The 2023 HICO grants were awarded in late June/early July.  The Proposal Assessment Committee (PAC) reviewed 13 applications with requests totaling $134,100.  The 2023 Focus shifted to reflect the uncertain economic environment and the impact of the sharp rise in inflation in food and housing. We want to be a resource for East Enders dealing with hardships across several areas. The PAC awarded eight grants of $5,000 for a total outlay of $40,000.  The award recipients and a short description of their projects follow:

Heart of the Hamptons (HOH)
Heart of the Hamptons is the largest food pantry in the area. The extent of food insecurity and the growth in demand is at crisis proportions. In 2019, HOH supplied 67,000 meals worth of food. Last year, the number was 227,000. This Spring featured the busiest months in their 43-year history. They welcomed 350 new families in 6 months. HOH is servicing over 2,100 households (6,100 people) with most clients of South American descent. The Pantry distributes 3 large bags of groceries each week – 50 lbs and over $150 worth of groceries per family. HOH is clearly sensitive to their client’s needs. They provide more food during the summer months, recognizing free school meals are not available.

Springs Food Pantry
The Springs Food Pantry is meeting the needs of residents who are suffering from huge price increases for food and housing. Seasonal workers as well as lower wage earners are struggling to make ends meet. The reduction in SNAP benefits is putting additional pressure on households. Demand has skyrocketed since the pandemic and the pantry is providing food to cover 275 families (1,000 people) a week. The pantry is looking to expand its food allotment from three to four days. They also face the challenge of providing children’s meals as the Springs School does not have a lunch program. This is a small community that is trying to take care of itself. The goal is to make sure no one goes hungry.

Organization: Southampton Day Care Center
The Southampton Day Care Center operates in a Child Care Desert. There are three times as many children as licensed childcare slots. Childcare allows parents to work. It is part of our infrastructure. The Southampton Center is local, with personnel graduates of our South Fork High Schools and Suffolk Colleges. The below market tuition and the numerous scholarships largely depend upon generosity and grants. Affordable daycare is part of our focus on necessities.

Organization: Hope & Resilience Long Island (HARLI)
HARLI is focusing on the need for safe housing. Domestic and sexual violence is a leading cause of homelessness for women and children and the most pressing concern for survivors. Victims of domestic abuse face considerable obstacles to changing environment including financial dependence, limitations/rules of shelters and trauma. Safe housing programs provide services for survivors and are often the key component of their finding safety and stability. Currently, HARLI’s clients are primarily Latina women with children. HARLI’s grant will enable clients to enter safe housing or stay at home after an abuser has been removed due to a Stay Away Order of Protection.

Riverhead Shelter Volunteer Program
The Riverhead Shelter Volunteer Program is expanding their assistance to residents of the Shinnecock Nation in caring for their dogs. The primary goal of their efforts is Humane Education. They will provide the basic needs of food, shelter, vet care, etc. The larger efforts will be providing the tools needed to create a bonding and loving relationship between dog and owner through their training program. The hope is that both humans and canines will benefit and be enriched by the experience.

OLA of Eastern Long Island
The East End immigration community has little to no access to immigration services. Resources in Western Long Island are not readily available because of transportation challenges, lack of availability and prohibitive costs. These circumstances and barriers leave too many East End immigrants vulnerable and unable to fully participate in civic life. OLA is launching an immigration services program. They have hired an experienced, highly recommended Latinx
immigration attorney. An on-staff attorney will allow OLA to provide free immigration services to low-income documented and undocumented individuals. OLA received one of only four grants from the Further Justice Foundation that covers costs associated with the attorney. HICO funds will be used to help offset the additional costs of providing these services such as application fees, filing fees as well as supporting the attorney’s public presentation on immigrants’ rights and the program’s efforts.

Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreational Center
The Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreational Center applied for support for two impactful programs that reach out to the community and influence our youth. The “Thinking Forward Lecture Series” brings to the East End prominent individuals to help us come together and educate, inspire, and open hearts and minds. The Center believes that getting to know each other, learning about different cultures and coming together breeds understanding. The more we learn, the more we can appreciate each other and our differences. The second program is an “After School Poetry Initiative”. Poetry and Art are portals for deeper self-learning and community engagement. Bringing in visiting artists and writers exposes students to important ideas and visions that align with the Center’s mission.

Maureen’s Haven
In the post COVID environment, Maureen’s Haven has been challenged by sharply rising costs due to inflation, higher costs associated with COVID related changes, growth in the number of homeless and clients’ need for an expanding range of services. The lack of available housing is causing more individuals to seek help. Demands on transportation services have grown. The Winter Emergency Housing Program has more clients and added shelters. Meeting client needs means transportation to health care appointments, job/housing interviews. The same could be said for demands on staff as they function as innkeepers, social workers and client advocates. Maureen’s Haven continues to provide services to those who are currently homeless as well as those facing homelessness or struggling to remain in secure housing. The UUCSF has been a long-time partner with Maureen’s Haven.

2022 HICO Awards

The 2022 HICO grants were awarded in late June/early July.  The Proposal Assessment Committee (PAC) reviewed 13 applications with requests totaling $139,300.  The 2022 Focus shifted slightly to reach out and empower the more marginalized populations of the East End.   It also recognized the continued dislocations generated by COVID which need support. The PAC awarded seven grants ranging from $5,000 to $8,100 for a total outlay of $44,000.  The award recipients and a short description of their projects follow:


The Butterfly Effect Project (BEP)

BEP has launched its Butterfly Action Group (BAG) to guide young adults in generating impactful changes in their schools and communities by bridging gaps, removing barriers, and understanding how government/democracy works. BAG chapters learn to discuss divisive topics such as race, inclusion, prejudices and discrimination with peers.  The goal is to create a “Code of Conduct” for their respective High Schools. Ideally, BAG becomes a forum for students to discuss issues such as offensive behaviors, bullying, misunderstandings resolving them together, rather than resorting to social networks, fighting or via disciplinary actions. A Youth Administer will guide the process with the cooperation of teachers and administrators of three High Schools – Riverhead, Southold and Southampton.


Children’s Museum of the East End (CMEE)

CMEE will restore and support reading fluency in bilingual children K-6 grade. The pandemic has severely impacted these children.  Staff has observed steep declines in reading fluency and comprehension.  The regression of students’ reading, learning and behavioral skills as well as greater inhibitions and a loss of curiosity threaten their long-term educational achievements.  CMEE will expand its summer reading program and recruit additional students in partnership with OLA.  Funds will support an 8-week summer course with mentors trained for basic reading skills and help with emotional needs and anxiety management.  Supplies will be free.


Community Action Southold Town (CAST)

Name Change: Center for Advocacy, Support, Transformation (CAST)

CAST created the North Fork Culinary Program for High School Students not going to college.  The goal is to provide needed skills in the Hospitality industry so that their graduates enter better paying jobs/careers with experience, internships, connections, knowledge and skills.  CAST’s 12-week, 50-hour course is offered in English and Spanish providing essential job-readiness skills.  Program volunteers include chefs, hotel owners, vintners, bakers, aqua culturists, administrative support, etc. Instruction is geared to hands-on experience preparing participants for the real world.  The course also works on the soft skills of employment – resume writing, interviewing, interpersonal communication and time management.


Inspirational Triathlon Racing Int’l (i-tri)

i-tri recognizes that the COVID pandemic is having a significant impact on young adolescent girls.  The grant will address the girls’ psychological needs.  i-tri is working to create a “culture of trauma care and coaching” which will be practiced in the program and integrated into their curriculum.  The funding will facilitate professional development and training for all their personnel via an outside consultant – Center for Healing & Justice through Sport. i-tri’s target audience is particularly vulnerable to negative mental health consequences of the pandemic – depression, anxiety and failure to thrive.  The project supports: 1) i-tri leadership training on trauma care, 2) i-tri small group training to gain feedback and support for trainers and 3) Integration of learnings into their curriculum for the future.


NY LGBT Network

Bullying, harassment and unsafe environments are a constant challenge for LGBTQ students.  This violence leads to negative outcomes as students are more likely to miss school, have lower GPAs, do not pursue college degrees, have lower self-esteem and are a suicide risk. The Network is working to create safe spaces. Schools with Gay Straight Alliance/Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) clubs have reported success in generating a greater sense of belonging to their community and reduced bullying/harassment.  NY LGBT Network will bring it’s Safe School Initiative and Anti-Bullying/LGBT 101 to East End schools.  Aside from increasing knowledge and awareness in the general school population, the program is expected to empower and build leadership capabilities among LGBT youth.  GSA clubs are expected to be formed in six schools.


SEPA Mujer Inc.

SEPA will bring its “Latina Works” project to their Hampton Bays and Riverhead chapters.  Latina Works strives to get equal access to job opportunities and job satisfaction.  Education starts with an awareness of worker’s rights. Enhanced knowledge of one’s rights empowers Latinas to advocate for themselves against discrimination and exploitation.  Common workplace occurrences that are tackled are: combatting wage theft, understatement of hours work, unpaid sick time, racist comments, threat of deportation, unsafe working conditions and not being allowed to apply for higher pay.  Lastly, those most vulnerable are targets of sexual harassment.  SEPA will run their “Know Your Rights and Sexual Harassment Remedies” workshops in Spanish twice a month in Hampton Bays and Riverhead. Additionally, SEPA provides access to job search skill classes to access opportunities and can provide referrals to Suffolk County Department of Labor.


Sound Justice Initiative (SJI)

Justice-involved individuals have a history of being educationally shortchanged.  Even a short stay in jail has adverse consequences on future success.  SJI fills a void in rehabilitation.  Jail terms are for shorter terms (typically under a year) so there are fewer opportunities for education and/or training.  Jails are often a gateway to deeper and more lasting involvement with the criminal justice system.  SJI is providing liberal arts as well as employment and financial skills courses to individuals in Suffolk County jails.  They are breaking courses down into 5- and 15-week segments geared to jail times. SJI is offering individual counseling and programs designed to produce certificates of accomplishments and references.  A more welcoming “classroom” and a more mature student can facilitate education success for individuals left behind by public schools.


The 2021 HICO grant cycle ran from April through the end of July 2020.  The Proposal Assessment Committee (PAC) reviewed 8 applications with requests totaling $73,200.  The 2021 Focus shifted from the immediate dislocations generated by COVID to the populations and needs that have been underserved, excluded and require support. The PAC awarded 5 grants ranging from $5,000 to $7,000 for a total outlay of $31,000.  The award recipients and a short description of their projects follow:

Centro Corazon de Maria (CCDM)

CCDM recognizes the importance of high-quality early education as well as the role of the parent as the child’s first teacher.  They created the program “Madres Protagonistas” (Mothers as Protagonists) last year.  The program addresses the loneliness and isolation of being a single undocumented parent on the East End.  The program provides a stipend to 15 women over the winter months when work is harder to find.  The women’s “job” is to attend parenting skill building classes as well as a program for their children.  Mothers engage in literacy and cognitive skill building activities with the program’s goal to improve access of these children to high quality preschool experiences in the future.  The camaraderie of the participants as well as the identification of early developmental issues in children are important unanticipated benefits of the program.

Hampton Community Outreach (formerly Hamptons Art Camp)

The mental health challenges experienced by young adults post pandemic remains considerable.  There is a scarcity of resources to counsel and treat adolescents as well as a lack of funds to pay for these services.  Hampton Community Outreach has designed a “Youth Mental Health” program that begins with empathy and builds toward a lasting set of behavioral tools. With local school partners they will establish a series of support groups for teenagers and pre-teens to develop positive coping skills, identifying unproductive thought patterns and alleviating isolation.  Well qualified bilingual and culturally competent therapists have been identified to support up to 5 weekly support groups through the 2021-22 school year.

Maureen’s Haven

COVID has been particularly challenging for the homeless.  Maureen’s Haven has realigned many services to better meet the needs of the population.  To get their clients vaccinated, Maureen’s Haven has provided information, education and transportation.  For example, vaccination for the Latino community is being supported by evening/weekend hours at vaccination sites.   Access to medical care is improving with Maureen’s Haven’s ability to transport plus cooperation with local health care providers.  Finally, a “Summer Weekend Lunch Program” was launched as a lack of meals continues despite the pandemic’s impact diminishing.  This grant largely supports the sharp increase in transportation costs that generate positive outcomes of increased vaccinations, health care access and food insecurity.

Southampton African American Museum (SAAM)

SAAM’s objective/goal is to create a “Three Themed Program” educational tool.  The themes are: 1) The Great Migration History, 2) History of the Black Barbershop/Beauty Parlor, 3) The Extraordinary History of Pyrrhus Concer.  SAAM has partnered with many resources including Stony Brook University to expand research.  This grant will help bring a high-tech approach to communicating research/exhibits to the Hamptons.  Creating a more tech savvy personal experience will encourage young people to embrace their history and the contribution of Blacks and people of color to our community.

The Retreat

The Retreat has put together a program to nurture children’s (3–8 year-olds) minds in these turbulent times. The prevention education team created “Getting Along Story Time”.  It initially targeted loneliness and isolation but has expanded to address the critical issues of the value of each individual and the beauty of differences, inclusion and equality.  It celebrates diversity, compassion the importance of developing healthy interpersonal relationships.  The live program uses stories, song and art to convey these powerful messages.  The Retreat will partner with several well-known childcare providers to deliver 20-25 sessions over the year.


The inaugural HICO grant cycle ran from mid-June through the end of September 2020.  The Proposal Assessment Committee (PAC) reviewed 15 applications with requests totaling $330,100.  The PAC awarded 7 grants ranging from $5,000 to $7,000 for a total outlay of $41,175.  The award recipients and a short description of their projects follow:

Organization: Butterfly Effect Project

The Butterfly Effect Project is constructing a Community Garden on the grounds of the First Baptist Church in Riverhead.  In nurturing a working garden, the project encourages food self-sufficiency, skills in gardening, food preparation and nutrition.  They are engaging a racially mixed group of young people and their families by creating a safe place where the community can come together. The overarching goal is to change the dietary choices made by low income families leading to healthier lifestyles.

Organization: East End Birth Network

East End infant mortality rates are some of the highest in NY State.  High mortality rates reflect our profit driven health care system, systemic prejudices and a scarcity of services. There are significant obstacles to obtaining care. The project is a mobile pop-up parent and baby pantry.  The service will mirror a food pantry model with donated baby and maternity items being recycled to underserved prospective and new parents.  “Bundles” for parents will include educational materials and small comfort items to assist through the various stages of becoming a new parent.  The pop-ups will bring resources to minority groups who are disproportionally affected and most at risk. It will support year-round families as they transition through the vulnerable stages of pregnancy, birth, postpartum and early childhood.

Organization: East End Food Institute

The East End Food Institute’s Farm to Community program brings together local food producers and community members in need of healthy food options. The project supports local farmers by purchasing surplus produce.  Locally grown fruits and vegetables will be processed and frozen in their kitchen on the Stony Brook Southampton campus.  The goal is to provide 25 families from the Shinnecock Nation with 5 pounds of frozen packaged food per week for 10 weeks.  Healthy recipes will be provided to extend the nutritional impact.  This is a joint project between the Padoquohan Medicine Lodge and the East End Food Institute.

Organization: East Hampton Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels (MOW) delivers two meals per day to residents of East Hampton who are homebound due to illness, injury and/or the pandemic. Since the start of COVID, MOW has doubled the number of clients served. As winter approaches, this number will no doubt continue to grow. In funding this project, we will be enhancing food security, reducing the loneliness and isolation of seniors and supporting local businesses that supply the meals.

Organization: OLA of Eastern Long Island

OLA works to create a more equitable East End for Latino immigrants.   OLA will partner with organizations, such as schools, non-profits and houses of worship, to create a more expansive and streamlined referral system for mental health services on the East End for Latinx youth. This will include a thorough intake and screening process and will help match clients with timely and needed support. In-person and telemedicine appointments will be made available. This project aims to connect people with the services they need, foster mental health in our community, and decrease the marginalization of the Latinx immigrant population.

Organization: Padoquohan Medicine Lodge

Many homes of the Shinnecock Nation’s seniors have become health hazards due to issues of mold, non-functioning cesspools, poor insulation and persistent leaks. Further, COVID has left many of the Shinnecock Nation’s essential workers without affordable housing. The grant will fund direly needed repairs for elders.  It will start with stabilizing and pumping overworked cesspools and move into providing materials and labor for the most pressing housing needs.  Providing Shinnecock seniors and essential workers with safe, clean and healthy homes is a human right allowing them to live with dignity.

Organization: Shinnecock Indian Nation

The Shinnecock Nation has a significant number of homes without internet or computers.  COVID has made internet connectivity essential.   The grant facilitates the purchase of computers, modems, Wi-Fi access and technical assistance for selected elders. This will reduce the isolation of a vulnerable group.  It will ensure that elders can remain connected with tribal activities, local government, faith communities, telemedicine and social welfare assistance programs.