Joe Gilette, organizer of the Bergen Beachh, Mill Basin and Marine Park chapter of Relay for Life, sent us a note and some photos of this year’s event, in which they raised approximately $100,000 for the American Cancer Society during their June 7 event.
We recently held our 3rd annual Relay for Life on June 7th. I am proud to say we expect our final tally this [year is] to total $100,000!! We owe a great deal of success to our FIGHT BACK WITH FITNESS program in which we brought volunteer fitness instructors into over 24 schools to hold fitness classes. This was all in furtherance of our agenda of spreading cancer awareness and prevention through the positive message of fitness and a healthy lifestyle.
By comparison, the 2012 Relay for Life event brought in $50,000.
Featuring live entertainment, food, raffles, and a variety of interactive and fun activities for the whole family, community members form teams and walk around Aviator Sports Center’s outdoor track for eight continuous hours, symbolically conveying their message that, until there is a cure, the fight against cancer never ends. It’s highlighted by the Luminaria Ceremony, in which paper bags decorated by neighborhood children are illuminated in memory of loved ones who have passed away from cancer.
The whopping $100,000 total is in addition to the $20,000 the group raised by putting together Brooklyn SINGS!, an inter-school SING! competition that pitted Murrow, Midwood and Madison high school students against each other for a good cause and bragging rights. The events Gilette organizes just keeps getting more diverse. Last year he also helped put together the world’s largest indoor zumba class, with more than 400 people participating.
Keep up the good work for a good cause!
To learn more about the Bergen Beach, Mill Basin & Marine Park Relay for Life, contact Nancy Colt of the American Cancer Society at (718) 622-2492 extension 5134 or visit their website.
The folks over at Tete-a-Tete Cafe (2601 East 14th Street) are teaming up with the Shorefront Y, the Kings Bay Y, the JCC of Bensonhurst and several other organizations to help raise money for area children with special needs.
From now until June 8 – exactly one month from today – the cafe will be donating 50 cents from the sale of every medium-sized latte or cappuccino.
The funds will go towards the Brooklyn Autism Spectrum Disorder Initiative (BASDI) Fourth Annual Walk for Autism, which takes place on June 8 at 11 a.m. along the Riegelmann Boardwalk. The walk helps raise money for free programs for kids diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, helping Southern Brooklyn families who struggle with the financial burden required to meet their kids’ special needs.
Aside from buying some java, you can register to participate in the walk itself ($10), or donate money through the Shorefront Y’s website.
UPDATE (March 26): Organizers have added two more days to the sale: Thursday, March 27, and Friday, March 28.
These are the final days of the Friends of Gerritsen Beach Library’s first spring book sale since Superstorm Sandy devastated the branch in 2012. The library, located at 2808 Gerritsen Avenue, reopened in October 2013.
The organization has been doing book drives and sales for several years to raise funds for the local institution, with profits being used to help pay for programming and improvements at the branch.
So stop by and purchase a book, on either March 24 or March 25. Then you can donate them next year.
Friends of Gerritsen Beach Library (2808 Gerritsen Avenue) is in the middle of its first book drive since Superstorm Sandy devastated the branch in 2012. The location reopened in October 2013.
The organization has been doing book drives – followed by sales – for several years to raise funds for the local institution. They ask neighbors to drop off new or lightly used books, which they then sell off to pay for programming and improvements at the branch.
You should drop off any books between now and Wednesday, March 19. But, if you’ve got nothing to spare, you can always stop by and purchase a book during the sale days, on March 24 or March 25. Then you can donate them next year.
The U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots local drive organized by Councilman Lew Fidler’s 41st Assembly District Democratic Club is again the largest such drive in New York City for the eighth consecutive year, scoring 7,750 holiday gifts for needy and disadvantaged children.
While the number is impressive, an even more impressive number came out of it: 55,430. That’s the number of toys collected in the 13 years since the drive’s establishment in 2001, when they first bundled together just 79 toys for kids.
The event will continue in the future, but it’s the final year that Fidler will preside over it as a member of the City Council. He’s term limited out come January 1, to be succeeded by Assemblyman Alan Maisel. As the event wrapped up, Fidler gazed over the mountain of toys that covered nearly half the floor space of his club from floor to ceiling.
“This is what the holidays are supposed to be about. Not throwing yourself a party, not drinking a lot of egg nog. Helping children, that’s what we do. It’s great to look at this mountain of toys,” he told Sheepshead Bites. “Today was my last Council meeting. Yeah, it’s bittersweet, but at the end you look back and you know you had a good run, you didn’t waste anyone’s time, and I didn’t waste my time, and it’s very gratifying.”
Read more about the event, and see photos and video.
Photo by Erica Sherman
It seemed to be just a matter of time before someone started wondering exactly how the millions upon millions of dollars that flowed in from charitable sources in the wake of Superstorm Sandy actually ended up being spent. And now State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is asking that very question, calling on dozens of charities to open the books on how they’ve spent millions of dollars raised to help storm victims.
Some 40% of about $575 million in donations were unspent as of early April, according to an interim report Mr. Schneiderman’s office released Wednesday.
“It’s essential that both the donations and the distribution process be completely transparent and above board,” Mr. Schneiderman said. He said investigators in his office, which oversees charities, are still collecting information but have already seen suggestions of “serious problems in communication with donors and the distribution of funds.”
Mr. Schneiderman said his office is also interested in finding out how much money raised for Sandy relief actually went to organizational overhead or “non-Sandy” purposes.
In the interim report, the attorney general’s office said that charities and relief organizations that responded to a spring survey said about $238 million remained unspent as of early April.
“We understand that not every dollar can be spent right away, and some causes are best addressed over the long term,” Mr. Schneiderman said.
… In its report, Mr. Schneiderman’s office said that of the 89 organizations it identified as raising funds for Sandy victims or the rebuilding effort, 17 acknowledged that at least some of the money they raised in the storm’s aftermath would be used on charitable endeavors not directly linked to Sandy.
Yaakov Weingarten (Source: vosizneias.com)
A Midwood-based charitable fundraising operation purporting to benefit Israel-related causes was shut down last week, after Attorney general Eric Schneiderman unveiled criminal charges against its operators for allegedly funneling millions of dollars into his own pockets.
The ring, operated out of a call center at 1493 Coney Island Avenue, was lead by Yaakov Weingarten, who, along with two associates, fraudulently raised millions of dollars through 19 separate charities, claiming the funds would go to program in Israel or religious activities, prosecutors say. In many cases, however, the charities never existed, and the funds went to Weingarten and his family’s benefit.
The AG’s press release lays out how the ring functioned, and on what the alleged fraudster spent the money:
As detailed in the complaint, filed in Kings County Supreme Court, more than $2 million in cash was withdrawn from charity bank accounts controlled by Weingarten between 2007 and 2013. At least an additional $350,000 in checks were made payable to cash and more than $280,000 in additional charitable funds was used to pay for mortgages on two homes, including the Brooklyn house purchased in 2009 by Weingarten’s wife, Rivka, which was remodeled with additional tens of thousands of dollars meant for charity. Charitable funds were used to pay for dentist visits, utility bills, for personal vehicles, video rentals and a trip to the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City in July 2011.
… The lawsuit alleges that Weingarten, 52, and an associate, Simon Weiss, 28, used a variety of unusual banking practices to conceal the fraud and transfer funds from account to account and for their own benefit. The defendants’ banking practices were so convoluted that they bounced over 2,100 checks, resulting in over $65,000 in donations being wasted on bank overdraft fees. The complaint further alleges that much of the money raised was funneled through accounts that exist in the names of several religious corporations that Weingarten created for this purpose, rather than to hold worship services or provide religious instruction.
The lawsuit also names Weingarten’s wife, Rivka, 52, who is alleged to have benefited from the charitable fraud. Another defendant, David Yifat, 66, is alleged to have been the office manager who supervised Weingarten’s telemarketing and mail solicitation operation.
Source: Wally Gobetz via Wikimedia Commons
The Brooklyn Cyclones have announced that they will raising moneyfor various Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts, through a new program dubbed “Meaningful Mondays.”
The way it works is that $3 out of every ticket sold at MCU Park (1904 Surf Avenue) on Mondays will go to several charities involved in the recovery process. This will start in July.
According to the press release, each week the “Meaningful Monday” will focus on a different neighborhood affected by the storm. Here is a schedule the press release provided of which neighborhoods will go with which week:
• Monday, July 1 –Coney Island Night to benefit ConeyRecovers.org.
• Monday, July 8 – Gerritsen Beach Night to benefit Gerritsen Cares.
• Monday, July 22 –Nassau County Night to benefit the Nassau Hurricane Recovery Fund.
• Monday, July 29 – Red Hook Night to benefit the Red Hook Initiative.
• Monday, August 19 –Staten Island Night to benefit The Stephen Siller Foundation.
• Monday, August 26 – Breezy Point / Rockway Night to benefit The Graybeards.
Cyclones General Manager Steve Cohen states in the press release, “We hope that through our Meaningful Monday efforts, we can help the countless people still struggling to recover from the storm, recognize the heroes who were leaders in their communities during their time of need, and provide a night of fun and laughter at the ballpark as we all recover from Hurricane Sandy.”
Source: LA Boxing Brooklyn / Facebook
Our friends at LA Boxing of Brooklyn (16 Brighton 11th Street), which will soon celebrate its grand opening, dropped us a note saying that they will host a Women’s Self Defense seminar which will benefit local ladies in need of some butt-kicking knowledge, as well as local charities.
Taught by WEC Lightweight Champion “Razor” Rob McCullough, the seminar will walk attendees through the basics of self-defense. It will take place on Sunday, February 10, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
According to their Facebook page, it’s a free event, but they’re asking for a voluntary donation of $15, which will be given to New York Cares, Chabad of Manhattan Beach and other organizations. Call (718) 975-7100 to reserve a spot.
‘Tis the season for giving, and despite the continued struggles they themselves face after Superstorm Sandy, Southern Brooklyn residents proved their generosity by doling out more than 9,000 toys for last night’s Toys for Tots closeout party at the 41st Assembly District Democrats Club.
Santa’s little helpers paraded around the mountain of dolls, games, books and crafts carrying signs of the toy totals from every year since the drive kicked off in 2001. Without going down even once, the numbers grew from just 79 to a whopping 9,004, unveiled by Mr. Met and Sandy the Seagull, making a 12-year total of 47,680 gifts given to the program.
“There will be 10,000 young people who will get a gift, put a smile on their face, that they wouldn’t have had otherwise. And that is certainly the gift that we have to give on the holidays,” Councilman Lew Fidler told the dense crowd that packed into the small Marine Park clubhouse at 2952 Avenue R.
Keep reading about our community’s generosity, and view photos and video from the event.