By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – Fulfilling the unmet financial needs of groups, events and activities within the city that local government and other non-profits can’t provide is the intent of the recently formed Allen Park Citizens Civic Fund.
APCCF President Kurt Mazag said the group formed from the members of an advisory committee that met several years ago, formed by the city financial manager, which at that time held a town hall meeting.
“The town hall took citizens from all over Allen Park, including business members and government folks,” Mazag said. “Just pretty much everyone who had a stake in Allen Park.”
The group came up with a plan, listing what Allen Park needed in upcoming years.
After the plan was adopted by the city, the advisory committee had served its purpose.
“But there were a few of us who felt that the city – even though they adopted the plan – was not able to fulfill all the aspects of the plan,” Mazag said.
Mazag said it was understandable, because the city was just coming out from under financial management.
“We finally had a balanced budget, and (the city) didn’t have the physical resources or the financial resources to make it all happen,” Mazag said.
He said the group continued to meet, and it looked around and found some 501(c)(3) organizations in the city that were narrow in scope.
“We thought why not have a 501(c)(3) that is broad in scope, general, so that we can cover anything that we feel we can help, and put that plan into action,” Mazag said.
The group was incorporated as a non-profit by the state of Michigan on Nov. 23, 2015, and granted 501(c)(3) status by the federal government Dec. 23, 2015, which gives businesses, individuals and organizations a way to make tax deductible contributions that support cultural events, recreational activities, projects and clubs.
Councilwoman Gail McLeod, APCCF secretary, said the group also can qualify for grants that are not tied to federal, state or county allocations.
Members are currently meeting with business, community and athletic organizations, and city entities, to introduce the organization and to develop valuable working relationships, she said.
“Our website and Facebook page will inform citizens of upcoming events, programs and volunteer activities,” McLeod said, “and provide organizations with a pool of volunteers.”
“There is virtually no organization or group in Allen Park that we might not be able to assist, ranging from flower and tree plantings, to sports activities and park improvements,” she said.
“We will be more than happy to do the funding if you have an organization that needs assistance, maybe in doing a fundraiser,” Mazag said. “Talk to us about it. Maybe we can help.”
Anthony Couls serves as treasurer. Remaining directors are Mary Lou Provost, Ellen Templin, Raymond Tessier, Mary Wallace and Rhonda Yoder.
APCCF will host an inaugural Pizza, Wine and Beer Tasting 6 to 9 p.m. July 14 to benefit city parks. Held at the Allen Park Community Center, 15800 White St., tickets are $25 if purchased by July 7 and $30 at the door. Attendees must be 21 and older.
Tickets are available at Top Shelf Liquor, 6660 Allen Road; Bella Pizza, 6709 Allen Road; 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria, 23117 W. Outer Drive; and Liberati’s Italian Deli & Bakery, 7607 Allen Road.
To order by mail, send a check or money order, with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Allen Park Citizens Civic Fund, P.O. Box 997, Allen Park, MI, 48101.
For more information about the APCCF go to allenparkccf.org or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at email@example.com.)