A Brief History
Through the efforts of the Lake Ronkonkoma Civic Organization, in March 2010 New York State Governor, David Paterson, signed legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Ginny Fields and Senator Brian X. Foley officially designating Lake Ronkonkoma as an inland waterway.

Concurrently, Suffolk County Legislator, John Kennedy, reconvened the Lake Advisory Task Force, consisting of representatives from the three municipalities that border Lake Ronkonkoma (Suffolk County, the Towns of Brookhaven, Islip, and Smithtown), New York State, the Ronkonkoma Chamber of Commerce, and the Lake Ronkonkoma Civic Organization.

It was proposed at the May 2010 meeting of the Task Force that a intermunicipal organization be formed (consisting of the County of Suffolk, and the Towns of Brookhaven, Islip, and Smithtown), and a non-profit organization be created to apply for grants that would now be available through the State inland waterway program, and seek other sources of funding to achieve the mission stated above.

The Foundation was incorporated in early 2011 and in late 2012 began to operate as a corporation exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The four municipalities eventually developed an Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed in 2015, thereby creating the Lake Ronkonkoma Watershed Intermunicipal Organization (LRWIO). The LRWIO consists of the County of Suffolk, and the Towns of Brookhaven, Islip, and Smithtown, and whose agreed upon goal is to promote health, economic development, recreational use, preservation of natural habitats, cultural resources, quality of life, sense of place, and water quality by working collaboratively and proactively to address issues affecting Lake Ronkonkoma. Through the LRWIO the Towns and the County also recognize that the protection of water quality conditions in Lake Ronkonkoma is best achieved through a coordination of efforts between the Partners to create and administer a watershed management plan. As of July 2016, the LRWIO has yet to hold its first meeting.


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The Foundation’s Objectives and Purposes
To achieve our mission, the Foundation will:
  • Strive to promote, protect, encourage, and advance interests, activities, and projects that will improve the Lake and the surrounding areas;
  • Coordinate and promote cooperation between the four municipalities that border the Lake, the County of Suffolk, the Towns of Brookhaven, Islip, and Smithtown, and other private groups on environmental, recreational, beautification, and other programs to improve and preserve the Lake and the surrounding areas;
  • Coordinate and work with the Lake Ronkonkoma Watershed Intermunicipal Organization (LRWIO);
  • Affiliate with any other town, county, state or national organization for such purposes as may be consistent with the objectives and purposes of the Foundation;
  • Receive voluntary contributions and seek other sources of funding and to do all other things lawful, necessary and appropriate to effect the same.
As a non-profit organization, the Foundation does not participate in, or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office.

Foundation Committees
Experts are essential in helping the Foundation meet its mission to preserve and protect the Lake Ronkonkoma watershed as a pristine legacy for future generations.
The Foundation has created
committees to help direct the course of the Foundation and make recommendations to the Board of Trustees.
Participation is open to all; there are no residency requirements and no dues or minimum donation is required to volunteer.

Managing the Foundation
The general supervision, management, and direction of the Foundation is delegated to a Board of Trustees. The Board and its Trustees are understood to act as fiduciaries with regard to the Foundation, and their duties include, but are not limited to, the duty of care, loyalty, and obedience.
It is the goal of the Foundation to select Board members with a diverse set of talents, experience, and competencies that will best fulfill the mission and needs of the Foundation.
The Board has a minimum number of seven Trustees and the roles they perform reflect the priorities of the Foundation: President, Vice-president, Treasurer, Secretary, Audit Secretary, Outreach Secretary and Grants Secretary.
Trustees do not receive any compensation from the Foundation for his/her services and there is no paid staff.
The Ronkonkoma Lake Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing, preserving and protecting the quality of Lake Ronkonkoma, its adjacent water bodies, and its surrounding watershed through the promotion of responsible, effective environmental and educational programs.
Our mission is to preserve and protect this regionally unique resource as a pristine legacy for future generations.