Flushing Town Hall challenged to raise money

By Kevin Zimmerman

Flushing Town Hall needs help with its latest financial challenge.

An anonymous donor has pledged $35,000 to the Queens cultural institution provided it can raise the same amount on its own.

The money would be earmarked for general operating support.

“That is the most difficult kind of funding to get,” said Ellen Kodadek, executive and artistic director of Flushing Town Hall. “Most people like to fund programs. They say, ‘I want to fund a children’s program.’ Nobody says I want to fund your insurance bill.”

But without money to pay the bills and cover the payroll, there would be no programming, said Kodadek. About two weeks ago, one of Flushing Town Hall’s board members presented the challenge to the rest of the directors.

The donor is described as a supporter of the arts.

“Flushing Town Hall is a hidden gem which will shine more brightly with the support of those who have enjoyed its performances and programs from across the globe,” said the donor through the board member. “I truly believe in this institution — and I hope that this challenge will motivate others to open their wallets and hearts, thereby enabling this gem to be brighter than ever, enriching the culture of this diverse community.”

“This is the first time we have received this kind of grant,” said Kodadek. “And the only stipulation is, it needs to be new money, or an increase in what someone is already giving.”

For example, she said, if an individual currently donates $500 a year that amount would not count toward the challenge. But if that same person ups the gift to $700 this year, the additional $200 would be placed in the challenge pot.

Naturally any money presented by a first-time donor would all be counted toward the challenge, she said.

Flushing Town Hall has until the end of February 2015 to raise $35,000 in order to receive the donor’s match.

Without much publicity about the challenge the money already has started to flow in.

“We are just thrilled,” said Kodadek. “We got our first online donation. It was a new donor, who pledged $1,000.”

And Kodadek wants to ensure potential donors that pledges do not need to be four digits, or three, or even two for that matter.

“I don’t want people to be scared off,” she said. “The Statute of Liberty was restored by people sending in pennies.”

You can find a link to donate at flush‌ingto‌wnhal‌l.org/‌35cha‌lleng‌e.