The Community Chest has selected Nancy and Jim Cowles as the 2013 Citizens of the Year, for their contributions to the Port Washington community. They will be honored at a ceremony to be held on Monday, May 19, 2014 at 7:30 p.m., at the Port Washington Public Library. The Community Chest’s Citizen of the Year Award recognizes “a lifetime of outstanding volunteer service on behalf of the citizens of Port Washington” and has been awarded annually since 1969. The Citizen of the Year ceremony and reception are free and all members of the community are invited to attend.
“We are pleased to honor Nancy and Jim, individuals whose commitment to Port Washington has been extraordinary,” said Neil Lazar, president of Community Chest. “Both Nancy and Jim have always worked to improve the quality of life for all in our Community and personify the Community Chest’s motto of The People of Port Helping the People of Port. We invite the Port Washington community to attend this wonderful event honoring the Cowles, on May 19th.”
Nancy and Jim Cowles have been tireless volunteers in our community for decades. A retired school psychologist, Nancy volunteered as a tutor in reading, ESL and learning disabilities programs, and served on boards of many community and school organizations including a child guidance association, and student loan and scholarship committees. She headed a committee that developed a comprehensive special education plan which was implemented in the Port schools. Nancy, a past president of the Community Chest, has held several positions in the League of Women Voters, and is a member of Schreiber High School’s Diversity Committee, the Sons of Italy and Pride in Port. In 2003, Nancy was selected for the North Hempstead’s Women’s Roll of Honor.
Jim, an architect, utilizes his skills assisting local non-profit organizations including the Community Chest, with their building needs. Currently, he is a member of the Port Washington Police Department Building Committee. As a coach for PYA Jim inaugurated the first soccer team which allowed girls to play. Jim was a member of the Board of Directors of RFMBPW and belonged to the Rotary Club for twenty three years. As its President, he implemented social programs for the developmentally disabled; raised funds for local agencies and hosted a foreign exchange student. In 1990, he was made a Paul Harris Fellow, the highest honor a Rotary International Club can bestow.
Each served nine years as a Trustee, Vice- President and President of the Port Washington Board of Education. Nancy chaired several Board committees, and was the Board’s liaison to the Advisory Committee on the Landfill, the Town of North Hempstead’s Port Washington Visioning Committee, Parents’ Council and the Safe Drug and Alcohol Free Task Force. Jim was a liaison from the Daly HSA to the Board and was appointed several times to serve on various Board of Education Citizens’ Advisory Committees. As a Board member Jim worked to improve special education programs, initiate Title IX practices, and establish the first computer and PEP programs.
The Community Chest of Port Washington enables nonprofit organizations to achieve successful outcomes. It raises money from individuals and companies and then distributes grants to nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving the lives of Port Washington residents. In 2014 grants are being awarded to 26 nonprofit organizations that provide a wide range of services. The Community Chest also provides office space at below-market rates to nonprofit organizations to help them achieve their missions.