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Nonprofit gets $25G for environmental education

Amy Engel is executive director of Sustainable Long

Amy Engel is executive director of Sustainable Long Island, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance economic development, environmental health and social equity on Long Island. Credit: Handout, 2011

A Farmingdale-based nonprofit announced last week that it has received a $25,000 grant for research and community education about local environmental issues. The Long Island Community Foundation awarded the funds to Sustainable Long Island, which will use $15,000 and pass $10,000 onto two other organizations.

Sustainable Long Island researches disparities in the occurrence of health problems by geographical location, said Amy Engel, the organization’s executive director.

“For instance, if a particular community, especially a low- to moderate-income community, had really high rates of asthma, and you compared them to other areas of the county and you saw that they were particularly high, then that’s an environmental justice issue,” Engel said.

The grant will help “enhance our research and enable us to dig deeper into some of those disparities,” she said. An example would be higher incidences of asthma next to an incinerator. Their research gives community members data that they can take to policymakers when they seek to address health impacts, she said.

The organization will pass on $5,000 each to two partners: Choice for All in Roosevelt and the Long Beach Latino Civic Association.

Long Island Community Foundation executive director David Okorn said his organization gives out about 80 grants a year, totaling $1.6 million, to help improve life on Long Island. Okorn said that the grant to Sustainable Long Island is to help educate people about environmental justice issues.

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