Photo courtesy Jimmy Van Bramer
By Rebecca Henely

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) gave large chunks of his more than $600,000 in discretionary funding to nonprofits in his district that provide multiple services to needy youth and seniors.

“We delivered more this year that we did last year and I think that’s good for the people of my district,” Van Bramer said.

The councilman — whose district covers Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and parts of Maspeth and Astoria — distributed $638,321 in discretionary monies this year as well as additional funds given on large grants with multiple Council members.

Van Bramer said he was proud that the Council was able to restore $140 million to the Queens Library and the city Department of Cultural Affairs as well as keep open firehouses and avoid any cuts to after-school programs.

“I think that the Council has made some reforms that allow for greater and more meaningful participation of members and I think that there’s a lot of discussion and debate,” he said of the discretionary funding process.

The Jacob Riis Settlement House, which runs programs for public housing residents in western Queens, received the largest amount of funding from Van Bramer, with $70,250. The money will fund a program to serve sick seniors with limited mobility as well as after-school and summer programming for young people.

“It is a remarkable organization that is worthy of our support and I know delivers quality programs and services to the people in Queensbridge,” Van Bramer said.

The councilman also gave grants for similar programs run by Sunnyside Community Services Center, Woodside on the Move and the East River Development Alliance. The Sunnyside center received $40,000 for its after-school, work readiness and college readiness programs.

Woodside on the Move, an organization that runs a variety of programs and events in the neighborhood, also got $40,000 in multiple grants for its housing assistance program for seniors, English classes, business support services and local entertainment events like concerts and street fairs.

ERDA, which serves residents of the Queensbridge, Ravenswood and Astoria public houses, received $36,975 for programs to help seniors better manage their finances and other issues, as well as a program to help young residents apply for and succeed in college. Van Bramer said he was the proudest to fund the college program.

“If we are serious about breaking cycles of poverty and allowing young people with big dreams a chance to succeed in life, then we’ve got to work with the young people whose families maybe don’t have the same financial resources as others,” Van Bramer said.

The YMCA of Greater New York also received $50,714 for a Little League-type program. The councilman said the YMCA’s league not only gives kids a way to be healthy but also teaches them sportsmanship and teamwork.

“They do great work with the young people,” Van Bramer said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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