A screenshot of https://www.gofundme.com/f/caring-for-numcs-kids website.

A screenshot of https://www.gofundme.com/f/caring-for-numcs-kids website.

Daily Point

An online tin cup for NUMC

As Nassau University Medical Center continues to demand tens of millions of dollars from New York State to help keep the public mission hospital afloat, it’s also shaking a cup for donations from the public via the popular GoFundMe fundraising platform.

Unlike the lifeline that NUMC wants from the state to make payroll, purchase new medical equipment, or foot its outstanding state health insurance bill, NUMC’s GoFundMe effort is seeking $20,000 for amenities and equipment for children and adolescents seeking mental health care at the hospital.

“By upgrading these facilities, we aim to create a more comforting and engaging environment that promotes healing and well-being,” the GoFundMe states.

The funds will be used for new toys, art supplies and recreational amenities, the fundraiser said.

By Tuesday afternoon, the effort had raised $18,416 out of the $20,000 ask. Of that, $10,000 was donated by NUMC Chairman Matthew Bruderman.

Initially, the fundraiser designated interim Chief Executive Megan Ryan as the “beneficiary,” noting to would-be donors: “You’re supporting Caring for NUMC’s Kids. Your donation will benefit Megan Ryan.”

But Ryan told The Point on Monday that the NuHealth Foundation would be receiving the funds.

“I would never take a dollar of it,” Ryan said. “I have no access to the funds.”

After The Point inquired, the GoFundMe beneficiary listing was changed to indicate the Foundation would benefit.

Ryan said the idea for the GoFundMe emerged after she toured the department, which has 14 beds that are “always at capacity,” more than a week ago and was told of its needs.

“I take this very seriously. It’s about their quality of life,” Ryan said. “Every dollar is going to things for children.”

But Ryan also alluded to the ongoing back-and-forth with the state Health Department over the hospital’s funding request

“We did this GoFundMe because I don’t have the guaranteed funding I need from the state,” Ryan said.

Bruderman, meanwhile, used The Point’s request to defend Ryan.

“In her short time as acting President and CEO of NUMC, Meg Ryan has continually demonstrated the kind of strong, dynamic leadership necessary to advance the substantive reforms we are making for the benefit of all Nassau residents, particularly those who are most in need,” he said in a statement.

NUMC used GoFundMe before, when it sought funds for food and drink for NUMC staff during the early days of the pandemic. The hospital ultimately raised $20,496 on a goal of $20,000.

It’s unlikely the platform could get the hospital out of its larger fiscal hole. NUMC’s initial ask for state funding was $125 million. GoFundMe has never handled a fundraiser of that size. And the transaction fees that the for-profit fundraising company charges — 2.9% off the top plus 30 cents per donation — could add up.

— Randi F. Marshall randi.marshall@newsday.com

Pencil Point


Credit: creators.com/Gary Varvel

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Final Point

PAC welcomes Avlon

A relatively new political action committee, devoted to promoting centrist Democratic candidates for Congress, says it will spend more than $1 million in the upcoming June 25 primary in support of former CNN commentator John Avlon.

The WelcomePAC, created in 2021, plans both cable and digital ads and other help for Avlon in his primary campaign race against Nancy Goroff, a former Stony Brook University professor. The winner is expected to face GOP incumbent Rep. Nicholas LaLota in the fall.

In a new video ad that dropped last weekend, Avlon emphasized the “need to defeat Donald Trump and win back the House from his MAGA minions.” The ad, which also emphasizes Avlon’s support of women’s reproductive rights, is designed to appeal to suburban women and moderate Republicans who are opposed to the GOP’s anti-abortion stance.

Avlon’s background as a TV commentator on public issues is one of the reasons why Welcome PAC is supporting him, says the group’s co-founder Liam Kerr. The PAC also helped ex-TV news anchor Janelle Stelson, a former Republican, who recently won the Democratic primary nomination to face GOP incumbent Scott Perry in Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District. “They can tell a very personal story” in an effective way, Kerr said of their telegenic appeal.

Both campaigns of Avlon and Stelson play to the middle rather than the left wing of the Democratic Party, Kerr said, especially on issues like decreased police funding or eliminating federal agencies that monitor the southern border for migrants crossing illegally. He said there are about 40 congressional districts across the nation where Democrats could potentially flip seats by appealing to independent voters, many of whom were once Democratic. He said WelcomePAC — designed to “welcome back” Democrats who have strayed toward the GOP in recent years — hopes to support eight Democrats. Kerr, 41, who is from New Hampshire and has worked mainly in the nonprofit sector, said the Welcome PAC was also cofounded by Democratic strategist Lauren Harper Pope of South Carolina who has spoken about the need to appeal to moderate and Black voters. Kerr expressed confidence that Suffolk’s 1st Congressional District, which he concedes “leans a little to the Republicans,” can be won by the Democrats this fall.

— Thomas Maier thomas.maier@newsday.com

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