Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Synergy! On June 12, FCR's Gilmartin to be honored at Brooklyn Hospital Foundation Founders Ball, held at arena

Atlantic Yards/Barclays Center developer Forest City Ratner has become the 800-pound gorilla of local philanthropy, offering not just relatively deep pockets but also an event space for certain groups.

The Brooklyn Hospital Center is a corporate partner of the arena, the latter presumably involving payments from the former in exchange for promotion. Now the hospital on June 12 will hold its 2013 Founders Ball at the arena.

Patch reported 5/15/13 that more than $1.3 million from the event will help modernize the hospital's emergency room, with all 840 tickets sold. (The event last year, held at Steiner Studios, raised $908,000.)

Gilmartin honored

The lead honoree? Forest City's new CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin, who'll receive the 2013 Founders Medal for "Voluntarism, Philanthropy, and Service to the Community."

A co-chair of the event is Brett Yormark, CEO Barclays Center & Brooklyn Nets, and surely the arena, team, and company will be making significant contributions to honor Gilmartin. It is not unlike the commencement activities held by Long Island University (an arena corporate partner) held at the Barclays Center, with Forest City Chairman Bruce Ratner getting an honorary degree.

Alternatively, Gilmartin also deserves credit for savvy business and rather bare-knuckled tactics.

As I reported last October, she spoke at an investor update 10/22/12, and revealed that, rather than build a platform over the blighted Vanderbilt Yard as plans long indicated, Forest City would first build four towers over the southeast block, now site of the arena parking lot.

Forest City's generosity & the media halo

Forest City's seeming generosity has strategic aspects. An award to Gilmartin helps establish the company's newly-elevated CEO as a significant player in Brooklyn, to which she has just moved from Westchester.

The money of course comes easier when the developer saves all kinds of money on free or discounted public land, from the city and the MTA.

And such events have already generated a media halo for those involved, while the press tends to ignore less flattering news, like the arena's leaking bass.

As New York Times columnist Michael Powell wrote yesterday, regarding Maurice R. Greenberg, the former C.E.O. of American International Group:
Mr. Greenberg has also trumpeted his good works. He has long spread money like seed corn to local charities. It’s a practiced turn; Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg uses his charitable giving as a sort of political force multiplier.
“New York,” a business leader notes, “tends to appreciate charitable giving no matter its source.”
TWO weeks ago, the Community Service Society, one of the city’s best-known left-liberal groups, put on a grand party in honor of Mr. Greenberg and that trusty lawyer, Mr. Boies. As the crowd showered the philanthropist with applause, they perhaps pushed out of their consciousness that Mr. Greenberg had supported the conservative Gov. Rick Perry of Texas for president and given heavily to efforts to beat back tighter financial regulation.
A tip-off event at arena

As seen in the screenshot below, the Brooklyn Hospital Foundation held a tip-off event at the arena, featuring "basketball legend" Darryl Dawkins, who's always handy to lend some giant authenticity and fun to a Nets event.


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