As part of its coverage of the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, yesterday Al Jazeera published a story about the destruction the Ali Forney Center’s Manhattan headquarters, which staffers found devastated by chest-high seawater. But Al Jazeera says that the public’s reaction to Ali Forney’s plight was one of the few “feel-good stories” of the storm. And that good feeling was due in no small part to you, the readers of JMG.
The response to the Ali Forney Center’s story was like nothing it had seen before. The center receives between $250,000 and $500,000 in donations each November and December, the holiday donation season. But in the first 36 hours after the post on Joe.My.God, the center received more than $100,000 in donations. Soon, the total was $400,000. In all, the center received about $1 million in donations right after Sandy, Siciliano says. It remains unclear how much of the bounce was specifically motivated by Sandy or how much of it was because of the center’s elevated profile. A year later, Siciliano is still unsure why or how the center received that level of attention. “We became hot,” Siciliano says. “It was like we were the hot charity for like two months and that had never happened to me before. I didn’t know what that was like.”
The story goes on to note that Ali Forney Center, which has suffered cutbacks in contributions from the state and has not yet seen any FEMA money from the storm, is still struggling for funds. But I will forever be grateful for the fantastic way you beautiful people stepped up after Hurricane Sandy.