The Coney Island Polar Bear Club and the Alliance for Coney Island have announced the eight organizations, all local, that are recipients of more than $25,000 in donations raised by the 2022 Coney Island New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge.
“The Coney Island Polar Bear Club is once again excited to offer financial support to non-profit organizations within the Coney Island community as we acknowledge the great work happening among them and the benefits they bring to the community,” said Dennis Thomas, president of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, which was founded in 1903.
“We appreciate the generosity of all the attendees of our traditional annual New Year’s Day Plunge. Not only did they participate in a life-changing, challenging winter dip, but their donations help support and revitalize Coney Island,” he added.
One of the awardees is the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium, located on the famed
Riegelmann Boardwalk, which runs a variety of conservation initiatives for local wild and marine life. Its animals range from sea turtles to octopi to sea lions. The donated funds will help support the Aquarium’s work, including local marine conservation efforts that will help keep New York’s waters safe for wildlife and people.
Among the additional awardees, the Coney Island YMCA will use its donated funds toward its summer youth program which allows children from the community to at- tend summer camp. The local arts non-profit group Coney Island USA, which produces the world-famous Mermaid Parade and operates the Coney Island Museum and Sideshows by the Seashore, will put funding towards keeping the arts alive in Coney Is- land where visitors can experience the thrill of a traditional ten-in-one circus sideshow.
The Coney Island History Project will also be receiving a donation that will allow it to continue its work in helping to increase awareness of Coney Island’s legendary past by providing access to historical artifacts and documentary material through educational exhibits and events. The History Project’s website contains valuable photographs of Coney’s past as well as oral histories from people who have lived and worked there.