U.S. Rep. Bob Brady and State Sen.-elect Larry Farnese today announced pledges of about $230,000 in donations to help fund the Mummers Parade in 2009 and beyond.
Farnese said pledges of financial support include Verizon ($10,000), Geno's owner Joey Vento ($40,000) the Electric Factory ($10,000 a year for 10 years), Forman Mills ($22,000), and the Delaware Valley Regional Economic Development Fund ($100,000).
Brady and Farnese were joined by about one dozen corporate donors at a noon news conference that held at the Mummers Museum in South Philadelphia.
Though the pledges are substantial, "we need people to continue to donate. We're not there yet," Farnese said, adding that supporters can visit
SaveTheMummers.com to make contributions.
The Mummers are seeking large and small donations.
George Badey, an attorney for the Mummers, said, " We still have a way to go but like the movie It's A Wonderful Life a community has turned out in support of a valued institution."
Cheesesteak king Vento urged his competitors to dig into their pockets.
Because of a looming $1 billion budget shortfall, the city has drastically cut the amount of money it is willing to spend on the parade, which is scheduled for New Year's day.
Brady last week vowed to raise $50,000 or contribute that amount himself to allow the parade to proceed, albeit for a shorter amount of time.
The city already has decided not to contribute $355,000 in prize money for the parade.
Parade-backers say it generates $9 million in revenue for the city and is worth the investment.
Farnese said a nonprofit would be created to help fund the parade in future years so it will be better protected from economic ups and downs that affect the city.
He said Brian Abernathy, an aide to City Councilman Frank DiCicco, has been instrumental in the effort to help the Mummers.