Geraldo Rivera has made it through five episodes of “The Celebrity Apprentice,” where he has raised more than $700,000 for Life’s WORC. And the nonprofit is thanking him on an enormous billboard hanging above Times Square.
The electronic billboard, which is currently running at Broadway and 47th Street , is telling people to watch Rivera as he raises money for his charity Life’s WORC on the reality TV competition show.
The shoutout is thanks to Life’s WORC Executive Board Member at Large Rick Del Mastro who owns the billboard, according to the agency’s Assistant Executive Director of Development and Public Affairs Matt Zebatto.
“It’s a significant amount of money [that Rivera has won] and it’s giving us national recognition,” Zebatto said.
Established 44 years ago by The Queens Courier publisher Victoria Schneps with help from Rivera, Life’s WORC, which is based in Garden City, provides services to some 1,400 people with developmental disabilities in eastern Queens, Nassau County and western Suffolk.
Since Rivera has raised $740,000 for Life’s WORC through “Celebrity Apprentice” so far, Del Mastro and the agency wanted to show their appreciation.
“How did you do this?” a thankful Rivera said upon learning about the billboard.
They are also planning on using the billboard soon to thank individual donors, who have given money during fundraising challenges on the show.
On the Jan. 12 episode, where as team leader Rivera raised $294,780, one donor wrote him a $99,999 check.
Life’s WORC hopes Rivera’s appearance on “Celebrity Apprentice” not only gives the agency national recognition, but also gives it “some breathing room in its budgeting and finances since New York State has been economizing, reducing funds available in the developmental disabilities field,” said Janet Koch, Life’s WORC executive director.
The nonprofit is opening a 10,000-square-foot Family Center for Autism next to its Garden City headquarters this April, which will have 60 programs for autistic children and their families, according to Zebatto.
“Geraldo’s winnings will enable Life’s WORC to serve more people in its Family Center for Autism,” Schneps said. “Our new building will forever be a center of excellence with superbly qualified staff to provide desperately needed programs.”
“The Celebrity Apprentice,” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on NBC.