Erie Gives in Support of Community
Erie Gives Day was a great success, but donors didn't rally around the Chamber's Boom.
Wow! Nearly $2.3 million in just 12 hours. As ER Managing Editor Ben Speggen said earlier today, yesterday's Erie Gives Day is something to celebrate.
The top-ten recipients include the Erie City Mission, the Women's Care Center of Erie County, and Safenet, the region's domestic violence support shelter.
The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership's bid for fireworks didn't make the cut.
A piece I wrote in this very space not two weeks ago challenged the legitimacy of an organization that would divert charitable funds from legitimate charitable organizations, like the ones mentioned above, to buy fireworks.
Many people rallied around that note. The Chamber did not.
It told other local media that opponents of its fireworks agenda didn't think that the organization should be "in that space," the fireworks space. They clearly missed the point.
We are not anti-fireworks. For that matter we are not anti-Chamber, although it stands as one of the more protected sacred cows on the Erie County farm and should not be above reproach.
If the Chamber had chosen to initiate a campaign -- perhaps in conjunction with Celebrate Erie or any other event -- to bring back the Boom Over the Bay, no one would have thought twice. What an intriguing gesture, in fact.
I've been to many Booms Over the Bay. Each one has been wonderful.
But to intrude upon a day of giving where social services, educational institutions, and cultural organizations receive financial support for programs and services critical to this community seemed poorly timed, at best.
Clearly there is a faction of this community whose insatiable appetite for fireworks cannot be adequately met by the multiple nights of fireworks at Jerry Uht Park, Waldameer Park, or in surrounding communities over the Fourth of July weekend.
But the community of giving spoke out yesterday, dollars in hand, and overwhelmingly voted in favor of organizations in need of the community's support, rather than a few minutes of midsummer light and color.
Kudos, Erie, for keeping your eye on the prize and avoiding the distraction of loud noise and pretty lights. Community karma is on the rise.