BANGOR, Maine — Some local nonprofit organizations may be breathing a sigh of relief since the Bangor City Council voted to approve a 2012 contract with Waterfront Concerts. During the concerts, businesses and organizations in the vicinity of Railroad Street, where the outdoor concerts are held, use parking lots as a way to help nonprofit organizations raise funds.
“Local charities are very much in need. The Waterfront Concerts have a huge economic impact for nonprofits and for-profits alike,” concert promoter Alex Gray said.
Participating organizations agreed.
“It’s been very nice,” said Dennis Marble, executive director of the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter, which used eight spots in its parking lot to raise $1,000 during the concerts. The funds, Marble said, go toward expenses the shelter otherwise could not cover in its operating budget, such as taxi vouchers for those unable to get to medical appointments any other way, and for laundry vouchers.
“It feels good,” he said, “to be able to say, ‘Yes, we have a taxi voucher available.’ It also gave some of our guests who want to work a sense of purpose to manage [the parking].”
He said the shelter plans to use its parking lot for fundraising purposes during the 2012 concert series.
Marshal Steinmann, executive director of the Katahdin Area Council Boy Scouts of America, said the Scouts used Quirk Insurance parking during four of the 17 concerts and netted approximately $1,000 for Scout programs.
Shaw’s Supermarket on Main Street also allowed nonprofit organizations the use of sections of its parking lot to raise funds during the concerts, a move that benefited 16 local charities and raised a total of $28,028, including the $1,556 John Bapst Memorial High School took in for its hockey program during the Ray LaMontagne concert on May 26, said Kevin Mooney, Shaw’s Volunteers in Action Maine chairman.
“That number could be even greater this year and we hope to help 30-40 nonprofits this year. It works great. We train the people on how to park the cars. They bring their organization banner saying what will be benefited,” he said.
Brewer Youth Hockey raised $1,400 using Shaw’s parking lot.
“They were very accommodating,” said Katie Doak, president of Brewer Youth Hockey, said of the experience. “It helped us a lot. Giving us the opportunity to raise that kind of money in one day made a big difference and helps us keep the cost to players down.”