Tony Lubrano shot for the moon and soared higher than ever before.
The Mineola Chamber of Commerce president’s April 6 Night on the Town event raised $142,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, falling short of his $150,000 goal — but still breaking last year’s record of $136,700.
Donations were still rolling in as of Tuesday, though, so the goal might still be within reach, said Kristina Curatolo, the deputy executive director for the society’s Long Island chapter.
“I’m fortunate that I’m surrounded by an amazing group of people who have really made a difference here,” Lubrano said.
The seventh annual event, hosted at Jericho Terrace in Mineola, has doubled its fundraising numbers in the past three years, Curatolo said.
“That’s incredible growth that really bucks the trend for nonprofit events, and we’re just so excited to see where it goes from here,” she said.
Lubrano credited Warriors for a Cause, his local philanthropy group, and other longtime supporters with Night on the Town’s success.
This year’s affair featured food from restaurants in New York City and across Long Island, a raffle, a silent auction and live music from New York’s Most Dangerous Big Band, a 23-piece swing band.
The crowd of more than 600 got up and danced when a DJ and dance troupe took over the entertainment at 9:30 p.m., something the event’s organizers introduced for the first time this year.
“I was pleasantly surprised that the dance floor was filled and hopping,” Lubrano said.
Lubrano started Night on the Town with the goal of raising $1 million to support blood cancer research after his father, Pasquale Lubrano, died of leukemia in 2006.
He’s now more than three-quarters of the way there — Night on the Town has raised about $756,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society since the first event in 2011, Lubrano said.
Nearly half of this year’s total, about $68,000, came from sponsors, Curatolo said. Many of them were engaged by Kevin Lalezarian, a principal in Lalezarian Properties, a New Hyde Park-based real estate firm.
Lalezarian Properties, Roslyn Savings Bank and Vidaris, a Manhattan-based consulting firm, were among the event’s top sponsors.
Big supporters such as Lalezarian, who was honored at this year’s event, and Jack Martins, a former state senator and Mineola mayor, have given Night on the Town a strong philanthropic base, Lubrano said.
“These are not people who tend to walk away from us,” he said. “We enjoy their continued support and that’s what enables this event to grow.”
The money raised supports research grants and support services for cancer patients and their families that the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society provides, Curatolo said.
The society has invested $1 billion in cancer research and is currently funding projects in seven countries, including two at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Rockville Centre, Curatolo said.
The “synergy” of the group’s staff with Lubrano and other volunteers has helped make Night on the Town such a great success, Curatolo said.
As much as Night on the Town has grown, a good portion of the crowd still comes from the local Mineola community, Lubrano said.
“It’s still based in Mineola and still is tremendously supported by our village,” he said.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is still accepting online donations toward Night on the Town’s total at nightonthetown.lls.org.