Ono donates $10,000 to Safe Homes

By Oliver Mackson omackson@th-record.com Times Herald-Record

December 11, 2004

Newburgh – The check popped up in the mail at Orange County Safe Homes on Thursday.

It was written for $10,000.

It was signed by Yoko Ono.

“She’s been a longtime donor for Safe Homes,” said an ecstatic Michele McKeon, the executive director of the county’s leading advocacy group for battered women. “It has amazing impact, especially because it comes around the holidays each year.”

Winter is often a difficult time. The agency’s budget – $700,000 this year – is stretched to accommodate women and children at the Safe Homes shelter and pay for increasing energy costs as temperatures turn colder.

“It enhances our services, so it’s a great, great gift she gives us,” she said.

Ono’s donations started coming about six years ago, McKeon said, after Ono’s assistant, Helen Barden, saw Safe Homes’ education director, Myrna Rivera-Plotsky, speak in Newburgh.

A note from Barden accompanied Thursday’s letter.

“We were jumping all over the place,” McKeon said.

Safe Homes also received a $3,500 donation from the Avon Foundation.

McKeon said that Ono, a musician who’s the widow of Beatle John Lennon, is the only celebrity donor known to Safe Homes.

But if any of the bold-faced names who live in Orange County are willing, McKeon said she’ll be glad to have them don a waiter’s apron for Safe Homes’ annual Love Gently dinner fund-raiser next year.


The Walter and Edward Luedke Foundation (WEL FOUNDATION) is a corporation pursuant to section 42 of the Not-For-Profit Corporation Law, State of New York. The WEL Foundation is a New York State approved 501(c)(3) Not-For-Profit Corporation. The Foundation was established to promote, further, and support selected charitable activities through grants, funding, and financial assistance to various individuals, institutions, and organizations.