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North Light Asks Manayunk-Roxborough to Dig Deeper

Long-time community center needs more this holiday season.

Manayunk and Roxborough residents can see the services North Light Community Center provides to the community everyday. The Green Lane-based nonprofit offers year-round childcare, tutoring, youth development, arts and recreation, emergency supports, parenting workshops, teen employment, and neighborhood access to technology—just to name a few services.

North Light's Executive Director Irene Madrak says that in order to offer that many services, the community will need to donate more money.

"At this point, our biggest goal is to raise more funds... The recession has affected those we serve, but it also impacted those who give us money," she said. "We always get some community support, but now we need a little more."

In the past, North Light received up to 90 percent of its funding from the United Way. However, that's longer the case. Additionally, other corporate and foundation giving has changed, in that many groups operate now under an 18-month, rather than 12-month cycle—meaning less money to receive.

Madrak speculated that confusion regarding those funding fact and the misnomer that the city provides funding—North Light is a private nonprofit, unaffiliated with any government body—sometimes sways people from donating. 

This year, Madrak and her staff have attempted to make it clear—if North Light doesn't earn $100,000 by May 31, the nonprofit will be forced to reevaluate its services.

"We're asking people to reach a little deeper," she said, adding people can donate year-round.

On its own end, North Light has attempted creative and frequent fundraising options. In Madrak's office lies a pile of file folders, all filled with various money-making ideas.

Last week, the fourth annual Pints for North Light event brought people to the Manayunk Brewery for a spirited donation. The next day, All Seasons Car Wash and Lube donated $1 from every car wash to North Light, with kids from the after-school program drying vehicles.

Additionally, Madrak wants to utilize the large facility by potentially renting space out more ofen and welcoming the community to more events. She talked about hosting weekly bingo games, now that St. Mary's Church closed.

The full-time staff at North Light, she said, has decreased to only five employees. Although more than 708 people volunteered 9,839 hours last year, Madrak said she's running out of staff to organize the help.

Walking around the building, children run around and faces are still cheery. Madrak said that's how North Light should be.

"We're trying to be very positive in our messaging because we don't want people to think it's hopeless. But this is a very real challenge, and we need to get fiscally healthy."

Visit this website to donate to North Light.

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