Tag Archives: fundraising

LIC’s Secret Theatre turns to fundraising campaign to survive


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Orestes Gonzalez

One Long Island City theatre is looking to raise enough money to help keep its doors open.

Richard Mazda, founder of the Secret Theatre, located at 44-02 23rd St., has started an Indiegogo fundraising campaign after having to deal with financial difficulties starting in late 2012.

The difficulties came after the Department of Buildings found the landlord’s certificate of occupancy was out of date, which meant that Mazda had to pay DOB fines, hire architects to get correct permits in place and also move the site’s Little Theatre to an alternative spot in the 23rd Street building.

“We were under the threat of closing one space and just having the big theatre, or closing both spaces and literally calling it a day,” Mazda said. “No matter how hard we tried we couldn’t dig our way out just from our normal thin profit margin.”

Mazda continued to explain that the Secret Theatre breaks even with the money coming in from ticket sales, but to pay for the “unexpected costs” they now had to turn to the community to help cover some debts and also continue offering programs to the community.

The Secret Theatre opened in 2007 and has since produced weekly children’s theatre shows, held classes for students, provided coaching services, and produced in-house and co-produced productions.

“I am comfortable that we will raise a good amount of money,” Mazda said. “I am very moved by the support we are receiving so far and I look forward to being able to thank more people.”

Along with raising the money to pay for expenses, Mazda also said he hopes to bring change to the Secret Theatre and turn it into a nonprofit organization.

The Indiegogo campaign has a goal of $10,000 and will run until Sept. 4.

“At this point in time I don’t think we will close. We are still in trouble, but the reaction from people has been incredible,” Mazda said.

For more information visit secrettheatre.com. To donate to the Secret Theatre’s fundraising campaign, click here.

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Astoria fundraiser to help woman get life-saving treatment


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Maria Messados

You can help Fallon Mirsky fight for her life.

Mirsky, a life-long Long Island resident, suffers from a rare and life-threatening combination of autonomic dysfunction, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, gastroparesis and a brain tumor which has left her weighing about 60 pounds at 32 years old.

“I don’t sleep at all, I’m in constant pain” she said. “I just want to get better.”

With her medical treatments taking a financial toll on her family, leaving them with only enough to pay for a mortgage and food, a fundraising event will be held in Astoria to help raise the funds needed to continue treatments and pay for medications.

On Feb. 27, the Melrose Ballroom, located at 36-08 33rd St., will hold the Fight For Fallon event at 7 p.m. to raise money to help Mirsky pay for a Ketamine coma treatment and multivisceral organ transplant in May in Mexico.

The treatment, which costs at least $10,000, would be a medically induced coma in hopes of restarting her central nervous system and replacing her entire digestive system.

“This is no way to live,” she said. “My life depends on it and I just want to get better.”

Mirksy used to be a competitive figure skater but would fall and break her bones and turn blue. Then in high school she would pass out and have stomach pains but no one knew what was wrong. After various surgeries she was diagnosed with the life-threatening combination of disorders.

Once or twice a week, Mirsky shares her battles and special moments with her pets and loved ones through an online blog.

If you have any questions regarding the fundraising event, which will include an auction and raffle prizes, contact mmessados@qmbrokerage.com. Donations can also be made here.

Youth or adult bracelets, in pink or blue, are also being sold to raise money for Mirsky. To purchase one, email Femirsky@gmail.com.

 

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Politics Aside: Is it time for Liu to step down?


| RHornak@queenscourier.com

As more information continues to spill out about the scandal surrounding John Liu’s fundraising practices, both in his 2009 campaign for comptroller and his current effort to run for mayor, it is becoming clear that his ability to effectively do his job is in serious jeopardy.  That would be the case for anyone in this circumstance, but for Liu, who has never taken his job as defender of the public purse seriously, and instead has only been an advocate for the interests of Big Labor, it is time to resign.

It started last month with a New York Times investigation into some of Liu’s donors, many of whom turned out to either not exist or claim to have never contributed to him. Liu has also neglected to report bundlers – supporters who collect donations on behalf of the campaign from their friends and associates – as is required by law.

These would be serious allegations against any candidate. However, with New York City’s extremely generous program of matching funds, with six dollars of taxpayer money given to candidates for every dollar they raise (the match caps at the first $175 from each donor), this is a much bigger problem, with the implication that Liu’s campaign conspired to commit fraud in order to steal from the taxpayers.

Worse still, many of the irregularities the Times exposed are with Chinese companies from Queens, some who are city contractors where the comptroller has oversight on their agreements. In fact, many of the details surrounding these donations appear shady, from business addresses that don’t exist to contributors who admit their boss made the contributions on their behalf at a company fundraising event for Liu. In most cases, the amounts given were $800 per person.

There appear to be too many cases where the fact patterns are the same for this to be a coincidence or for it all to be the doings of these individual business owners. Short of someone discovering a “how-to” manual for campaign finance evasion, it seems clear that the campaign was complicit in these activities. At the very least, major alarm bells should have gone off with campaign fundraisers (were they truly unaware) that something irregular was going on and an internal investigation should be held before accepting these bogus contributions.

Now one bundler has been arrested, another is being closely scrutinized, and ties to already jailed finance cheat Norman Hsu have been uncovered. But not only is Liu not showing any shame, he claims to be still running for mayor, in spite of these transgressions. He clearly thinks his close relationship with Big Labor bosses, who pumped over $180,000 into his 2009 campaign, will bail him out. If the current investigation into Liu doesn’t sink his mayoral ambitions, let’s hope the people of the city of New York will.

Robert Hornak is a Queens-based political consultant, blogger, and an active member of the Queens Republican Party.