OHEKA Castle

Huntington Foundation Preps for New School Year

The 2018 Huntington Foundation gala will return to OHEKA Castle.

July 21, 2017

The Huntington Foundation for Excellence in Education is well into planning what it expects to be its most spectacular fundraising gala ever.

While the 2018 Spirit Award honorees won’t be known until the fall, Huntington Foundation President Alice Marie Rorke has announced the organization will be returning to enchanted OHEKA Castle on Thursday, March 15 for its annual bash. The evening is expected to draw a crowd of more than 300 to the famed Gold Coast estate.

As the Huntington Foundation turns its full attention to the new school year, Mrs. Rorke said the organization is excited to be working with incoming Francine Nastasi, who will be interning with the group that has raised and donated more than $1 million since its founding. Senior Abigail Fernandez will also be interning with HFEE and focusing specifically on planning and executing the 25th annual gala.

The Huntington Foundation’s Youth Board for 2017/18 will include Alyssa Befumo, Rachel Moss, Katerina Obermeier, Casey Moskowitz, Zach McGinniss and Naomi Ponce.

The organization plans to mail its annual newsletter to all district residents in mid-August. The publication will feature the Huntington Foundation’s remarkable efforts to enhance the classroom experience for students on every grade level.

Huntington parent Nancy Lundell came up with the original idea for an educational foundation in 1993. She pulled together a group of people, including fellow district parents Beverly Wayne and Elliot Levine, an attorney who performed the legal work necessary to formally create the organization’s corporate structure.

That small group of parents, along with several others, began meeting in the superintendent’s conference room in what was then the administrative wing at Woodhull School. It was from those meetings that the Huntington Foundation for Excellence in Education emerged, becoming a non-profit organization in 1994, with formal bylaws, a logo and a board of directors.

In addition to Mrs. Lundell, Mrs. Wayne and Mr. Levine, the original directors included Diane Kirchner, Tom Webster, Susan Agolia, Paula Schneider and Susan Jouard. The first fundraiser was held on a Sunday afternoon at the old Coco’s Water Café on New York Avenue in Halesite, currently the site of Prime.

The original volunteers devoted enormous amounts of time to the organization, helping to insure its long-term success. Since 1994, the Huntington Foundation has donated more than $1 million to the district in grant monies and equipment.

The Foundation is a not-for-profit organization. Its annual report may be obtained upon request from the Foundation (P.O. Box 552, Huntington, NY 11743) or from the Office of the Attorney General, Charities Bureau (120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271).

Huntington Foundation President Alice Marie Rorke and gala chair Kimberley Steinberg. (Cliff Weissman photo.)
Huntington senior Abigail Fernandez will help to plan the Huntington Foundation's annual gala.
Huntington senior Francine Nastasi is interning with the Huntington Foundation.
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