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--- Updated May 13, 2010

The Erie Housing Authority recently presented a check for $13,600 to Laura King, community director for the March of Dimes, as shown in our Home Page photo.

Shown with King, far right, are John Horan, far left, and some of the young HACE residents who went door-to-door for contributions.

The Erie Housing Authority, with 63 employees, raised $13,600 in this year's March of Dimes fund raising campaign, placing number three out of 200 teams.The Authority smashed its record last year of $12,475.

The only two teams that topped the Housing Authority this year were Erie General Electric at number one and Erie Insurance at number two.

“That boggles my mind,” said Laura King, community director for the March. “Just about everywhere else that I’ve heard of, it’s the largest teams that raises the most money. But in Erie, it’s not that way. Again, the Housing Authority continues to be our poster team for other teams to follow. It continually places in the top three to five teams.”

King praised the Authority for being very creative in the ways it incorporates year-round wraparound events like selling stuffed animals, candy bars, and Blue-jeans for Babies, with shows and events put on by employees and residents in the Authority’s senior buildings, topped off by this year’s April 25 “Walk for Babies.”

“We are so grateful,” she said, “ as we simply couldn't continue to do what we do for the Erie Community without the support of the Housing Authority.”

The March of Dimes is a United States health charity whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. It was founded in 1938 as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to defeat polio.

John Horan, executive director of the Authority, said that the Housing Authority thanks the generous support of its staff, residents, program partners and contractors for again raising a record amount of money for the March of Dimes.

“The only reason this works is a that all of our staff and partners buy into what the March of Dimes does and support it as much as they can – in a great part, I think, because they know most of the money raised in Erie stays in Erie. Our fund raisers are literally from 2 to 80 years old. The simple fact is, we could not do it without everyone. If just one group doesn’t participate, we don’t make our goal.”

This year’s fund-raising events, groups, and totals raised included:

  • Youth contributions from public housing resident fund raising efforts -- $1, 773. Youth Center members go door-to-door to collect contributions. This spring, the two YMCA Kids Clubs, the John F. Kennedy Center, and Early Connections participated. Early Connections collected the old fashioned way – more than $150 worth of dimes at two day care centers.

  • Blue jeans Friday -- in which employees paid $2 to wear blue jeans to work on Fridays -- $1,747.

  • Candy bars -- sold every day throughout the Erie Housing Authority’s developments -- $1,281.

  • Stuffed animals -- sold at Easter and Christmas -- $720.

  • Senior Citizen Activities, such as sock hops, dances, and contests , and Bingo for Babies -- $1,683.

  • Contractor contributions -- $2,425.

  • 20 landlord's in the Authority's Section 8 Program contributed -- $1,015.

  • Special events – such as a grilled lunch sausage sale once a year -- $739.

This year’s Team HACE March for Babies T-shirt was designed by Brianna Ford of Erie Heights, who won $25 and art supplies for her winning T-shirt design.

“If you look at the list of things the Erie Housing Authority does to raise funds, you’ll find that it follows best practices from a business standpoint,” King said. “The best teams are the teams with leadership from the top, and John Horan does a great job of that. He supports the March all-year-‘round. If he weren’t so committed, the Authority would not do nearly so well.”

“It’s unusual.” King said, “The Erie Housing’s Authority’s contributions are increasing in these difficult economic times when contributions from so many other teams are decreasing.”

For more information, call John Horan at 452-2425,