Business leader's op-ed nets $5.5M from Jehovah's Witnesses

When the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership's Tucker Reed opined in Crain's that a departing religious group should donate $50 million, it seemed like wishful thinking

Craine's, New York/January 13, 2016

By Erik Engquist

It appeared to be far-fetched when downtown Brooklyn business leader Tucker Reed called in a Crain's op-ed for the Jehovah's Witnesses to donate about $50 million for neighborhood improvements as it relocates from the area to upstate. But Tuesday, the religious organization agreed to fund a $5.5 million park upgrade.

It's just 11% of what Reed sought, but may well be $5.5 million more than Brooklyn would have received had he not asked. It probably helped that The New York Times picked up the story of his request after it was seconded by Councilman Steve Levin.

Still, Reed, who runs the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, was not satisfied.

"We're pleased the Jehovah's Witnesses heard our call to give back to the community, but $5.5 million is simply not enough," he said in a statement. "Before they leave town and reap the benefits of property ownership in an area that has blossomed around them, the Witnesses should make a meaningful contribution toward badly needed public infrastructure in the neighborhood that helped bankroll its future."


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