Port Washington 5k Winter Run

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    The Community Chest’s annual run to fundraise for Port Charities


    On Saturday, March 25, the Port Washington 5K Winter Run will be held at North Hempstead Beach Park. This is the fourth Winter Run hosted by the Community Chest of Port Washington, a non-profit grant-making organization that provides funding to charities that benefit Port Washington residents.

    Runners are encouraged to participate in the race and join the post-race party with food and drinks. Awards are given to the top three finishers overall (male and female), male/female and top male/female in different age groups.

    In 2022, the Community Chest brought the Winter Run back as the Winter-Spring Run after COVID-19 put the event on pause. The Community Chest moved the run to April in 2022 and followed all state and federal guidelines related to COVID-19. While everything worked out well this year, the run has moved back to late March with a party in a heated tent at Beach Park.

    The heated tent for the post-race party will be set up in the Beach Park parking lot. Live music will be performed by Stella’s Basement. Food donated by local restaurants and beer by Greenport Harbor Brewing Company will be served. According to a press release from the Community Chest, “Greenport Harbor Brewing Company will be bringing its special small-batch created just for the race, treating participants to several unique and delicious brews.

    Age-eligible participants will be given a color-coded wristband and those under age 21 will not be allowed to drink beer.” Friends and family of the racers can join the post-race party for a donation of $20 per person.

    2020 Winter Run group shot. (Contributed by the Port Washington Chest)

    The money raised by the Winter Run goes toward the grant funding that will be announced later this year after the interview and review process. The Community Chest will meet with and interview local organizations to discuss its mission, programming and future.

    “We look for a number of things,” said Bobby Keller, Executive Director at the Community Chest of Port Washington. “Most importantly, we are looking for terrific organizations that have programming that’s going to change the lives of people here in Port. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing that we do.”

    In addition to the organization’s purpose, the Community Chest makes sure the applicants are fiscally sound and well-managed. Through the application process, the organizations are reviewed and vetted by the B and A Committee, the Budget and Allocation Committee.

    “Every application is reviewed by each member of that committee,” said Keller. “The great thing about that committee is these are all residents of Port Washington who have been living here for many years. These folks know the organization, they know the town and they know its needs. So this is very different than most foundations, which receive applications for grants but don’t necessarily have that depth of knowledge of what this community needs. And I think that’s what makes us so unique.”

    In 2022, the Community Chest awarded $324,000 in grants to local non-profits in the Port community. Twenty-six non-profits received the grants, including the Littig House Community Center, Port Washington Children’s Center, Residents Forward, The Safe Center LI and The Nicholas Center. The grants are given out to organizations that help serve the vulnerable and less fortunate community members and families in Port.

    “All of our grant-making really reflects the needs of the residents of our community who need help,” said Keller. “Even when we fund something like the PAL (Port Athletic League) or the soccer club (Port Washington Soccer Club) these grants essentially function as scholarships to help to make sure that kids whose parents couldn’t normally afford to pay for such things can participate.”

    From the left; Christine Patti of Northwell Health, Town of North Hempstead
    Supervisor Jennifer DeSena and Community Chest President Drew Hershkowitz participated in the 2022 race. (Photo from Anton Media Group Archives)

    The registration fee for runners and donations from sponsors fund the grant-making program. This year, the Community Chest has a new way to contribute called the Booster Sponsor. Individuals and families that would like to sponsor and participate in the event can pay $250 and receive one registered racer form in addition to getting their name(s) added to the Scroll of Honor on the Community Chest website.

    In addition to the Community Chest’s 5K Winter Run, it hosts an annual Golf Outing in May, the Manhasset Bay Kayak Run in July and the Thanksgiving Day Run. All of these annual events raise funds for the Community Chest’s grant-making program.

    “We’re so grateful for the support that we have from so many people in our community,” said Keller. “This year our event sponsor is, once again, the Peter and Jeri Dejana Foundation. We’re really grateful for their continuous help.”

    Major support for the Winter Run is being provided by the Peter and Jeri Dejana Foundation. In addition, the current list of sponsors includes BakerAir, Greenport Harbor Brewing Company and Harding Real Estate. For information about sponsoring or participating in the Winter Run call the Community Chest at 516-767-2121, or email info@portchest.org
    To register for the run, tax-deductible fees are $60 for adults and $35 for those under 21. Timing and place based on chip time calculated by FLRRT and posted at the finish line and at FLRRT.com

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    Julie Prisco is the editor of the Port Washington News. She graduated from SUNY Albany in the Spring of 2021 with a degree in English and Journalism. PHONE: 516-403-5155 EMAIL:jprisco@antonmediagroup.com

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