More than $170,000 has been raised for the Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund just over a month after Hurricane Sandy.
Members of the board of trustees, including Chairman Senator Bernard Kenny and Mayor Dawn Zimmer, say it's just the beginning.
Treasurer Toni Tomarazzo, who recently headed up the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority that negotiated the sale of the city's medical center, said the Hoboken Rotary Club is currently holding the donations in its acount while the fund awaits approval of its 501(c)(3) status.
"We hope to be able to effect the transfer within the next few weeks," Tomarazzo said, noting the fund has already been asigned a tax identification number.
The seven-member board also includes Vice Chair Larry Enrique, Secretary Scott Delea, Father Robert Myers of Sts. Peter and Paul Church, and hMAG publisher Joe Mindak.
The fund is already running a television ad created by Hoboken advertising firm Joey TV, and numerous fundraisers have been planned from benefit concerts to bar nights.
Bethany Marc-Aurele is the Artistic Director of Hudson Ballet and is donating all of the proceeds from the company's upcoming performance of "The Nutcracker" to the relief fund. She said she didn't know what her donation would be used for, but said she hopes it will help local businesses get back on their feet.
"I like shopping in Hoboken and I feel like it's different," Marc-Aurele said. "Especially for the holiday season, I don't see a lot of shopping going on. I know businesses are hurting."
The goal, said Mayor Zimmer, is to help residents and businesses whose flood insurance doesn't cover dammage to their basement units or who won't benefit from government assistance programs like FEMA or the Small Business Administration.
"The challenge is that government is not going to be able to make everyone whole," said Zimmer. "I don't want people to be forced out of Hoboken."
It's not yet clear how the fund will distribute grants or handle the application process. The board has been talking with people from New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico about relief fund "best practices."
"What we've learned is that we're ahead of the game and we're organized and have a mission we want to accomplish," Tomarazzo said.
She said more fundrasing events, including a gala, are being planned.
A press conference is planned for next week when the board of trustees will outline more details.