The Lynbrook Excellence in Education Foundation has partnered with the Chamber of Commerce with a goal of fostering business growth in the community while supporting future education endeavors for students in the village.
“The education foundation is about not only the funding, but boosting the community,” President Ivy Reilly said. “We want to bring the community together through the support of education.”
Reilly represented the foundation and met with the chamber at Village Hall on March 12, just before coronavirus concerns in Nassau County escalated. At the meeting, they discussed a partnership in which the foundation would host shop local campaigns, and in turn, businesses would donate some of their profits to the cause.
“This is a win-win,” chamber President Stephen Wangel said.”Job markets are too competitive for our kids not to be equipped with the tools for a great education. This will also make the community aware that their local merchants and professionals support their efforts, and in turn, should be supported by the community. Once we have all the details worked out, I will encourage all of my members to participate in this program.”
During the March meeting, Reilly informed the chamber that the foundation raises money and awards grants for worthwhile student programs that are not funded in the district’s budget. The chamber board supported Reilly’s goals, and Harry Levitt, the owner of Mur-Lee Men’s and Boy’s Wear on Atlantic Avenue, said he was impressed by the foundation, but expressed a desire to raise awareness for the business community’s support of the programs, Wangel said.
Reilly said they decided it would be best to make the partnership a “two-way street,” in which both entities support one another. Though the coronavirus pandemic has paused talks on what the future of the partnership may hold, Wangel and Reilly expressed optimism for a successful relationship between the two entities in the future. As a show of support, the chamber board unanimously voted to donate $500 to the cause.
Reilly said that once businesses open again, the foundation hopes to create an event similar to the “Amazing Race” television show, where people are tasked with going to different stores on scavanger hunts or to complete an activitiy as a way to generate foot traffic for local businesses. During events like that, the business owners would then donate a portion of the proceeds to the foundation. She said she also hoped to foster partnerships with individual businesses.
“How can we help each other?” she said. “We’re not just looking for something. These businesses are very generous, but we want to do something to give back.”
Reilly said amid the pandemic, the important thing now is to focus on families staying healthy and supporting one another through such a difficult time. She added that it will be even more vital to support local businesses when they return to full operation.
“We need these stores to stay open,” she said. “We know what it looks like when stores close and that’s not what we want. Many of these businesses are run by Lynbrook families.”