James Fanous, the G.I. Go Fund's communications director, told "Local Talk" that their e-mail and telephone message banks have been full since the start of the charity's office hours June 4.
"We've had people from across the country," said Fanous from the charity's City Hall headquarters. "They want to make donations. They want to start something like G.I. Go."
GlassRoots Executive Director Wesley Simms said that his telephonic and computer banks have also been brimming for almost 40 hours since the "Secret Millionaire" season premiere aired 8 p.m. Eastern Time Sunday.
"The response has been very good," said Simms from GlassRoots' downtown Bleeker Street office. "We've received greater exposure of what we do. We've had people coming in wanting to become students and wanting to add classes."
International Youth Organization co-founder Carolyn Wallace has also seen a higher profile although she adds that it may not be as great a volume as what the other two groups have been experiencing.
"We've had several people come in," said Wallace from IYO's South 12th Street and Woodland Avenue base in the South Ward, "saying, 'I saw you on television.' "
Even one business which was not directly identified on the show saw a boost in exposure. Rashid Salaam, owner of the Nubian Flavor restaurant on Springfield Avenue, said that the appearance was the talk of Monday's breakfast.
"People were coming up to me, saying, 'I saw your place on television,'" said Rashid. "I had forgot all about this couple and camera crew coming in last year."
The show's two protagonists had left IYO's nearby headquarters when they stopped for a late breakfast. They noticed a palm card for GlassRoots, right next to a copy of "Local Talk Newark" on the counter.
Nubian Flavor, IYO and G.I. Go, for the record, are among the distribution sites for "Local Talk Newark."
IYO, GlassRoots and G.I. Go were the three charities featured in the June 3 "Secret Millionaire." The program, in its third U.S. season, has a guest millionaire and a companion check out three charities while in disguise.
The rich pair volunteers for the charities while living in the neighborhood and subsisting on $71.03 in food stamps for the week. The millionaire reveals him or herself on the last day and bestows donation checks to the three charities.
World-renown artist Scott Jacobs, 52, and daughter Alexa, 19, were the June 3 show's secret benefactors. They had left their suburban San Diego mansion for a well used three-story house in the West Ward near the Irvington border sometime last October.
The Jacobs, like their "Secret Millionaire" predecessors, surrendered their personal electronic devices and identification papers just as they were boarding their eastbound transcontinental flight. The duo, accompanied by a camera crew, said they were producing a documentary about urban volunteerism.
"Secret Millionaire," which had recently moved from the Fox Network, is in its second U.S. season. It is one of several versions around the world owing its existence to its 2003 namesake on Britain’s Channel Four network.
The City of Newark and G.I. Go used the 8 p.m. season debut to host a viewing party here in the Penn Station Hilton's Garden State Ballroom. Representatives of IYO, GlassRoots and G.I. Go plus the city government and "Secret Millionaire" producers brought guests from across the city, the state and the country to mingle and fill the Mercer and Morris rooms' 205 seats.
James and brother Jack Fanous, Alex Manis, their families and the family of the late Army Lt. Seth Dvorin were present. G.I. Go, which the Fanous and Manis families started in Lt. D’vorin's honor in 2006, is a one-stop referral and program service for men and women who have left or are about to leave the armed forces for civilian life.
Wallace, 57, brought her IYO staff and, among her guests, South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka. Carolyn and the late James Wallace founded IYO in 1970 to provide local children and young adults practical vocational, recreational and educational services.
Simms brought several GlassRoots board of trustee members and key officials. They collectively told "Local Talk" that the 1999-founded GlassRoots, from its three Newark studios, provide artistic and business skills to urban youth.
"I come from Detroit and Indianapolis," said Simms. "When I told my friends about my decision to join GlassRoots, you should've heard the derision about Newark and New Jersey go up. I'm more committed to the city and GlassRoots now than when I first arrived."
Other dignitaries included At-Large Council Members Mildred Crump and Donald Payne, Jr., Mayor Cory Booker and councilmembers from Trenton and Plainfield. Booker, who was planning to talk before 8 p.m., in shirtsleeves, had to go home to change into a jacket and tie - leaving his remarks for after the show.
Scott Jacobs, back on the West Coast, phoned in his greetings just before 8 p.m. He would be watching the show three hours later on Pacific Time. One of the show's producers, Rich Cohen, had flown in from West Hollywood to talk about how his staff chose Newark and the three charities.
"We first looked for cities that have a wide cross section of affluence and poverty," explained Cohen. "Then we did our research on charities that are making a difference in that city. We started with 12 charities and brought them down to three finalists."
Cohen, during the research, called on Mayor Booker's Public Information Office, Diane Johnson of the local U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, office and New Jersey Motion Picture Commissioner Dave Schoner for information and contact leads.
Cohen's staff, without revealing themselves, then interviewed Wallace, Simms and Fanous last summer.
"I'll tell you how we almost missed 'Secret Millionaire,'" said Wallace. "The first came in for an interview for two hours and were filming with this small (pocket-sized) camera," said Wallace. "When they came back for a second interview a couple of days later, they used that small camera. I was thinking to myself if I had time for a third interview when they showed up with a larger camera a week later."
Newark and its neighbors are no strangers to "reality television." Some 3,000 construction workers and contractors joined the ABC "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" crew to build a new house for an Irvington special needs family of nine April 23-27, 2006.
Dr. Randall Pinkett, of Newark's BCT Consultants, won the 2008 season finale of the Donald Trump-hosted "The Apprentice" series. Trump allowed Nutley native Martha Stewart to host a variation of his show in 2009.
The Jacobs volunteered for each of three days. They first joined G.I. Go's volunteers to conduct a 4-6 a.m. survey interview of Penn Station area homeless. The duo followed with a day with IYO cleaning nearby Woodlawn Cemetery and a third day helping to making and selling art work at a GlassRoots fair on Washington Park.
The Jacobs returned to G.I. Go's annual North Jersey Stand Down for homeless veterans at Rutgers-Newark's Robeson Center Essex Room to present them a $75,000 check. Father and daughter next stopped at IYO to give C. Wallace $40,000.
Scott and Alexa Jacobs cut two checks at GlassRoots. The first, worth $20,000, was handed to Simms. Scott Jacobs then personally have a second, worth $2,500 and a mentoring opportunity to an 18-year-old student whom he was impressed by.
Simms, during that show's scene, briefly left for a nearby restroom. The GlassRoots executive said that the scene still teared him up. Indeed, Cohen said he noticed that Crump and her Trenton colleague were also in tears towards the show's end.
Each of the charities took the screening's opportunity to talk about their latest projects. Simms said that GlassRoots has expanded their summertime classes while Jack Fanous said that additional midnight homeless veterans surveys are to start soon in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
"I must tell you that the show was produced last year and the money has been used," said IYO's Wallace. "Our annual membership drive is underway and our Third Annual James Wallace Achievement Awards banquet is on June 14.
Overnight Nielsen ratings recorded some 1.5 million homes were watching "Secret Millionaire" June 3.
"Tonight is a celebration," said Booker. "Tonight shows what Newark, as a community, can do to help each other and their city."