beth Batkiewicz.

Bethpage Federal Credit Union recently helped three Long Island not-for-profits secure $10,000 grants through the Small Business Recovery Grant Program, via the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York. The recipients include Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society, Ladles of Hope, Inc., and Pal-O-Mine Equestrian. All were selected based on their positive impact on their respective communities.

“We are so grateful for the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York’s Small Business Recovery Grant,” said Brian Bugge, the Senior Vice President of Accounting and Finance at Bethpage Federal Credit Union. “When this program was presented to us, we jumped at the opportunity to offer additional support to these organizations.”

Initially established by New York State during the 2017 hurricanes in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, then relaunched during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Small Business Recovery Grant Program acts as a stimulus to small, independently-owned organizations throughout New York State as a means to revitalize the economy after social distancing and quarantine. Criteria were streamlined in 2023, allowing for not-for-profit organizations to receive grants. The grants are intended to help alleviate economic hardships that resulted from the pandemic, such as inflation and supply chain disruptions.

“We’re a longtime partner of Bethpage, and we’re very grateful for their assistance,” said Tony Femminella, the Executive Director for the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society.

Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society will use the grant to help fund various educational and outreach programs that will tell the story of Fire Island and Long Island’s nautical history. Femminella added that one of the many upcoming events at the Long Island icon is ‘Trees, Bees, and Butterflies’, an Arbor Day-themed event occurring on the lighthouse’s grounds on April 27.

“There’ll be lectures and crafts centering around Arbor Day, and kids will be able to take home small tree seedlings,” Femminella explained.

The Seaford-based Ladles of Hope will be using their grant to open two new food pantries in Freeport and Roosevelt. Fully operated by unpaid volunteers, the not-for-profit prepares to-go meals to the needy in Nassau County every Saturday, also giving them clothes, toiletries, a place to bathe.

“It means a lot to us to be a fully volunteer based organization – including our board of directors – with many of us working for over 20 years,” said Fran Hanly, Ladle of Hope’s secretary. “We thank Bethpage for selecting us to receive this grant and appreciate all they do to support us on a regular basis.”

The Small Business Recovery Grant also allowed Pal-O-Mine Equestrian from Islandia to hire and retain additional staff. The program’s own horse farm is used as a teaching tool for people with disabilities and other susceptible populations, such as survivors of abuse. The horse farm is used in conjunction with several specialists, such as vocational job coaches, physical therapists, and mental health professionals, in order to further help the program’s beneficiaries.

“We aim to teach important skills to people who come to us, like horticulture, farming, business management, and of course equestrianism,” said Lisa Gatti, Pal-O-Mine’s director. “Bethpage has been a staunch supporter of ours for 15 years,” added Gatti, “and we hope that support continues.”

“Pal-O-Mine, the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society, and Ladles of Hope are all shining stars in Bethpage Federal Credit Union’s existing nonprofit partner network,” added Bugge, “and all are worthy of being recognized as organizations whose great work has had an enormous impact on the communities we serve.”