Block Party in Free Bloomfield 9/2

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I posted this as is, despite some of the obvious kookiness. I’m a little too feverish and delirious to get into talking about the US vs. China proxy war in Darfur, that already has liberal consent for a full on war, just add Democrat President, and the establishment of a US Afrika Korps African Command

Just come to the damn party.

Members and Supporters of the TMC…
Body: Dear Members and Supporters of the TMC,

I am very glad to be the new communications director and am still looking forward to meeting all those I did not get a chance to see at our recent meet and greet events.

In the midst of celebrating 35 years as a peace and justice organization, the Thomas Merton Center faces an unexpected financial crisis. Though most non-profits usually suffer a slow down of contributions during summer months the center is experiencing an emergency situation.

We have been an important community institution for many individuals and groups in the region and it is very important to have a common space for the community to share. As you know, the Center continues to support anti-nuclear groups, workers and the right to fair treatment in the workplace, anti-war efforts, and the quest to increase the peace and stop the violence in our communities.

The Thomas Merton Center has been able to provide support and resources for projects such as the Pittsburgh Campaign for Democracy Now, Save Our Transit, and Book ‘Em books-to-prisoners campaign. The TMC continues to help people on the local level to think globally though the efforts of the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition, the Africa Project and the Haiti Solidarity Committee.

Our long-time colleagues from American Friends Service Committee recently sponsored a vigil with Demilitarize Pittsburgh, a project of the Thomas Merton Center, to recognize the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing and make connections to war profiteers and the arms race today.

Recently featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was TMC member and urban farmer Claire Schoyer and several other members of the Center’s Sustainable Living Project. Pittsburgh is one of the few large cities with a lot of green space in an urban environment. The members of this project are working on communal, organic gardens to eventually provide a free source of healthy food. They aim to facilitate self-sustaining and less destructive human environments by studying and mimicking relationships found in nature.

As you see, the Thomas Merton Center is as committed to peace and justice issues today as we were in 1972. Over the years, our work has continued to transcend race, gender and socio-economic factors.

The demolition and replacement of an old fire escape has put a large hole in the Merton Center budget. Nearly $20,000 has been spent so far in that process alone with another $11,000 due to pay off the bill for the new structure. The demolition has caused damage to the community institution housed in the heart of the Penn Avenue Arts district in Garfield. The structure had to undergo masonry repairs and still needs roofing, gutter and downspout work which means additional funds are needed. Clearly the escalating costs were not anticipated by the former financial management team.

Other physical plant issues the Center is facing come from further inspection by the current staff and board members. This includes the need to renovate space available for community use, replace an antiquated phone system and to improve our computer networking capabilities. Various individuals and groups have stepped forward over the past weeks to offer donations, volunteers and consultation. We also need your assistance.

The 2006 cost to run the center was just under $192,000, which pays for three full-time and one half-time staff, office supplies and physical up keep. That total 2006 budget does not include monies received by the 25 individual projects that are fiscally sponsored by the Center which are used by the projects. The current situation also has staff members facing possible layoffs to save the center.

While supplemental funds are constantly being sought by our development, building, financial committee members and staff, that does not downplay or rule out the urgent need for new and renewing memberships.

We are also currently in the process of contacting major donors and planning for our next major fundraising event on November 15. The 2007 Thomas Merton Award Dinner will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Station Square. This year’s Merton recipient will be Cindy Sheehan, the fiery “peace mom” of our growing anti-war movement.

How can you help? We are asking you to make a donation, renew your membership, support our annual dinner, encourage others to become members, volunteer your time, goods or services to keep this community institution growing. All of your contributions are tax deductible.

Donate online at:
http://www.thomasmertoncenter.org

Contact the staff about volunteering your time, goods or services at:
412-361-3022

Send a donation to:
Thomas Merton Center
5125 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224

The Center is confident that we will get through this current situation and continue to serve the public by making everyone aware of this crisis but we cannot do this without your help.

Thanks for your time
Peace and justice for all,

Kevin Amos / Communications Director

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1 Comment

  1. Miss you and your POG-gites over at the Dee-N.
    http://www.darnnews.com


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