Residents group to honor 2 Port residents

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Port Washington residents Jennifer Rimmer and Laurie Scheinman will be honored during Residents For a More Beautiful Port Washington’s 2016 Gala on April 8.

Rimmer and Scheinman are two of the community’s most respected civic leaders and are recognized for their extraordinary energy and commitment to strengthening Port’s collective quality of life, Residents For A More Beautiful Port Washington Executive Director Mindy Germain said.

“Every year, the Residents gala recognizes very deserving individuals and businesses. But, Jen Rimmer and Laurie Scheinman are exceptional in their devotion to continually bettering Port Washington and beyond. They truly are trailblazers,” she said.

Port Washington boasts an impressive list of people who are considered visionary and dedicate a good deal of their time to bettering our community. Yet few have the level of energy, foresight or devotion as Jennifer Rimmer and Laurie Scheinman,” Director of Development Lisa Grossman added.

The gala will be held at Leonard’s of Great Neck. The theme, “Destination Port Washington,” is designed to reinforce awareness, excitement and pride in all that Port Washington offers for Manhattan day-trippers as well as community residents who might not be taking advantage of Port Washington’s many amenities, Germain said. 

“The extensive contributions that Rimmer and Scheinman have and continue to make to the Port Washington peninsula underscore the intent of this year’s event theme,” Germain said.

Rimmer moved to Port Washington 20 years ago and has been an active member of Residents For A More Beautiful Port Washington, which is a volunteer membership organization dedicated to sustainable growth by protecting the environment, enhancing the quality of life and increasing awareness on the entire Port Washington peninsula. 

She started as a volunteer, and then served as executive director from 2000 to 2007 where she later became a board member and chairs the Model Blocks committee. She is currently director of strategic initiatives and sustainability for AECOM, a Fortune 500 global integrated infrastructure firm. 

Rimmer has been a leading voice for sustainability, planning and economic development in Port Washington and the New York region. 

As the first sustainability officer in New York State, she held senior positions at Sustainable Long Island, Nassau County and New York State’s Empire State Development Corporation. 

Rimmer joined the Women’s Roll of Honor for the Town of North Hempstead in 2004, was recognized as a Trailblazer by Nassau County, and received New York State’s Woman of Distinction Award and Diamond Award from American Council of Engineering Companies for an AECOM project.

During her tenure at Residents, Rimmer has led many important projects benefitting the environment and quality of life in Port Washington. 

Some Residents’ projects include establishing Baywalk, creation of the Port elementary schools’ environmental education programs, the Port Washington visioning process, and the passage of the Main Street overlay zoning and Main Street revitalization initiatives. 

Rimmer serves on the Village of Flower Hill Planning Board, co-chairs ULI’s Infrastructure Council and serves on the boards of HorseAbility and the Long Island chapter of the League of Conservation Voters. She is a member of the Energeia class of 2010, NYS-Long Island Regional Economic Development Council’s Environment and Infrastructure Working Groups, the 3rd Track Task Force and an Advisory Committee Member for the Long Island Index.

She received her Bachelor of Arts from the College of Wooster and a masters in city planning from the University of Pennsylvania. 

She lives in Port Washington with her husband David Rimmer and college-aged daughters, Amy and Caroline Rimmer.

Scheinman, who’s also honored, has been a child and family therapist for almost 30 years, and decided on a whim in 2012 to open wit & whim, a philanthropic gift boutique in Port Washington. 

Scheinman said she refers to the boutique as “the little shop with the big heart” and donates 100 percent of the profits to a different local charity each month. 

“Her store is also extremely generous with donations of raffle and auction gifts for the many charitable events that take place in Port Washington each year,” Germain said. 

The shop carries one-of-a-kind modern, vintage, handcrafted and Americana goods curated with care by Scheinman.  

“Her business model is simple, give and then give some more,” frequent customer of wit & whim and Scheinman’s close friend Liz Kase Johnson said. “Her heart is every bit as big as her mind and imagination. Laurie is an inspiration to entrepreneurs and philanthropists alike.”  

Wit & whim has received national recognition as one of Home Accent Today magazine’s 50 Retail Stars for 2015 and by 1010 WINS radio as one of New York’s 50 best small businesses. 

This past December, Scheinman hosted a “Hands Across the Water” holiday window display initiative. She encouraged participation from 80 elementary schools and senior citizen centers from around the globe to help with the window decorations. 

Scheinman provided seven-inch wooden gingerbread figures for participants to decorate and send back to her. She also invited participants from the Port Washington Senior Citizens Center for lunch in her shop and to see the display. 

Germain said Scheinman is also a great supporter of local artists, and host events and art exhibits to display their work.  

Aside from managing wit & whim and continuing her work as a therapist, she is also a benefactor and member of the Board of Advisors of the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution at the ILR School at Cornell University.  Scheinman is also a consultant to the Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth Network, where she helped organize the first gay PTA in America and served as its first co-president.  

She is also member of the original creative team that developed the Long Island Children’s Museum “Tot Spot.” 

Scheinman serves on the board of directors of the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce and is a Lion Benefactor for the UJA Federation, for which she also frequently lectures for a parenting series. In 2015, she became a May Newburger Women’s Roll of Honor inductee. She and her husband Marty Scheinman have lived in Port Washington for more than 17 years, having raised their five now grown children in the community.

For the first time, the Residents gala will also honor individuals who have demonstrated exceptional devotion to the Port Washington community. 

The 2016 Community Service award honoree will be Barbara Faticone, who is busier now with her omnipresent volunteer work than when she was raising three children and working full time. Chuck Idol will receive this year’s Environmental award based on his leadership role in the ongoing fight to ban pentachlorophenol, a known carcinogen, from being used to preserve Port’s wooden utility poles.    

For information about Residents’ annual gala or to become a member, make a donation or volunteer for an event, call 516-767-9151 or email info@pwresidents.org.

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