By Kathianne Boniello
At a time when most Queens nonprofits are struggling and government funding has been drying up, state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) has secured $350,000 for four of the borough’s community groups to share.
The four organizations reaping the benefits of Padavan’s work are the Bayside Historical Society, the Queens County Farm Museum in Floral Park, the Alley Pond Environmental Center in Douglaston and the Queens Botanical Garden in Flushing.
Last year’s state budget left little room for funding nonprofits, and these groups were forced to reduce programs and/or lay off staff members, Padavan said.
“These institutions enrich the lives of Queens residents,” Padavan said in a statement. “I was concerned that after the austerity budget was adopted and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, we wouldn’t be able to provide funding for them.”
Of the $350,000, the Bayside Historical Society will get $135,000, the Queens County Farm Museum will net $100,000, APEC will see $90,000 and the Queens Botanical Garden will get $25,000, Padavan said.
“In a time of significant reductions in government contributions to not-for-profit organizations and a time when those organizations have seen private donations drop dramatically,” Padavan said, “these grants are necessary for the viability of these organizations. I am certain that the quality of the programs we’ve come to expect from these groups will be maintained as a result.”
Padavan added, “Hopefully now, programs can be restored and positions filled to return these four organizations to the status they previously enjoyed as cultural jewels. The educational programs and cultural opportunities they provide are world class.”
Amy Fischetti, executive director of the Queens County Farm Museum, said “this grant will allow us to restore most of our horticultural program, the number of tours we conduct daily and some educational staff positions that were eliminated last year.
“Without Sen. Padavan’s ongoing commitment to the museum, we couldn’t provide the number and/or the quality of programs that we do. For that, we thank him,” she said.
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.