Prominent developer Charles Florio has doled out donations to eight diverse local organization this week.
Florio’s donation ranged from $3,000 to $20,000. He is also hosting a book-bag giveaway on Sunday from 12-3 p.m. at 103 Fair Street.
500 backpacks will be distributed, said Florio. He is also giving out 100 $50 gift cards to the uniform store at Center City Mall.
Florio’s largest contribution of $20,000 went to the Dominican Parade organization. He also gave to three local youth sports groups.
“I’ve been donating to many of these causes for the past five years,” said Florio. “Most of these people are helping Paterson children.”
Florio owns thousands of apartments in the city.
“If it wasn’t for him it would be a struggle for us,” said Elsa Mantilla, head of the Dominican Parade group. She said the funds will help the organization to pay the city for parade security and clean up expenses.
Florio has given to the parade 3 out of the past 4 years, he said. The parade will march through the city next month.
Activist Ernest Rucker’s Save the Village group received the second biggest donation. His organization will use the $6,000 to give out scholarships and hold Halloween and Christmas events.
Florio has supported the group for seven years, said Rucker.
“He always comes through for us,” said coach Rahsaan Johnson referring to Florio. His group the Paterson Wild Cats received $3,000. “He liked what we were doing with the youth.”
Johnson said funds will be used to buy helmets, shoulder pads, and training bags for young people on the team. He said the team has 72 youngsters in 3-7 grades. He said the team plays at the North Bergen Junior Football League.
Johnson said all of his team members are Paterson residents.
Florio challenged other organizations to give to local groups.
“You don’t have to match my donations. You can give something,” said Florio.
Other groups to receive funds were:
- $5,000 Bethel AME Church
- $3,000 Unizamba Football Club
- $3,000 Paterson Cricket League
- $3,000 Jump Start
- $3,000 Grandparents Resource Center.
“These organizations represent our community. These organizations, no pun intended, are truly one Paterson,” said Florio.