By Jerry Del Priore
An unlikely pair joined forces on October 23 at Queens Community House’s Strengthening Neighborhoods Inspiring Change Gala — which annually highlights individuals who make a difference in lives of Queens residents — at the Museum of the Moving Image.
Former New York Mets fabled infielder and 2018 Brooklyn Cyclones Manager Edgardo Alfonzo and 76th Secretary of the United States Treasury Jacob Lew were recognized for their efforts in making Queens a better place to live while helping to raise funds for Queens Community House – a multi-service settlement house serving more than 25,000 children, youth, adults and older adults every year.
Forest Hills native Lew served as White House Chief of Staff for President Barack Obama from 2012 to 2013 and Obama picked him to serve as Secretary of the Treasury in 2013, a position he held until 2017.
Lew spoke of the significant efforts of QCH in helping to transform the lives of Queens inhabitants.
“Whether it’s the needs of young children or seniors, whether it’s helping people learn leadership skills or having the meals that they need,” Lew said, “it’s organization like Queens Community House that take the big city, which can be a difficult place, and make it a community that people can live in and thrive in.”
Bayside, Queens, resident and New York Mets Club Ambassador since 2013, Alfonzo praised QCH’s unyielding work while referencing his own fight for the people of the great borough.
“Queens Community House helps a lot of people who are struggling, and so this award is very important to me,” the 2000 National League All-Star said. “I would never have thought the work that I’ve done would be recognized off the baseball field.
“Over the years, I’ve played for many teams, but tonight, I realize that I’ve been playing for a different kind of team my whole life,” Alfonzo continued. “I play for the communities and neighborhoods. I play for the families that struggle to pay rent. I play for immigrants like me who’ve come to this country to make a better life. Everyone here tonight is on this team. We all make a difference in this borough. And we have to continue to support QCH and the amazing work that they do.”
The event raised more than $500,000, of which $50,000 was raised during the Silent Auction and “Live Ask,” led by Jennifer Wright of Christie’s Auction House.
Proceeds from the gala will support QCH’s mission of providing individuals and families with tools to enrich their lives and build healthy, inclusive communities. The nonprofit annually offers 25,000 Queens residents a much-needed support system at every stage of life.