The owner of the Common Man restaurants and other event spaces in New Hampshire is pledging to match up to $1 million in donations for Ukrainians affected by the ongoing war.
PLYMOUTH — In 1972, a year after Alex Ray opened the first Common Man restaurant in Ashland, he held his first fundraiser to benefit a local family in need.
This week, Ray, head of what is now a family of 15 restaurants stretching from Windham to Lincoln, has embarked on his most ambitious fundraiser effort: providing $2 million for war-torn Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees in Poland and surrounding countries.
The Common Man family launches The Common Man Ukraine Relief Fund and commits to matching up to $1 million in donations. Owner Alex Ray heads to Poland to assess relief efforts and needs. (Click to view.)
NEW HAMPSHIRE’S COMMON MAN FAMILY LAUNCHES UKRAINE RELIEF FUND, COMMITS TO MATCH UP TO $1 MILLION IN DONATIONS
Hospitality Family Owner Alex Ray Leaves for Poland Sunday to Assess Relief Efforts and Needs for Ukrainian Refugees
ASHLAND, NH - The Common Man hospitality family in New Hampshire has launched the Common Man Ukraine Relief Fund to benefit Ukrainian refugees and those assisting with relief efforts in Poland and surrounding countries, and has committed to matching up to $1 million dollars in donations.
Common Man owner Alex Ray launched the fund this week during a benefit he hosted to honor Lech Walesa, President of Poland from 1990-1995 and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Ray, Common Man family and Plymouth Rotary representatives will travel to Poland this Sunday to meet with Polish and Ukrainian Rotary representatives and other agencies providing relief to Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war in their home country. Their goal is to assess the most critical needs on the ground, make connections with relief agencies, and by partnering with Granite United Way, ensuring donations raised in New Hampshire would have a direct path to those in need.
“We’ve lined up five days of meetings with people who can show us the work that is underway and what needs exist,” said Ray. “We’ll make sure it’s secure and we’ll develop relationships with those we can trust to direct the funds to go immediately to the most critical projects. We want our donations to go from our hand to their land.”
The Common Man has been part of a New Hampshire-based effort to bring relief to the Ukraine region, most recently offering its restaurants as collection sites for donations of critical supplies, which garnered vans full of medical supplies, diapers, toiletries, and more. Ray took that passion and rolled it into his announcement of the Common Man Ukraine Relief Fund, partnering with Granite United Way as fiscal agent to provide a convenient way for Granite Staters and beyond to donate.
Donations for the Common Man Ukraine Relief Fund can be made by clicking HERE or by texting CMAN4UKRAINE to 41444. One hundred percent of donations will be directed to relief efforts in Ukraine and countries supporting Ukrainian refugees and matched, dollar for dollar, totaling $2 million.
“Alex Ray has the vision and passion to help others, and this generous match showcases that in the best way. Granite United Way was so impressed with Alex’s commitment to the people of Ukraine that we readily volunteered our services to be part of this important relief effort,” said Patrick Tufts, President and CEO of Granite United Way. “We are honored to partner with him and the Common Man team to bring the help that is needed to those affected by the crisis in Ukraine. Alex recognizes that we can do more, more effectively, when we work together.”
Ray said he feels compelled to travel to Poland because while those of us outside of the war-torn region can’t change what Ukrainians are going through, we can help them suffer less by raising funds that will assist them in securing medicine, food, comfort and safety.
“The Common Man family, our guests, and supporters have spent more than 50 years striving to help others here at home and now, we are reaching beyond our borders,” said Ray. “We need your help NOW. Ukrainian refugees and their Polish hosts need YOUR help. Every donation will be doubled and will make a big difference to those in desperate need.”
Granite United Way is an experienced and trusted organization dedicated to leveraging the resources of investors and volunteers to create lasting change by addressing the underlying causes of our community’s most pressing needs. United Way’s purpose is to convene public, private, and governmental leaders and resources to tackle the largest, most pressing issues facing our community. Granite United Way fights for the education, health and financial stability of everyone in every community. Each year, 1 in 3 residents of New Hampshire and Windsor County, Vermont engage with Granite United Way as a donor, volunteer or beneficiary of a United Way-funded program. Granite United Way, the merger of 6 local United Ways, mobilizes the power of 22,000 donors and volunteers to provide more than $14 million in support to over 350,000 individuals and provides funding to more than 750 nonprofit programs. Granite United Way is rated a Platinum level participant by GuideStar and holds a Three Star Charity rating by Charity Navigator. Granite United Way serves the Central Region, Greater Seacoast Region, Merrimack County, North Country, Northern Region, Southern Region (Manchester / Derry / Salem) and Upper Valley Regions of New Hampshire as well as Windsor County, Vermont. For more information, visit www.graniteuw.org.
Founded in 1971, The Common Man family in New Hampshire is made up of 15 restaurants, two Inns, The Lodge, a Spa, Company Store, The Flying Monkey Movie House and Performance Center and The Barn on the Pemi wedding and event center. Locations include Common Man-named restaurants in Lincoln, Ashland, Concord, Claremont, Merrimack and Windham; Common Man Inn & Spa, Foster’s Boiler Room, Italian Farmhouse, The Barn on the Pemi, Tiny Cabins, The Lodge and The Flying Monkey in Plymouth; Common Man Inn & Restaurant in Claremont; Lakehouse Grille, Camp, Lago and Town Docks in Meredith; Route 104 Diner in New Hampton; Tilt’n Diner in Tilton; Airport Diner in Manchester; and the Co. Store in Ashland. Sister businesses include The Common Man Roadside in Hooksett, Manchester and Plymouth and New Berry’s on the Common in Plymouth. For more information about The Common Man, visit theCman.com, and become a fan on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @thecommonmannh.
Common Man owner Alex Ray talks about the popular Tilt'n Diner in Tilton, NH with Shayna Seymour of WCVB-TV's Chronicle news magazine. (Click to view.)
Fred Kocher sits down with Sean O’Kane, an advisor to Global Citizens Circle, David Tille, the director of veteran's services for Harbor Care, and Patrick Tufts, the CEO of Granite United Way, to discuss the launch of the "New Hampshire Ukraine Relief Fund" and to discuss the key items being collected for Ukraine. Humanitarian aid supplies are being collected at all Common Man family locations. (Click to view.)
THE COMMON MAN GUESTS AND STAFF RALLY BEHIND KINDNESS FOR KENTUCKY FUNDRAISER
Tornado Relief Funds Total More Than $112K
ASHLAND, NH – Granite Staters eager to help Kentucky residents displaced by a devastating tornado got behind The Common Man restaurants’ “Kindness for Kentucky” fundraiser, donating more than $56,000 to the Do Good effort, which was matched by the hospitality family for a total of more than $112,000 raised.
As Common Man owner Alex Ray and volunteers from New Hampshire headed to the tornado-ravaged Mayfield, Kentucky to assist with recovery efforts, Common Man locations across New Hampshire collected donations in-store and via two online donation sites that were set up for American Red Cross and World Central Kitchen. In-store donations totaled more than $12,500, while online donations for American Red Cross exceeded $11,000 and World Central Kitchen donations totaled more than $31,000. The Common Man family matched all donations.
Ray and fellow volunteers from New Hampshire delivered a trailer full of clothing and goods donated by Bridge House Ladders Thrift in Plymouth, NH. They also spent close to a week working at World Central Kitchen’s large-scale food operations, feeding hundreds of tornado victims and first responders daily.
“I can’t believe the amount of food and supplies that were coming in to the area to assist residents,” said Ray. “At one point, there was a line of cars and trucks donating on one side of the lot we were in, and on the other side were vehicles of residents lined up to receive assistance. It was an incredible effort.”
Ray said that contributors to the “Kindness for Kentucky” effort back in New Hampshire played an equally vital role. “Their donations make it possible for non-profits like American Red Cross and World Central Kitchen to mobilize and move quickly when disaster strikes.”
“We are grateful for the ongoing support of The Common Man and their generous patrons. The recent tornadoes hit our southern states hard leaving behind devastating destruction and people in need of humanitarian aid for their most basic needs,” said Red Cross Northern New England CEO, Stephanie Couturier.
“The Common Man stepped up, as they so often do, to raise $27,336, combining donations from their patrons, and a company match. With their support, the Red Cross is now able to remain in those devastated areas providing comfort and aid to individuals and families as they recover,” said Couturier.
“World Central Kitchen is a team of food first responders who know that a hot meal is so much more than a plate of food – it's hope, it's dignity, it's a sign that someone cares,” said World Central Kitchen CEO Nate Mook. “We’re grateful to count on Alex and The Common Man, not only in fundraising and monetary support, but for their eager belief in our mission and willingness to roll up their sleeves. They helped WCK serve more than 100K meals to the communities affected by the devastating tornadoes.”
Celebrating more than 50 years of hospitality in New Hampshire, The Common Man was founded in 1971 by owner Alex Ray. The independent hospitality family is made up of 15 restaurants, two Inns, a Spa, Company Store, The Flying Monkey Movie House and Performance Center, The Barn on the Pemi wedding and event center and Common Man Roadside in Hooksett, Plymouth and Manchester. Locations include Common Man-named restaurants in Lincoln, Ashland, Concord, Claremont, Merrimack and Windham; Common Man Inn & Spa, Foster’s Boiler Room, Italian Farmhouse, The Barn on the Pemi and The Flying Monkey in Plymouth; Common Man Inn & Restaurant in Claremont; Lakehouse Grille, Camp, Lago and Town Docks in Meredith; Route 104 Diner in New Hampton; Tilt’n Diner in Tilton; Airport Diner in Manchester; and the Co. Store in Ashland. For more information about The Common Man, visit thecman.com, become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thecommonmannh and find them on Twitter and Instagram @thecommonmannh.
Bringing cash, clothing, furniture and experience borne of responding to other natural disasters, a group of Granite Staters led by Common Man CEO Alex Ray is in Kentucky, helping the victims of deadly tornadoes that struck the Blue Grass State on Dec. 10 and 11. (Click to read more...)
May 15-16: Get your free reusable face masks available from Mask Up New Hampshire!