Location: Old Bethpage, NY
Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development
Family Residences & Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE) supports more than 4,000 individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental illness and traumatic brain injury. “FREE embraces the philosophy that all individuals can lead happy and productive lives,” says Dara Gary, vice president of strategic partnerships and business development.
Fun Fact: A large real estate firm purchased $20,000’s worth of artwork from FREE’s program. It is currently displayed at the firm’s main office.
FREE has several traditional fundraising programs, but also embraces more unusual events, such as art auctions, polo matches, culinary functions and a boxing-centered “Fight for Charity.”
With more than 28 years of experience in nonprofit finance, management and administration, Gary says she has been instrumental in promoting FREE’s growth. Among other initiatives, she has worked on a solar energy project that is providing savings, and a compressed natural gas facility that will provide filling stations for 40 buses and the general community.