Long Island Regional in jeopardy??

Taken from the local newspaper, NewsdayNewsday. Take this for what you wish, but I’m worried about it.

Robotics Contest in Jeopardy

A robotics competition that has attracted the interest of dozens of high schools in the region is in jeopardy, organizers say, due to a shortage of corporate sponsorships.

“We are far behind in our fund-raising pace of last year”, said Fred Breithut, president of the School Business Partnerships of Long Island and coordinator of the robotics contest. “Many leaders of our local business community have told us that their budgets are tight this year as the result of business concerns about the economy.”

Forty-four student teams are to compete this year in the regional competition, which will be March 14-16 at Suffolk Community College. Students who design the winning robot are to go on to a national event in April.

So far, Breithut’s group has raised about a quarter of the more than $200,000 needed to fund the event, although several companies such as FESTOand Verizon have pledged major donations. The national robotics competition, known as FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was organized in 1989 to interest teens in science and engineering. Breithut may be contacted at 631-692-2962. - Hildebrand

While this could be a really underhanded way of gaining for sponsors our the local competition… I don’t know. I’m worried.

Maybe Christina can add what she knows to this - we didn’t want to say anything unofficially, but since the cat’s out of the bag, I’ll share what I know.

We are having a ton of trouble scrounging up money for this thing, and it’s really stressing Mr. Breithut out. He’s been contacting every team on the Island, trying to dig up sponsorship where ever he can find it.

Long Island doesn’t have the benefit of some of the larger corporations that sponsor FIRST, like Motorola, or NASA, or General Motors. So, because of that, we all have to work a little harder at fund raising.

I don’t know if I’d say things are ‘in jeopardy,’ but money is real concern right now. Of course, while I don’t agree it’s underhanded, I think Mr. Breithut went to Newsday as a way of attracting attention to SBPLI and the regional.

Okay, I’ll tell you what I know, but I’m not sure if I’m at liberty to tell you everything that I know. I am on the Long Island FIRST Regional Development Committee as well as the Board of directors of SBPLI (School Business Partnerships of LI). I talk to Fred Breithut all the time. And, to be totally honest, we’re having serious problems funding out regional. And, I do believe we are at the point where we can say the regional is in jeopardy. We need about $200,000 to get the regional, and this is for a minimal, bare bones regional. As of right now, we have $65,000. Yeah, we’re in lots of trouble. We’ve had a lot of companies (ie Computer Associates and Nortel Networks, to name a couple) pull out this year because of the economy. Computer Associates was the second largest contributer to FIRST teams behind NASA. Fred Breithut isn’t one to beg for money. This year though, he has to. Which is why I believe that got out into the press, we need the money. And, I’m assuming he did that to try to get some kind of recognition in hopes that someone will donate to us. But, all that was said is true, so I’m not sure if you can really call it underhanded. At least, no more underhanded than advertising for a company or charity event. We’re very very behind comparitively to what we were doing last year. I hate to say it, but there is the possibility that LI may not be able to host a regional. And I really hope it doesn’t come down to that. But, we’re definitely in trouble. I don’t really want to worry everyone about it, but since it was brought up, I might as well put in what I know. I’m really hoping we get some sponsors and quick, 'cause I’ll be very upset if the LI Regional doesn’t happen.


Ah, my apologies for insinuating it might be underhanded.

A quick question, though. While we are signed up for other regionals, if other teams are signed up only for Long Island and it is indeed called off, is there a way to get them entry into another regional instead (maybe NYC, Hartford, or New Jersey)?