In 2009, a group of Poles gathered at Ski’s Restaurant to address some of the needs of the local Polish community. Like some of the other area ethnic groups in the Toledo area, the Poles were witness to a dying heritage, with their old Polish neighborhoods becoming blight-ridden and once popular churches closing. Certainly the future looked bleak.
To address these issues and more, the group formed a new Polish organization — The Polish-American Community of Toledo (PACT). Five years later a lot has changed for the Toledo Poles.
Along with spearheading a litany of events that call attention to the Polish heritage, PACT wants to build a much-needed Polish Community Center for the Toledo area.
“Leading up to this point, PACT has been able to successfully promote the Polish heritage with annual events like our Wagilia Celebration, Kielbasa Klassic Golf Tournament, annual scholarship competition, our Kielbasa Cook-off Competition, and more,” said Stan Machosky, President, PACT. “But now we feel the time has come to try and fulfill a significant part of PACT’s mission — To build a Polish-American Community Center.
When PACT, a Non- Profit 501-C-3 organization, was created in 2009 it had a mission of supporting and furthering the cause of local Polish-American groups and to enhance the lives of local Polish-Americans. PACT wanted its members to help promote, support, and patronize locally owned Polish-American businesses. PACT wants support for Polish-American business owners, and wanted its members to promote, join and support local and national groups and organizations that help promote events that perpetuate Polish culture and traditions. But a key piece of that mission was the building of a Polish-American Community Center that would ultimately house a cultural center, library, youth recreation center, and provide a venue for local Polish American groups to hold their activities.
On Sunday August 10, PACT announced an ambitious capital campaign to raise $1 million to build the Polish-American Community Center.
“When Poles first came to Toledo and settled in their neighborhoods, they built churches that served the function of a Polish community center. As Poles left those neighborhoods, the churches declined in attendance and eventually closed. However the need for a Polish-American Community Center still exists to help promote the Polish heritage,” said Mr. Machosky.
To meet its financial goal, PACT plans a grassroots campaign to reach out to local Polish-Americans, and to seek grants and donations from area corporations. In addition PACT plans an on-line fund raising effort with Indiegogo.
“We want a grassroots campaign to make all area Poles feel like they are part of this development. We also like the idea of an on-line effort which gives us access to Poles and other Polish organizations around the world who may wish to contribute to our effort,” said Mr. Machosky.
PACT says it is hoping to work with a prominent local Pole — Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz — to see what’s available through the Lucas County Land Bank for redevelopment.
Those wishing to make donations can send checks made payable to Polish-American Community of Toledo, P.O. Box 1033, Sylvania, OH 43560. They can also visit the Indiegogo.