How did the Connetquot Foundation start..... Our History
The foundation started out as an idea from former Connetquot Board of Education member Mike Malefronte, but never truly developed. Several years later, in 2002, then Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Laria, contacted several active community members and assembled a group of people to get the idea off the ground. This group of people consisted of Dr. Laria, Mr. Tom Croci, Mr. Mike Kealey, Mr. Rich Walsh, Mr. Walter Tafuri, and Dr. Richard Bernato, who then began the task to create a foundation that can seek private funds to enhance the education of children with innovative programs and materials.
The goal was to establish a community based private foundation, to serve the children residing in the Ronkonkoma, Bohemia, Sayville, West Sayville, and Oakdale communities. The committee set to task the development of a mission statement, by-laws, establishing an official address, a federal ID number, and an organizational name that residents will remember. When this was completed, the organization then registered as a corporation. Papers were then submitted to the I.R.S. to be recognized as a not for profit 501 (c) (3) organization. From the first day the committee met, to receiving the “Not for Profit” status, this process took nearly two years. We were granted the I.R.S. status in February, 2004. During that time several committee members moved on, and only two committee members were left to get CFAC off the ground. An application was then filed with New York State to gain “Not for Profit Organization” status and state tax exemption.
Mr. Walter Tafuri and Mr. Rich Walsh were also officers of the Connetquot Touchdown Club. In 2002 Bohemia based Jet Away Aviation gave the Touchdown Club a donation to be used to help fund educational programs for the children. This generous donation from Jet Away and the Connetquot Touchdown Club, was turned over to CFAC, and paid all the expenses incurred for the incorporation and not for profit status. A bank account was established and CFAC was officially open for business in March, 2004. CFAC was now operational, but it only had two board members. The next task was to establish a full board of directors, and hold elections. This task was completed in late 2004.
In early 2005, CFAC took the next big step in approving a logo for the organization, setting up a telephone line, printing of stationary and business cards, and developing a web site. The treasury at this point was down to $101.57, so fundraisers and partnerships needed to be developed.
In the fall of 2005, CFAC held the first golf outing and made a profit of $5,000. A process for applying for grants, selection of grants, and pay out of grants, needed to be established. This was completed in 2006 and the grant applications posted on our web site. Also in 2006, CFAC held the second annual golf outing which now enabled us to look into awarding grants. Word was spread that CFAC was accepting grant applications, and in January 2007 almost $10,000 in grants were awarded.
Trying to have CFAC known throughout our neighboring communities, 2007 was the start of two special events hosted by CFAC. The bowl-a-thon and the stage production of Cinderella. These were not meant to be fundraisers for the foundation, but an avenue for the community to get to know who and what we are. Another of these events was started in 2006 and will also continue, and that is a night of baseball with the Long Island Ducks.
CFAC today is now trying to seek out corporate sponsors and local business partnerships to tap into continual funding of our grants and programs for the educational benefit of the children. We hope to be a leader in funding special programs that will benefit children.