Following a successful fundraiser on Nov. 5 during which over $500 was raised to support the Sea Cliff Elementary School Parent Community Association, the owner of Hummingbird Boutique in Sea Cliff has decided to donate five percent of the earnings for the rest of 2020 to the organization.
Hummingbird owner Suzette LaValle said the original fundraiser served as a way for her to broaden her visibility as a small business while also helping the community. She organized the fundraiser alongside her friend, Maria Mango, who has ties to the PCA’s board. The two set up blocks of time in which women could shop inside the store while maintaining health protocols and socially distancing when possible.
Five percent of those proceeds went to the PCA and donated prizes, and Mango suggested to LaValle that they extend the fundraiser into the following weekend. However, LaValle said she felt so strongly about the work that she decided to take it a step further and extend it for the next two months. She knows how important the school system is to the Sea Cliff community, she said, and anything she can do to give back while also helping her own business is great for all parties.
“It doesn’t hurt anybody,” LaValle said. “It’s just a constant plus for me and my business to continually meet more women of Sea Cliff, and it also helps the Sea Cliff education system. It’s just a win-win all around and it seemed like the right thing to do.”
PCA President Courtney Chambers said she and the rest of the PCA board are grateful for Hummingbird’s contribution to their cause. It is especially important this year, she said, as the coronavirus pandemic forced the PCA to cancel its auction at Sea Cliff Manor. The event, which occurs every two years, was scheduled for April and typically serves as the organization’s biggest fundraising event.
Chambers said the money brought through Hummingbird’s donations will be used differently than past donations to the PCA. While the PCA normally uses its funding to finance programs and field trips, she said the new money will go toward supporting students’ pandemic-related needs, such as cushions for outdoor learning and virtual programming.
“We hope that everyone in our school community stays healthy,” Chambers said, “so we can resume at some point [and] continue to provide the activities and school programs that the PCA provides for the community.”
Although Mango is not a part of the PCA, she said she feels strongly about supporting the organization, especially considering that it supports her daughter, Raffaella, a fifth-grader at Sea Cliff Elementary. It is also very important, she said, to support places like Hummingbird, as countless small businesses across the country have faced extreme economic fallouts due to the pandemic.
LaValle said she has her sights set on expanding her work with the community by hopefully partnering with North Shore High School in the spring. The North Shore School District has a great deal of prestige, she said, and supporting the area’s students while also introducing her business to a wider audience will make her work all the more fulfilling.