Hauppauge, NY- At the December 17, 2019 General Meeting, Legislators voted to permanently rename the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum Planetarium in honor of Charles and Helen Reichert. The Fort Salonga couple, whose longstanding philanthropic contributions have made meaningful impacts across Suffolk County, entered into an agreement with the Vanderbilt in 2013 pledging to support the mission and programs at the site through a 20-year donation worth approximately $1.7 million. Their gift marks the largest contribution in the history of the museum by someone who is not a member of the Vanderbilt family.
“I’ve had the privilege of knowing the Reicherts for a number of years and have seen firsthand how their giving has made a difference in Huntington. Their continued generosity and willingness to provide resources to the community and important causes, never ceases to amaze me,” said Legislator William R. Spencer, MD. “With Charlie and Helen’s support, the Museum and Planetarium will continue to thrive and provide thousands of students and visitors with access to the historical and astronomical wonders found right here in Centerport. This is a fitting tribute to a generous and humble family, which I am proud to support.”
Through the years, the IGA grocery store owner and his wife have donated over $4 million to non-profit, public institutions and health facilities spanning from Huntington to Southold, including approximately $1.2 million to Huntington Hospital and $1 million to New York State for the betterment of Nissequogue State Park. In addition, they have donated funds to upgrade the Southold Police communications dispatch center; purchased new uniforms for local public-school sports teams; established a $6,000 annual scholarship for high school students; restored the Old Burying Ground in Southold; and funded the reconstruction of the church steeple at Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church in Northport, among many other things.
“The Reicherts are deeply committed to preserving and improving the quality of life for all Long Islanders. They are shining lights in the community, deserving of this distinction for their widespread support of organizations throughout Suffolk County,” stated Lance Reinheimer, Executive Director of the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum.