A Manchester man has hatched a fundraising scheme that could prevent York's annual Halloween Parade from going extinct.
Ike Heilman is asking all York-based social clubs to consider donating a portion of their small-games gambling proceeds to the parade, which will march through York for the last time Oct. 28 if the YWCA does not find someone to take over next year.
Heilman, 69, is pitching the idea as a win-win arrangement for both the community and the clubs, which recently began operating under new gambling rules.
Earlier this year, the General Assembly voted to update a 23-year-old gambling law by revamping prize limits and reporting rules for small games of chance.
Among the changes is a rule requiring organizations to give away 70 percent of money raised through small games of chance, like punchboards and raffles.
Before, groups were required to give away all small games revenue. But, officials have said, that didn't always happen.
Heilman's idea is to designate the parade as the recipient of all York-based social clubs' gambling revenue.
"Nobody wants to see the York Halloween Parade go away," he said. "I said, 'Why can't we all donate some money?'"
Heilman is a member of several social clubs, including the 12th Ward Democratic Club. So far, the interest from club
members is overwhelmingly positive he said.
"Every club that I've talked to, every one of them thinks it's a fantastic idea," he said. "They're all willing to participate in this."
Heilman has not yet made a formal proposal to the YWCA. That'll happen later this week, he said.
'Thrilled:' In the meantime, the YWCA is "thrilled" by the idea, said Katie Mahoney, the organization's special events coordinator.
"It certainly sounds like there is a lot of funding that could potentially come from this," she said.
To be clear, Heilman is not offering to take on the organization of the parade -- just the fundraising.
It costs about $30,000 to put on the parade -- $18,000 in direct expenses and about $12,000 in staff time, Mahoney said.
Despite receiving a $15,000 anonymous donation, the YWCA is still far short of its annual fundraising goal this year, she said.
Heilman said he thinks the social clubs could raise the full $30,000 in one year.
"I would love to do that," he said.
-- Erin James may also be reached at email@example.com.