Bob Read Memorial Fund Aids Families Struggling in Pandemic

bob read
Robert B Read. (Courtesy United Way)

Following Bob Read’s passing in January, the veteran broadcast journalist’s family has established a fund to provide Long Island families affected by Covid-19 with financial assistance.

During his 30 years at Inside Edition, Read served as senior producer for its investigative unit and as managing editor. The West Islip native won numerous awards for his skillful reporting, including the George Polk Award and the National Press Club Journalism Award.

“Bob Read was much more than just a first-class journalist,” wrote the newsmagazine’s staff in a statement on Read’s death. “He was a mentor and dear friend to so many of us at Inside Edition.”

Read tested positive for Covid-19 in December. After passing, he left behind a wife and two children. With more than 80 million adults in the U.S. struggling to pay all their expenses during the pandemic, the Robert B. Read Memorial Fund, through United Way of Long Island, helps families with children as well as seniors afford basic needs and essentials.

“United Way is local and independent so we’re able to be very responsive to whatever crisis is happening that we can respond to,” said Theresa Regnante, president and CEO of United Way. “The Read family gave us the ability, through the generosity of their friends, families, and colleagues contributing to this fund, to make more of an impact.”

The fund, which has already raised more than $40,000, expects to help at least 50 families with emergency financial assistance. Half the money in the fund will go towards these families and the other half will be put into an endowment to support more families in the future. United Way of LI works with more than 100 organizations that submit requests for those in need of aid.

Currently, the need for assistance on Long Island is extensive, according to Regnante. The group receives 20 to 30 new reports of families struggling financially every day, which may be due to unemployment, loss of a loved one, or seniors suffering from chronic health conditions who are isolated in their homes during the pandemic.

“During such a devastating time for our family, knowing that Bobby’s fund will support others has truly been our greatest comfort,” said Bob’s widow, Michele Riordan Read. “The man who would do anything to help another will continue to do so forevermore.”

Sign up for Long Island Press’ email newsletters hereSign up for home delivery of Long Island Press here. Sign up for discounts by becoming a Long Island Press community partner here.