Fostering a future of hope for those in need on Long Island

By Domenick Graziani and Karen Polise

L to R: Government Relations Manager Belinda (Bel) Pagdanganan; Sylvia A. Diaz PhD, LMSW, Suffolk County Community College Foundation’s executive director and Keith Rooney, Director of Customer and Community Management for Downstate, New York)

National Grid made a $10,000 gift to Suffolk County Community College’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund. The fund provides critical financial assistance to students at the college who’ve been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, the fund has supported more than 550 students.   

The emergency aid has helped students facing financial hardships – 95 percent of whom are now unemployed. Many students have also lost healthcare coverage and are facing food insecurity challenges.  Several have also lost parents, grandparents or other loved ones.   

“As a College Trustee, a member of the College Foundation’s Board of Directors and an employee at National Grid, I’m so very proud of this partnership and the promise it represents for these students,” said Belinda (Bel) Pagdanganan, Government Relations Manager. “National Grid and Suffolk County Community College are two wonderful, compassionate and caring institutions committed to providing our neighbors with support during these difficult times.” 

Our donation will provide students with direct support to help keep them enrolled at the college and provide some financial assistance for basic needs while they study remotely. 

“We enjoy a long and collaborative relationship with our colleagues at National Grid,” said Sylvia A. Diaz, PhD, LMSW, the College Foundation’s executive director. “The company’s generous support comes at a time when our students are suffering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re thankful and appreciative for National Grid’s dedication and commitment to Suffolk’s promising students as they face hardships along their pathway to success.” 

Help for Hope House Ministries 

L to R: Two Hope House Ministries residents with Government Relations Manager Bel Pagdanganan, Charlie Russo, Chairman of the Board, Hope House Ministries and Keith Rooney, Director of Customer and Community Management for Downstate, New York

For 40 years, Hope House Ministries, a not-for-profit, community-based ministry based in Port Jefferson, NY, has provided residential and counseling assistance to thousands of adolescents, individuals and families in crisis. In addition, hundreds of schools throughout the state have benefited from a Wellness Seminar which educates students, teachers, school administrators and parents in understanding peer pressure, drug and alcohol abuse and teenage suicide. 

Hope House Ministries depends on the generosity of private contributions, fundraising events and corporate donations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the dollars they typically rely on from agencies and restaurants have waned as the crisis grew.     

“The generous $10,000 donation from National Grid will go towards feeding 60 residents currently living here,” said Charlie Russo, Chairman of the Board for Hope House Ministries. “The treatment we provide to individuals who struggle with drug and alcohol addictions is paramount to their rehabilitation and well-being. This donation could not have come at a better time.” 

Over the years, Hope House has helped thousands of individuals who’ve completed the program to lead productive lives.   

At 75 percent completion, The Garden of Hope is being built by the Academy residents. Charlie Russo, (center) talks to Keith and Bel about the importance of the garden and the healing power residents will feel as they tend to its care and upkeep


Outdoor Grotto where services are performed for residents and the community

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