Campaign raises $4K in donations to not-for-profit
Anyone doubting the commitment locally owned businesses have for their surrounding community needed to look no further than Phillips Hardware Wednesday, Jan. 26.
There, the STRIDE Adaptive Sports program, a not-for-profit, accepted a donation of $4,000 from the Bethlehem business community, raised in short order through the efforts of Phillips Hardware owner Jonathan Phillips and an advertising campaign in The Spotlight.
STRIDE provides various sporting opportunities for children with special needs, and also participates in the Wounded Warrior program, which provides a wide range of support services to injured soldiers returning home.
This is a very significant amount of money that is going to help a lot of children with special needs and some of the Wounded Warrior projects we deal with, STRIDE CEO Mary Ellen Whitney said as she accepted the check. `I can’t thank the community enough for this.`
Albany County Executive Michael Breslin said he is familiar with the work STRIDE does with the Wounded Warriors program, and was happy to see the group getting the funding it needs.
`I know what they do for the wounded veterans who come back, and I know how much it means to them,` Breslin said.
Altogether, 44 Bethlehem businesses donated money to STRIDE and many bought space in a local business advertising insert distributed with The Spotlight. The endeavor was not only a great way to promote a buy local mentality, but a method of showing Bethlehem businesses are behind the community that supports them, said Phillips.
`We gotta show as businesses we’re not looking to put money in our pockets, we’re looking to help the community,` he said.
Phillips spearheaded the fundraising campaign, along with Spotlight advertising representative Susan O’Donnell. They worked to put together donations and the advertising supplement, accomplishing the task in a matter of weeks.
Phillips said the project was a great step towards organizing local businesses toward a buy local vision.
`My first though is I’d call up [Spotlight publisher] John McIntyre,` he said. `John was behind it 110 percent.`
So was O’Donnell, who made a contribution of her own toward the STRIDE donation. Businesses were eager to jump on board, she said, and not just because it was for a good cause.
`They like the shop local theme. It was a win-win,` she said.
Phillips said he hopes the endeavor blossoms into a regular event, where businesses in town can regularly showcase their appreciation to the community.
STRIDE serves over 1,300 kids, some of whom may travel to reach some of its unique programs like summer camps or skiing classes. Helping these programs (along with swimming, sailing, bicycling, bowling and other activities) are about 350 volunteers, which helps STRIDE accomplish a lot with a little money. Still, since many of the children the group serves need one-on-one or two-on-one supervision, volunteers are always needed.
For more information on STRIDE, how you can volunteer and the group’s community events, visit www.stride.org.“