News Around the House

Announcing The Ronald McDonald Family Room At Stony Brook Children's Hospital

The Ronald McDonald Family Room ("Family Room") will be an extension of The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island ("RHM-LI"). The Family Room will be located in Stony Brook Long Island Children’s Hospital ("Stony Brook") and is scheduled to open in 2013. The Family Room will provide families of children undergoing medical treatment a place to rest and relax right at the hospital. The Family Room will have many of the comforts of home to help alleviate the anxiety of being in a hospital environment while being just steps away from their child's beside.

The Family Room will provide families an area of respite where families can spend quiet time together, engage in private conversation, enjoy a beverage and a snack, or even freshen up with a shower. The Family Room will be equipped with a fully- stocked kitchenette, a dining area, a comfortable sitting area with a large flat screen television, laptops with internet access, a private shower, lockers for storing personal belongings, laundry facilities, and a transportation van.

The Family Room will be staffed from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week and is offered at no cost to the families. See Family Room section for more information.


New Ratings for LI Nonprofits

by Bernadette Starzee
Editor's Note: The following article appeared on Long Island Business News.com, Mar. 2, 2012

Charity Navigator (CN), a popular tool designed to help donors decide which nonprofit organizations to support, changed its rating system last fall. Previously, the ratings only took the organizations' financial health into account. Now, Charity Navigator also looks at a nonprofit's accountability and transparency in assigning one to four stars.

Based in Glen Rock, N.J., nine-year-old CN rates more than 5,000 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that have annual revenues of more than $1 million, and public support of more than $500,000. Serving more than 3.3 million unique visitors to its website, CN claims to affect more than $10 billion in charitable donations each year.

When CN 2.0 was released last year, about 600 organizations nationwide lost their four-star status. Only half that many - about 300 - moved up to four stars. But there was an 8 percent gain in the number of charities rated three stars or better, and overall, more charities went up (30 percent) than down (19 percent). About half stayed the same.

"Not surprisingly, the agencies that have their act together - that have their governance in order and are transparent - went up, while others suffered in the ratings," said Ken Berger, president and CEO of CN.

On Long Island, 16 nonprofits gained at least one star; the Hauppauge-based American Lung Association in New York took the largest leap, from one star to three. Five Long Island charities saw their ratings drop, including Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Center in Huntington and Long Island Teen Challenge in West Babylon, which lost two stars apiece. Another 17 nonprofits on the Island retained the same rating.

Recent changes to IRS Form 990 facilitated CN's upgrade, Berger said, noting the form now asks for more information about how an organization is run, which makes that information more accessible. In its evaluation, CN also reviews organizations' websites.

The company investigates, among other things, the independence of the board; whether there is any diversion of assets away from the nonprofits intended purpose; whether audited financials are prepared by an independent accountant with an audit oversight committee; whether loans are made to board members, officers and staff members; whether there are privacy, conflict-of-interest, whistle-blower and records retention-and-destruction policies; and whether donors can readily access information about the charity's finances, leadership and donor privacy policy from the charity's website.

United Way of Long Island's rating climbed from three stars to four when CN 2.0 was released. "The four-star rating is important to us - we mention it on our website and on our annual report," said Julie Robinson-Tingue, vice president of marketing and public relations for the Deer Park-based nonprofit. "I believe these ratings are very important to donors."

Ronald McDonald House of Long Island also gained a fourth star with the release of CN 2.0. "Especially in an unstable economy, donors are being more proactive in researching which organizations to support, and I believe Charity Navigator and GuideStar are credible third-party rating systems that help us earn and keep our donors' trust," said Matthew Campo, executive director of the New Hyde Park charity.

GuideStar, which published its first report on charities in 1996, provides information on more than 1.8 million nonprofits. Long Island Cares - The Harry Chapin Food Bank in Hauppauge also gained a fourth star with the release of CN 2.0. While the vote of confidence from CN is nice, it's not everything, said Robin Amato, director of development and communications for Long Island Cares.

"We have an excellent mission, we have been in business for 32 years, we have Harry and everyone knows us and the work we do," Amato said. "We haven't noticed any impact on donations from going from three stars to four."

Amato added the organization wasn't very concerned with its previous three-star rating from CN. "We were rated highly on GuideStar and with the New York Philanthropic Advisory Service of the Better Business Bureau and we had a very good understanding of those rating systems, but we weren't as familiar with how CN did its ratings," she said.

According to Berger, reaction to CN 2.0 has been largely positive. "The vast majority of our users are thrilled to see a whole other dimension," he said. "A charity isn't just about the financial story. If you don't have the right practices in place - for instance, if there is no whistle-blower policy or no conflict-of-interest policy - there's a better chance the nonprofit will run into problems."

But some donors have taken a "Coke Classic" approach to the matter. "Some of our users are not happy with the change - they just want to focus on the financials," Berger said.

CN is in the process of adding a third dimension - nonprofits' results - to its ratings and expects to roll out CN 3.0 over the next few years.



Met Oval Foudation Proudly Promotes RMH-LI

Jim Vogt, President and Founder of the Met Oval Foundation generously donated space on his youth soccer teams' home and away uniforms, including their jerseys and warm-up tops to raise awareness for The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island (RMH-LI). The Met Oval Foundation's goal is to train youth soccer athletes for various levels of play. The RMH-LI logo will be present on uniforms worn by U-16 and U-18 soccer players in the United States Soccer Federation Youth League. The players will compete across the country, covering New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Boston, Connecticut, Florida and Texas. "My hope is that we can help spread the word about RMH-LI not only on a local level, but on a national level as well," Vogt said. "Philanthropy is very important to me," continued Vogt. "It is up to us to instill these values in our kids today, as they are our leaders of tomorrow."

Met Oval's youth teams have had substantial success with the help of their coaches, who work year-round to prepare them for college and National team play. They are scouted for the Olympics, World Cup teams, colleges and international club teams. Approximately 60 players will be wearing the logo during their travels.

"Our partnership with the Met Oval Foundation provides us with a unique opportunity to spread the word about our mission on a greater level," said Matthew Campo, Executive Director of RMH-LI. "The exposure resulting from this partnership will help us continue to serve families of seriously ill children from all around the world," he continued. "We are honored to be recognized by such a prestigious athletic organization and feel privileged to welcome 60 new ambassadors to our family."

About The Met Oval Foundation:
Founded in 1925, the Metropolitan Oval is the oldest continuously used soccer-only facility in the United States. Metropolitan Oval provides a year-round "soccer-only" training facility in place with top quality playing surfaces, lighted field, and an all-weather field turf - an environment through which players at Met Oval can reach their full playing potential. The Met Oval Foundation consists of seven youth teams ranging from under-11 to under-18.

The Met Oval Foundation's mission is to provide a unique opportunity for youth from underprivileged urban areas in New York to participate in our soccer programs; to encourage good sportsmanship; to encourage teamwork; and to learn the necessary skills to play competitive youth soccer throughout the United States & internationally.To provide exceptional youth soccer players with a challenging program that will offer opportunities to compete in national and international competitions, with a goal that these players will gain exposure to enhance their opportunities to further their development as student athletes at the collegiate level.

To learn more, visit www.metoval.net.

Click to see a report

Click here to view the congratulatoryletter to the House from Ken Berger, 	President and CEO of Charity Navigator


Brilliant Brainstorming Results in a Homier House

A collaborative effort between RMH-LI and the Judith C. White Foundation facilitated the installation of new television units in RMH-LI's 42 bedrooms. By merging two brilliant development teams, an intense brainstorming session resulted in allowing RMH-LI to proceed with the project by receiving Coby television units for each room at wholesale price, in addition to a generous donation from DirecTV to defray the cost of upgrading the House's service. With the growing number of families in need and the recent expansion of Cohen Children's Medical Center, the JCW Foundation's support will help families de-stress after an emotional day at the hospital and make RMH-LI feel even more like a home-away-from-home.