Lewiston native, artist and entrepreneur Michael LaDuca recently created an online campaign to support local businesses. He raised funds through a GoFundMe initiative, where, for a $50 donation, people could purchase an 11-by-39 print of his famed Lewiston landscape watercolor photo.
Earlier this week, LaDuca presented Mount St. Mary’s with 40 $50 gift certificates and 20 $25 gift certificates to Lewiston establishments. He also gave this same donation to Our Lady of Peace.
C.J. Urlaub, president of Mount St. Mary’s Hospital and senior vice president of strategic partnerships, integration and care delivery for Niagara County, said, “We are so incredibly grateful for this initiative by Mike LaDuca. His watercolor painting of Lewiston is spectacular, and his talent moved this fundraiser forward to help our community. We are grateful not only for the generous gift certificates for our health care workers, but also that this collaboration with the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce will help local businesses.”
To date, more than $5,100 has been donated.
On his web page, https://www.gofundme.com/f/lewiston-painting, LaDuca said, “Without our small shops and restaurants, Lewiston would not be the same.
“As residents of Lewiston for over 30 years, we (Michael and Michele LaDuca) have cherished memories in and around each of its buildings, businesses, and landmarks.
“Because of that, this landscape was one of the most rewarding things I have ever painted. (http://www.lewistonlandscape.com/).
“It is no secret that our entire community truly loves and appreciates what we have, so let's continue to do what we can to preserve it.
“We are hoping that this small incentive can help build the funds to support this community in even the smallest way.”
LaDuca noted the “Lewiston Painting To Support Lewiston’s Community” fundraiser is in partnership with the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber President Jennifer Pauly said, “He called the office a few weeks ago looking to see how he could help the businesses. We were exploring the option of looking for a ‘fund’ of some sort, however, our organization is not equipped to handle funds in that way (like the community foundation can, or other grant-funded programs). We mentioned our gift certificate program and how it benefits those businesses that accept them. He created his GoFundMe page with the intent to raise funds to purchase the gift certificates to give to those on the frontlines.
“It was very generous – giving to those who are serving and, in turn, funneling those funds to the businesses when they are redeemed.”
The full list of 60-plus Lewiston businesses participating in the chamber’s gift certificate program can be found at https://www.niagarariverregion.com/chamber-and-local-info/gift-certificates/.