AFTEE organizers and Bridgehampton National Bank presented checks this week to the Long Island Community Foundation, AFTEE East End Fund and to WPPB radio.
Kevin O’Connor, President and CEO of BNB, along with outgoing AFTEE president Myron Levine distributed proceeds from the AFTEE Presents Nile Rodgers Dance Party.
The event, which featured headliners Avicii, Rodgers and Adam Lambert, was organized to raise funds for East End not-for-profits.Of the $70,000, organizers said approximately $50,000 would go directly into the LICF fund to be used for grant applications; $5000 would be given to WPPB Radio, as the founding non-profit organizing entity, and a small amount of funding would be used toward planning next year’s event.
Additional funds are expected to be raised in the next few months from the auctioning in early 2014 of two guitars signed by the concert performers. A third guitar, signed by both Roger Waters and Sting, as well as Nile Rodgers, will also be part of the auction.
“We expect the guitars to contribute significantly to the fund,” said Jim During, AFTEE executive board member.
“I consider the AFTEE concert a tremendous success, said David Okhorn, director of the Long Island Community Foundation. "Especially for a first time event. It is unusual for an event of this size and complexity to make any money in year one. The fact that AFTEE was able to produce an event that brought the community together, focused attention on the local non-profits, and at the same time seed the fund . . . that is quite an accomplishment.”According to the LICF, grant applications from not-for-profits in the five East End towns will be accepted in the first quarter of 2014.
As it stand, the application process is being organized, an advisory board with representation from each of the five East End towns is being created, and the information will be made available in the next 60 days on both the AFTEE and the LICF websites.
The show, which took place in August at Martha Clara Vineyards, was billed as a "one of a kind dance experience," to help lend a hand to local charities. The evnet had crowds dancing, cheering and singing along.
Rodgers and Chic were joined onstage by guests Lambert, Chromeo, Russell Peters, Mystery Skull, Prince Paul and Swedish star Avicii, who had the crowds screaming for more.
Onstage, Rodgers described his victory over cancer and shared how he spends his life giving back to others.
The AFTEE event, Rodger had said, would be the “greatest dance party" the East End of Long Island had ever seen. "Dance music unites, dance music is happy, and the Nile Rodgers Dance Party will bring all ages to the dance floor.”
All ages attended the show and danced for over four hours on the large field, with the musical line-up bringing something for every musical taste.
For Rodgers, a man who believes in giving back, orchestrating the AFTEE concert came naturally.
"It touched my heart," he said.
Growing up in New York City, Rodgers said community programs were vital to the existence of a little boy who faced adult challenges.
"That's what helped me to navigate through troubled waters," he said. "My mom had me at 14 and both my parents were heroin addicts."
Having grown up poor, Rodgers never forgot those experiences and vowed to dedicate him life to helping others.
"I've been involved in charitable programs my whole life," he said. "I was socialized to care about people. We were taught that if there was a little old lady, you escorted her across the street. So when I was approached to do this, I thought it through and said, 'Sure.'"
At the same time, Rodgers said he didn't want the event to be a typical one-shot fundraiser but rather, aimed to "curate it in a way where it felt scale-able," he said. "You want to try and build a model that's sustainable after the first year. There are always different growing pains but if you have a good concept, it may be something that sticks."
The goal, he said, would be to organize similar events in the coming years.
Of the AFTEE event, he said, "The community can come together and pull something off that we can maybe develop as a model that will be replicated around the country," he said. "People wil see the essence of who entertainers are — how altruistic they are, and how they can seemingly come from such disparate backgrounds and all work together in this wacky melting pot."
"This is great for the North Fork and Riverhead," McDermott said.
After the show, some neighbors complained about noise.