Tax season may be behind them, but the team at Bohemia-based Cerini & Associates isn’t coming up for air just yet: after tax season comes Imagine season.
Six years ago, this full-service accounting firm, under the leadership of Managing Partner Ken Cerini, introduced the Imagine Awards to the Long Island nonprofit and business community. The program has quickly gained momentum. This year, the program received 177 applications and on May 1 will bestow awards on five nonprofits, recognize an additional 15 finalists, and bring over 400 Long Island business leaders together for an evening to celebrate and elevate the Island’s vibrant nonprofit sector.
Considering that servicing nonprofit organizations is a marquee component of Cerini & Associates’ DNA, it’s fitting that its visionary founder, Ken Cerini, first had an epiphany for the Imagine Awards about 15 years ago. “Things weren’t in the right place then, but six years ago, the pieces fell into place. The sector needed it,” Cerini recently told Campolo, Middleton & McCormick Managing Partner Joe Campolo, who stopped by to catch up in the hectic weeks before the event. “The NFP world can find itself in a tough spot with a storm happening due to changing government regulations, cutbacks in funding, and an increase in the demand for services – so we were looking to create a silver lining. We want to make sure the business community sees the work these organizations are doing.”
The Awards are a way of giving back to a sector that exists to give back, recognizing nonprofits in the categories of Social Impact, Innovation, Rising Star, Leadership, and, for the second year, Arts & Culture. “Collaboration is key to keep the not-for-profit sector vibrant,” Cerini explained. “The Awards encourage organizations to work together by educating them and the business community about what other organizations are doing.” Winning organizations (initially vetted by the Awards Committee and ultimately selected by a panel of high-profile judges whose identities are revealed at the event) receive a monetary prize, exposure, a professional promotional video, and opportunities to collaborate after the Awards on panels and other events.
This year, News 12’s Doug Geed will emcee the program, which raises funds through sponsorships and ticket sales. “The money we raise is then reinvested into the event and the community,” Cerini said. “Imagine, coming from the John Lennon song, is symbolic … Imagine is what nonprofits do every day; Imagining how to make a difference, change lives, and make Long Island a better place.”
Cerini & Associates’ mission to shine a much-needed spotlight on the nonprofit sector mirrors their relentless pursuit of value for their clients, which include not only major nonprofit organizations (C&A is one of the top 10 accounting firms in the New York metro area serving the nonprofit sector) but also the education sector (public school districts as well as private, special education, and charter schools) and for-profit businesses in the healthcare, technology, real estate, and construction industries. The firm, with four partners and about 50 employees, is known for its efforts to educate and provide training for their clients through seminars and publications. Not surprisingly, their clients become their ambassadors, accounting for the firm’s organic growth over the past 25 years.
CMM Live host Joe Campolo will welcome Ken Cerini to the show on May 15 for a special episode focusing on the nonprofit sector. We’re excited to hear more from this innovative leader who saw a void in the nonprofit world and filled it with an extraordinary event that empowers organizations to maximize their impact.
Joe Campolo of Campolo, Middleton & McCormick and Ken Cerini of Cerini & Associates compete in Ken’s dungeon-themed office. Next photo: Intricate designs adorn the door, chairs, and walls of Ken Cerini’s office. Who said accountants are boring?
A look at Ken’s sword collection. Next photo: Joe Campolo will welcome Ken Cerini to a nonprofit-themed episode of CMM Live on May 15.
Kim Roffi, a partner at Cerini & Associates, smiles in anticipation of the end of tax season! Next photo: At Cerini & Associates, employees are encouraged to personalize their workspaces.
Fun and games: jerseys and sports memorabilia line the walls of the office.
Imagine Awards materials past and present. In only six years, the Imagine Awards program has become a must-attend event woven into the fabric of Long Island. Next photo: Registration closes soon for the Imagine Awards! Don’t miss out – head over to http://ceriniandassociates.com/long-island-imagine-awards/ for tickets.