Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House, Long Island
Robert Weitzner has recently been appointed the Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park, shortly after leaving his job as a Certified Financial Planner at Sagemark Consulting.
“I had just become more committed to bettering the community and wanted to do more,” said Weitzner, who also serves as the Mayor of Port Washington and fundraises for the non-profit Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington. “My strengths lie in helping the community.”
As Executive Director, Weitzner manages the non-profit organization, which helps families of children suffering from illnesses at nearby Schneider Children’s Hospital. “It’s a home away from home,” for many families who want to be near their children as they are undergoing treatment, he said, and Ronald McDonald House’s job is to give the families as much comfort as possible.
Families from as nearby as Queens or Suffolk Counties or as far away as China stay at the recently expanded House to be with their child while he or she is undergoing treatment. While there is a suggested $25 donation to stay at the House, it is not mandatory and the House “does not deny anyone” who needs a place to stay for as long as the child is in the hospital, Weitzner said.
This year, the House is celebrating their 20th anniversary and has further plans to improve the facilities for the residents and add more playgrounds, said Weitzner.
Weitzner, his wife Jane and two children, Rachel 8, and Scott, 11, live in Port Washington North. He has lived there for 21 years and been its mayor for three. While mayor, he has received over $2 million in grants for the improvement of Port Washington, and hopes to be able do as much good for the House as he has for Port Washington.
His most recent neighborhood project is to begin recreating a half-mile of waterfront and a pier in Port Washington for residents to enjoy. In 2005, he was awarded a Vision Long Island Smart Growth Award for Open Space and Waterfront Preservation.