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The Poppenhusen Institute planning future in College Point

Inside the Poppenhusen Institute, which was was built

Inside the Poppenhusen Institute, which was was built in 1868 with funds donated by Conrad Poppenhusen. Photo Credit: Uli Seit

When you're almost 150 years old, things don't come easy.

The Poppenhusen Institute, College Point's landmark cultural center on 14th Road that was founded in 1868, knows that all too well.

The Institute lost its state funding years ago, so State Sen. Tony Avella secured it a $100,000 grant from the 2015 budget.

Grant money from the state budget takes months to come through, however, due to the government's system of checks and balances, so the Institute is looking for creative ways to raise funds in the meantime, its executive director Susan Brustmann said.

"We're trying to generate income right through the building itself," said Brustmann, who was among those who fought to save the building in the early 1980s.

This includes trying to rent out the building's flat top roof for ad space viewable from airplanes, hosting an Oktoberfest celebration, and transforming the building into the "scariest haunted house in Queens" for Halloween this year.

They're also trying out a new initiative called the Leadership 100 Project to establish financial stability ahead of the Institute's 150th anniversary in 2018.

"It's trying to get 100 people who will commit to donating $1,000 per year for the next five years," Brustmann explained. "It's slow going but we now have about 15 people committed."

It's an all-in effort to enrich the people of College Point.

"We call it the 'right around the corner' cultural center, because it's right here in their own community," Brustmann said. "They can enjoy high quality cultural performances and programs at an affordable price."


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