September 2019
Letter from the Executive Director
I've had the good fortune of spending time in Sweden, and I always come away enlightened. Granted, it's smaller than the United States and there are socio-economic differences, but their programs in education, medical care, and environmental stewardship are stellar. On Monday, the world heard from the newest Swedish export, Greta Thunberg , when she addressed the United Nations. In less than five minutes, this 16-year-old eviscerated the suits in her call to action on climate change. Commitment and passion are crucial to making the world a better place.

At one time, our country was committed to making the world a better place, too. In 1905, Theodore Roosevelt founded the U.S. Forest Service to protect forests and grasslands. In 1970, Richard Nixon established the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to keep water and air clean. Their political heirs are now trampling these great legacies and allowing unchecked development on public land, increased carbon emissions in the air, and extra pollutants in the water. I think Teddy and Dick are rolling in their graves.

Greta understands that her generation cannot rely on elders and the established public sector when it comes to watching out for the future. Youth and the private sector are taking matters into their own hands. This is a good thing. We (aka the Old Guard) can assist by encouraging this forward thinking. When Greta was taking off on her voyage to New York City last month, QEDC was kicking off our 14th annual StartUP! Business Plan Competition. Inspired by Greta, we've added a new category: Sustainability.

In 2020, in addition to awarding $10,000 grants to new businesses in the fields of Community, Innovation, and Food, we will help a startup that creates a product or service that makes a positive impact on the environment. As individuals and small groups, we need to do something. In addition to free classes and on-line webinars, we're offering an intensive boot camp in November.

Small businesses have always been a forum for new ideas and experimentation for developing products and services. We've launched this new category with the hope that someone out there ─ in Queens! ─ has a great idea that will make a better world for us, and more importantly, for those who come after us. We're the stewards of their future, a responsibility we must take on with renewed urgency.

When in Sweden, I spend time with my great friends Mikael and Nils (below). When they're not swimming in pristine glacial lakes, they make the world better for those around them in their own ways. They don't know Greta personally ─ though Sweden is pretty small and I'm sure Mikael and Nils know someone who does. If so, maybe I can meet her, too, the next time I'm there. We could all share a plate of Surströmming.


Seth Bornstein
Executive Director

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News You Can Use
QEDC announces an eight -week course on budgeting, investing, and saving. Led by an expert financial planner, the weekly classes aim to give people the tools to buy a house, pay college tuition, and save for retirement. The first class is on Thursday, Oct. 3, from 6 pm to 8:30 pm at the Entrepreneur Space, 36-46 37th Street in Long Island City. The course is completely free for those with household incomes below $100,000 a year. Sign up today to learn more about how to manage your money, money, money.

Fitting Tribute:  A new Forest Hills mural honors Helen Keller, thanks to a partnership with QEDC, City Council Member Karen Koslowitz, and activist Michael Perlman. On the west wall of the LIRR's Ascan Avenue overpass, the 48-foot-wide tribute features quotes, a biography, and scenes of the local legend's life. QEDC Deputy Director Ricardi Calixte and Executive Director Seth Bornstein (l-to-r) pose with Perlman and his mother, Linda, in the photo.

We Can't Get Enough of Ricardi Calixte:  QEDC's hard-working (and photogenic) Deputy Director won a Community Leadership Award at the 110th Precinct Community Council's annual gala at Terrace on the Park last Friday. In the above photo, Ricardi stands in the middle of the front row with two other gala awardees, Vilma Raquel Daza from Queens Public Library's Corona branch and Joseph Nocerino, the Transportation Coordinator with Borough President Melinda Katz's Office. Al Perna, a long-time Corona benefactor and the president of the 110th Precinct Community Council, is behind them.  Congrats!

Neir's Tavern celebrates 190 years in business with a  Block Party on Saturday, Oct. 5, from noon to 5 pm. The  Woodhaven landmark is the country's oldest bar to continuously operate in the same spot. For some perspective, it was founded i n 1829, when Andrew Jackson was president of the US, Greece was seeking independence from the Ottoman Empire, and William Austin Burt was inventing the typewriter. Be there or be square.
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