In the midst of the "worst of the worst" times for nonprofits, the United Way of Long Island Thursday unveiled a new resource center designed to give Long Island's nonprofits a boost.

The Long Island Capacity and Optimization Tank, located at United Way's Deer Park headquarters, will focus on the business side of nonprofits, such as fundraising, marketing and technology.

Theresa Regnante, president and chief executive of the United Way of Long Island, said while nonprofits get donor support for their programs - such as running an animal shelter or providing mental-health services - they don't often get resources to develop business plans or gain a broader donor base.

"Infrastructure for the nonprofit sector is critical in order to advance their mission work," Regnante said.

Housed in a bright yellow room filled with two computers, a projector, and other equipment, the tank's services will be free to Long Island nonprofits of all sizes. Staff at the United Way, as well as 20 volunteer consultants including those from the Long Island Center for Nonprofit Leadership at Adelphi University, will provide the help and advice. Bank of America provided a $125,000 grant for the program.

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The Tank began operations Thursday with a seminar on creating fundraising events during the economic downturn.

"We are in the worst of the worst times for nonprofits," said Richard Dina, a United Way board member. "This is an investment in the nonprofit community. It's giving us a little bit of light . . . [during] a difficult time."