An Unlikely Pair Make for Record-Breaking Fundraiser in Support of Queens Neighborhoods
November 2, 2018
QUEENS, NEW YORK (October 29, 2018) – Nearly 300 people filled the Museum of the Moving Image on October 23 to hear what 76th Secretary of the Treasury, Jacob Lew, and the New York Mets Legend, Edgardo Alfonzo, have in common.
Turns out both are die-hard Mets fans, both humbly dodge the national spotlight, yet work hard behind the scenes, and both hold a special place for Queens in their hearts.
The two were honored at Queens Community House’s Strengthening Neighborhoods Inspiring Change Gala, which annually highlights individuals who make a difference in lives of Queens residents.
Jacob Lew served as White House Chief of Staff for President Barack Obama from 2012 to 2013 and was chosen by Obama to serve as Secretary of the Treasury in 2013, a position he held until 2017.
Robert Lindsay, Chairman and Co-founder of Lindsay Goldberg and nephew of former New York City Mayor, John Lindsay, introduced Jacob Lew and made reference to the Forest Hills Controversy of the early 1970’s that was caused by his uncle’s proposal to build public housing in the class middle-class Queens community. In his acceptance speech, Lew acknowledged how the Forest Hills controversy went on to shape his social values, both locally and on Capitol Hill:
"I came of age in Forest Hills in those turbulent years. I watched the neighborhood rip itself to pieces over something that in my household was seen as a good idea. There were community leaders and religious leaders who said, ‘You have to stand up and say what you think is right, even if there are loud voices around that think otherwise.’ I’m glad that Bob’s uncle stuck to his plans. [The development, provided] not just critical housing to people of all ages and all ethnicities, but also a home for a great organization that’s now providing such critical services, not just in Forest Hills, but throughout Queens.
“Whether it’s the needs of young children or seniors, whether it’s helping people learn leadership skills or having the meals that they need, it’s organization like Queens Community House that take the big city, which can be a difficult place, and make it a community that people can live in and thrive in.”
LaGuardia Airport General Manager Lysa Scully introduced Edgardo Alfonzo, recognizing the former all-Star and Latino Baseball Hall of Famer for his “skill, humility, compassion and tremendously professional demeanor on the field” as well as for being a role model for countless youth in New York. And, she noted, “He’s chosen to make his home here in Queens, to give back and make Queens a better place.”
Alfonzo’s acceptance speech included a thank you to his extended family, who were visiting from Venezuela.
“Queens Community House helps a lot of people who are struggling, and so this award is very important to me. I would never have thought the work that I’ve done would be recognized off the baseball field…Over the years, I’ve played for many teams, but tonight, I realize that I’ve been playing for a different kind of team my whole life. I play for the communities and neighborhoods. I play for the families that struggle to pay rent. I play for immigrants like me who’ve come to this country to make a better life. Everyone here tonight is on this team. We all make a difference in this borough. And we have to continue to support QCH and the amazing work that they do.”
The event raised more than $500,000, of which $50,000 was raised during the Silent Auction and “Live Ask,” led by Jennifer Wright of Christie’s.
Gala sponsors were: Lindsay Goldberg, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Chase & Co., Citi, Ray and Barbara Dalio, Lamb Insurance Services, M&T Bank, Morgan Stanley, AllianceBernstein, Harry Ballan, Barclays, Capalino + Company, Cowen, Davis Polk, Desimone, Flushing Bank, Forest Hills Stadium, Jacobs, The Port Authority, March Construction & Consulting, Nixon Peabody, OTG, Barry F. Schwartz and Belinda Lerner, and WeWork
Proceeds from the gala will support QCH’s mission of providing individuals and families with tools to enrich their lives and build healthy, inclusive communities. The nonprofit annually offers 25,000 Queens residents a much-needed support system at every stage of life.
Queens Community House (QCH) is a multi-service settlement house serving more than 25,000 children, youth, adults and older adults every year. Our mission is to provide individuals and families with the tools to enrich their lives and build healthy, inclusive communities. Through a broad network of programs operating out of 32 sites in 14 neighborhoods, we offer Queens residents a needed support system at every stage of life, helping them to develop the knowledge, confidence and skills to change their lives for the better and become active participants in their larger community.
Jennifer Weil, Communications Coordinator
Queens Community House
108-25 62nd Drive Queens, NY 11375
Office: (718) 592-5757 x 249