The Junior League of Pelham Holds Annual Community Round Table

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On Tuesday, October 13, The Junior League of Pelham gathered 35 community leaders in the newly renovated Pelham Art Center to discuss their organizations’ efforts to succeed in this stalled economy. Darby Dunn, JLP member and President of her own media consulting company, moderated the hour-long dialogue.  The group identified three important factors that can help many Pelham organizations continue their success: 1) Cut costs on fundraising efforts to allow lower ticket prices for events, 2) Patronize local businesses that make significant contributions and 3) Collaborate with one another when it makes sense.  A diverse group of organizations, including the Knights of Columbus and Family Services of Westchester, participated.  Most participants agreed, in this tough economic time, resources are down, but more services are needed. “At Family Services of Westchester in Pelham, we are about to expand services to include a food pantry,” says Deborah Eisenberg, Director of FSW’s Employee Assistance Program. ”There appears to be an increased need to respond to basic needs of families in crisis.” Brian McFarland of the Knights of Columbus also expressed the desire to grow. “We want to expand our membership this year.  In the 1980s and 1990s, Pelham had a very robust council, helping seed the Danny Fund and participating in many fundraising efforts in town.  We’d like to bring the chapter back to those levels.”Although economists claim that the recession is technically over and the DOW has reached 10,000 again, unemployment is still close to 10 percent and home values are not rebounding.  As a result, many organizations are changing the way they fund-raise.  The Pelham Preservation Society held its annual fundraiser at a historic home in town and called on members to plan the event and contribute the food. “As a result of our efforts, almost all of the ticket price can be put toward Preservation Society projects,” explained Maria White, Chair of the Preservation and Garden Society. Recognizing the economic environment, The Danny Fund returned to the site of its original annual fundraisers, a tent on the town green adjacent to the gazebo on Fifth Avenue. “By reducing expenses dramatically, we cut ticket prices, allowing many more of our long-term friends and supporters to join us,” says Mike Daly, president of the Danny Fund. “Attendance actually went up over last year, helping us to hit our fundraising goal.”Organizations are finding other creative ways to cut costs.  “Sending email invitations, like the Junior League did to this Round Table, saves money and is good for the environment,” Emily Freidberg from Pelham Green says. They’re also relying on help from the next-generation of volunteers. Teri Conforti and Prudy Lenhard of the Girl and Boy Scouts, respectively, said that the Scouts are always looking to assist with service projects around town.Rather than make a straight donation to the Danny Fund this year, the Pelham Civic Association purchased gift certificates from local businesses to include in the silent auction and raffles.  “This turned out to be great for all involved–the merchants got business and the Danny Fund got some new and different prizes for its raffles,” said Bob Tracy of Pelham Civic Association.  Community-wide collaboration can also create a success, as demonstrated by PACT’s recent event, “Family Connections. “We needed the entire community to work together for ‘Family Connections’ to be a success.  Everyone–parents, children, houses of worship, schools, local businesses, sports programs–had to buy in to make it work,” explained Alice DeNormadie, Pelham PACT coordinator.  As a result, the event was a hit: local restaurants and caterers offered special discounts, sports programs and schools cleared their calendars, religious organizations held congregation-wide dinners and families ate together.During the Round Table, the groups also discussed plans to coordinate a one-day professional seminar focused on fundraising, recruiting and securing volunteers, and building a membership base.“This annual event means a lot to the Junior League.  We get project ideas to help the community, connect with other organizations and, hopefully, make an impact on Pelham,” explained Virginia Hartmere, President of the Junior League of Pelham.The Junior League of Pelham would like to thank all the groups that participated, and particularly Lisa Robb and the staff of the Pelham Art Center, for their hospitality. The Junior League of Pelham is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Visit for more information.### Press contact: Laura Kalehoff,, 646.345.5370