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Stonington pop-up book raises $35,000 so far for local organizations

Stonington — The Ocean Community Chamber Foundation has announced that it has donated more than $35,000 in profits from sales of its Pop Up Book of Stonington to a wide variety of local organizations, with more donations to come.

The success of the book follows that of the chamber's Westerly pop up book, which raised $80,000, all of which was donated to charitable projects and nonprofit organizations.

The chamber printed 4,000 copies of the Stonington book, which was released before Christmas. About 1,000 copies remain. 

"We're absolutely thrilled with the response, and I've gotten a lot of nice notes from people about the book and families who gave it as a gift," said chamber President Lisa Konicki. "It's been really nice, really gratifying." 

A long list of businesses and organizations contributed toward the $100,000 cost of designing, engineering and printing the 16-book and its many fold-out pages. Konicki said the production of the Stonington book was more costly than the Westerly version, due in part to eleborate pop ups of the Mystic drawbridge, the Charles W. Morgan, a Mystic Aquarium beluga whale and the Old Lighthouse Museum. Eight traditional events such as Blessing of the Fleet and River Glow have their own pop ups. Konicki said the additional production costs means the Stonington book may not earn as much as the Westerly version.

"It was a big undertaking, and a big risk that most nonprofits don't have the wherewithal to put together," Konicki said.  

Some of the organizations that received grants had also donated toward the production of the book. Grants ranging from $300 to $4,000 have gone to the Westerly Hospital Foundation, Stonington Free Library, Stonington Historical Society, Naik Family Branch of the Ocean Community YMCA, Stonington Garden Club, Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center, Mystic Seaport Museum, La Grua Center,  New England Science and Sailing and the Stonington Community Center.

The book is being sold at 11 area businesses and by the chamber. The chamber is also sharing profits with local bookstores that sell copies to help them through the COVID-19 pandemic. Fifty cents of the sale of each book is going to both the Stonington Historical Society, which helped create the book's historical timeline for the town, and the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center. Eighty books were given to homebound seniors.

There are also a lot of local people included in the pages such as former state Sen. Andrew Maynard sitting on a bench at Stonington Point, the band Sugar playing at the Taste of Mystic, jazz musician Charlie Holland in his traditional blazer, Olde Mistick Village owners Joyce Resnikoff and Jerry Olson, and local attorney Neal Bobruff in his trademark running shoes.    

"There's so many great things about this," Konicki said.    

 The book was designed by borough artist Susan Pfeifer Scala, and the paper engineering was done by Bruce Foster. Konicki wrote and produced the book.

Konicki said she has now held virtual training for three chambers of commerce in Florida, Ohio and Texas that are interested in how to publish their own books. 

Information on where to buy the book can be found at  https://www.oceanchamber.org/occc-event-registration

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