If Scott Delea gets his way, people all across the nation will be partying, but it will be for the benefit of charities.
The organization he founded in Hoboken six years ago, Party With Purpose, hosts events that draw in young people who might not otherwise participate in charitable donations. The group focuses on local beneficiaries, like the Boys and Girls Club of Hoboken and the Jubilee Center, a youth center on the west side of town.
Delea was, until recently, planning to run for either mayor or council in Hoboken’s May 12 election. He has run for council as an independent before. But last month, he decided to stay out of the race.
“My goal is to make a positive impact in Hoboken,” he said last week. “I felt that I could continue to do that without running for office.”
Now he can focus on making his social/charity group even bigger.
“With the amount of interest and energy that we have right now,” Delea said, “It’s the perfect time to think about expansion.”
Running the gamut
Right now, Delea is looking for sponsors, volunteers, and entrants for the group’s marquee event, the fifth annual 5K and Kids Fun Run on Tuesday, June 16.
The event has three facets. First, runners either pay or are sponsored to enter the five kilometer race along Hoboken’s waterfront. Secondly, participating children race around Pier A and are awarded medals for their performance. Many of the children are themselves beneficiaries from the Boys and Girls Club or Jubilee Center, and Delea said one of the most rewarding aspects of the event is giving out medals after the race. Afterwards, the kids enjoy face painting and games on the pier.
Lastly, there is the party so that participants can celebrate the event. This year, the party will not take place at a local bar, but right on Pier A, complete with entertainment and food.
Five years ago, the event lured 300 participants. Last year, the group enlisted 700 people and raised $20,000 for the Boys and Girls Club and Jubilee Center, both organizations for Hoboken children. This year, Delea said, they’re hoping to draw 1,000 people to Pier A.
Ground floor of the party
Delea created the fundraising group when he sat down with a small group of friends in 2002 – a time when the economy was slowing in the wake of Sept. 11 attacks – and made a decision to get more involved locally.
“We were asking, ‘How can we give back?’ ” Delea said. “But we wanted it to be different; not just clicking a button on a computer. We wanted to not just work hard and play hard, but give hard.”
That became the group’s motto: work hard, play hard, give hard. People responded immediately to the fresh approach, and Delea said Hoboken was the perfect incubator.
“I just think it’s the right charity for the right time.” – Scott Delea
“It just kind of magically worked,” he said.
During the day, Delea is putting all his resources into starting up a “digital marketing” company, but much of his spare time is devoted to making Party With Purpose successful.
“I just think it’s the right charity for the right time,” he said.
In Hoboken, the group is exploring new events like a Hudson River cruise – Delea stopped short of calling it a “booze cruise” – or a Poker Night. He said he is working with the Historical Museum to possibly organize a bocce ball tournament that ties in the history of the Italian favorite. He said the event would benefit senior citizens in the area.
Another idea is a mentor program that would pair willing adults with children who could benefit from guidance and mentorship.
If the expansion takes, Delea said he’ll seek grant money to hire a part-time executive, but in the meantime, he is focused on three things: work hard, play hard, and give hard.
For more information about Party with a Purpose, visit www.partywithpurpose.org or join the group for monthly meetings at Nine, 333 Washington St., on the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m.
Timothy J. Carroll may be reached at email@example.com.