Brooklyn chapter of BNI hosts party for a good cause

It was a night to celebrate the achievements of Business Networking International’s (BNI) Morning Money Maker (MMM) Chapter in Brooklyn with a throwback disco-themed dance party that filled the room at Cebu Bar & Bistro at 8801 Third Ave. in Bay Ridge.

The event was co-hosted by BNI-MMM Chapter President Brian Chin and coordinator Walter Ochoa. Chin is the branch manager-vice president of Northfield Bank and Ochoa owns the homecare agency Right at Home.

“The BNI Morning Money Makers Chapter is a group of business professionals that meet every week for the purpose of referring business to each other,” Chin explained. “The chapter has done over $3 million in closed business so far. BNI’s Mission is to help people increase their business through a word-of-mouth marketing program.”

The leadership team consist of Chin, Vice-President Maria Ingardia-Brody and Secretary-Treasurer Jennifer Santo.

The MMM Chapter was founded 10 years ago by Re/Max Elite Real Estate Associate Broker and Realtor Julie Thum.

“I have made so many great connections which also wonderfully turned into friendships,” Thum told this paper. “These are the people whom I can honestly trust with my referrals and at the same time with whom I have a strong enough bond to ask for their help when I need it and they’ll always be there for me. That’s what our MMM chapter means to me.” 

There was a 50/50 raffle with the proceeds earmarked for Cancer Can’t Kill Love and Holy Cross Brooklyn Outreach Center, two local charitable organizations.

Cancer Can’t Kill Love began in November, 2013, following the death of Managing/Digital Editor of the Home Reporter and Brooklyn Spectator Meaghan McGoldrick’s mother, Joanne, who succumbed to Acute Myeloid Leukemia just five years after McGoldrick’s father, John Patrick “Butch” McGoldrick, died of asbestos-triggered lung cancer brought on by his work at Ground Zero.

McGoldrick attended the event and explained that this past year’s benefit had helped raise $25,000, with the bulk of the donations going to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and that overall the organization has raised close to $75,000 in the fight against cancer.

“By 22, I had lost both my parents to cancer,” McGoldrick said. “My friends got together and said, ‘what can we do?’ So they threw a party in the back of the Hideout on Fifth Avenue. We raised $1,000 which was supposed to be for me, but I didn’t want to take the money so I donated half of it and since then we’ve kept it going. This coming Sept. 21, we will be holding our seventh annual event at Gjoa Club at 850 62nd St.”

Holy Cross Brooklyn Outreach Center was established in 2013 as a charitable organization open to all communities in order to promote philanthropy throughout the borough and New York City.

Its current programs include the Homeless Midnight Run and Outreach on the Go. For the Homeless Midnight Run, the organization prepares sandwiches and food packages to distribute to the homeless. For Outreach on the Go, volunteers prepare home-cooked meals for delivery. Board member Maria Vasaka-Monioudis was there to represent the organization.

“We started our homeless ministry about 11 years ago in March,” she recalled. “We got together and made some sandwiches in food bags. I’ll never forget it was a cold day in March, one of those icy, rainy days. We went into the city and went to a church where there a lot of boxes all around. We wondered where the homeless people were and found them living in the boxes. . . And since then we’ve been going every month to bring food to the homeless. We’ve given out over 45,000 meals and our goal is to open up an outreach center in Brooklyn where they can come and get a hot meal more than once month.”

According to Chin, this was the first time the BNI-MMM Chapter recognized local charities, with each receiving over $500 from the fundraising effort.

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