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Dromm doles out $250K to immigrant, LGBT groups

City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) distributed his $250,000 member items for fiscal year 2012 among a wide variety of immigrant rights and LGBT rights associations, most of which are within his district.

Dromm, who chairs the Council Immigration Committee, said he based his funding partly on that of his predecessor, two-term ´╗┐former Councilwoman Helen Sears, but also wanted to spread monies out to both immigrant groups that represented populations who have been in the district many years and those who are recent arrivals.

“I really believe there are lots of immigrants in the neighborhood who want to have English language classes,” Dromm said. Many grant recipients host English as a Second Language classes.

The largest immigrant group to receive funding was New Immigrant Community Empowerment, which got $28,000 in two separate grants to assist low-wage immigrant workers and to get interpretation services for Community Board 3 meetings. Recipients who received smaller amounts of Dromm’s funds ranged from the Italian Senior Citizens Center, which got $7,000; to the Jewish-centered Jackson Heights-Elmhurst Kehillah, which received $15,000; to the Latin American Cultural Center of Queens, which received $8,000; to India Home Inc., which received $8,000.

“I’m particularly concerned about the South Asian immigrants who are newer to this country,” the councilman said.

Dromm, who is openly gay, bequeathed funds to a number of LGBT rights groups as well. One of the largest recipients, at $20,000, was the Queens Lesbian & Gay Pride Committee, which funds the annual Pride Parade that Dromm helped start.

Dromm also gave funds to AIDS/HIV groups such as the Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS Inc. and the AIDS Center of Queens County Inc., both of which received $3,500 each.

Another recipient who occasionally does work with LGBT youths was Queens Community House. The organization, based out of Forest Hills but with locations around the borough, received $65,000 from Dromm individually, although not all the money went to programs targeted to LGBT youth.

Other recipients who received a large amount of the councilman’s funding included the street cleaning program The Doe Fund, which received $34,000; the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights, which received $30,000 for two concert series; and the LeFrak City Youth and Adult Activities Association, which received $29,964 to provide homework help, tutoring and other recreational services.

Dromm gave a smaller but significant amount of funding to arts programs as well. Queens Media Arts Development received $5,500 and the Jackson Heights Arts Club received $3,500.

Most of the councilman’s funding he distributed on his own went to organizations that served his district, like the Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition and GrownNYC, which are based in Manhattan.

Organizations from neighboring districts, like Forest Hills’ Forestdale Inc., also received funds. The Brooklyn-based Asian Community United Society, which partnered with Dromm on the Lunar New Year Parade in Jackson Heights, received $7,000.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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