54 LONGISLANDPRESS.COM • DECEMBER 2019
ACTS OF KINDNESS
UNITED WAY OF LI
A CHAMPION’S FAREWELL
Elizabeth “Betty” Eberhardt started
working as a secretary at United
Way of Long Island in 1975, took on
many other roles over the decades,
and became one of the most valued,
respected and loved colleagues.
Now, as United Way of Long Island
celebrates its 55th anniversary,
it’s also saying goodbye to its most
tenured staffer. Eberhardt, now
assistant vice president, is retiring
next summer after 45 years with the
local nonprofit, an affiliate of the
“Many people leave their organizations
because they want to
change the job they’re doing,”
says Eberhardt, whose career has
included roles in the media relations,
fundraising, and allocations
departments. “I’ve been blessed
to be able to do that within one
It is with near certainty that Eberhardt
is one of the longest-serving
United Way employees in the nation.
“Betty’s commitment to our mission
is unparalleled,” says United Way
of Long Island President and CEO
Theresa A. Regnante.
Over the years, Eberhardt has seen
the need for financial assistance
fluctuate as recessions come and go,
and witnessed the agency’s growth.
This includes forming initiatives
in response to the emergence of
HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and building
healthy, efficient and sustainable
housing of late.
Chief among her accomplishments
was starting the precursor to the 2-1-1
helpline that connects those in need
with the nonprofit’s many assistance
programs. When the service started,
it was just Eberhardt answering the
phone. 2-1-1 Long Island has since
grown into a 24/7 operation with a
call center and online database that
collectively get hundreds of thousands
of requests for help annually.
“Betty made a major impact on all of
the people she touched,” says Ronnie
Renken, a United Way of Long Island
board member who started volunteering
for the organization in 1976.
“Her main concern has always been
the people of Long Island."
John Renyhart, senior vice president
of marketing for the nonprofit
in the ’80s and ’90s, recalls that
Eberhardt also helped start the
heating assistance program Project
Warmth, which is now entering its
“She is very good at connecting
United Way with larger projects,”
he says. “The organization is fortunate
to have had her expertise for
nearly five decades."
As Eberhardt prepares for retirement,
she’s just happy to have had
a chance to help.
“The most rewarding task is being
a small part of helping families in
need,” she says. “That is very personally
Betty Eberhardt at a United Way
of Long Island event.
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