How Direct Grants Impact Our Affiliate Communities in Positive Ways
Grantmaking is one of the four cornerstones of our model (which also includes volunteer mobilization, capacity building, and collaborative networks). Every June, we give Direct grants to many of our affiliates so they can plan their programs for the coming year.
Last year, during the pandemic, our goal was to provide relief to our affiliates in the form of both COVID-19 Relief grants and Direct grants, and we succeeded in giving a total of $3.1 million (a 46% increase from the previous fiscal year)*. And, your consistent giving throughout the year allows our affiliates to continue their work across all five boroughs.
Our Program Team is still gathering more stories from our affiliates for the 2021 fiscal year (July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021), but here are some stories that show the tangible ways that your committed giving strengthens our affiliates, providing for practical needs, client needs, and community needs!
*In 2020, we reported $2.9 million (a 49% increase from the previous fiscal year), but our updated 2021 calculations show $3.1 million (a 46% increase).
All Angels' Church
To meet the unique needs of our clients during COVID-19, we increased our staff presence at the Pathways drop-in program. We now have a team of two full-time staff, four part-time staff on site each day, and two social work volunteers who connect our clients to resources and referrals. This allows us to be safe and hospitable in offering a breadth of crisis care and social services, while also prioritizing community relationships.
Victoria has been a participant of our Pathways drop-in program for four years. During the first month of the pandemic, we were concerned when we did not see Victoria. However, she returned and began coming regularly again for showers and hygiene care. We gave her new clothes, food, mail service, and city resources. We also connected her to the Institute for Family Health for medical care, and to Goddard Riverside for housing. Victoria no longer needs to come to us for basic needs, but she does still come by for our worship viewing/bible study and to connect with the life of the church. We know this is only one step in her recovery, but it's a significant one. We remain available to her for support and resources.
Throughout the pandemic, we also cultivated and sustained new partnerships with organizations such as hair stylists from Hairari, Brooklyn; Soles4Souls; One Warm Coat; and the Redeemer UWS congregation. We also collaborated with City Relief, Goddard Riverside, Open Hearts Initiative, and Project Renewal to address the needs of our new neighboring shelter hotels.
Through a partnership with a local church, we're now able to conduct in-person appointments with clients in East Harlem! This church has leased office space in the area, and is making the space available for us to hold appointments with Client Advocates in both English and Spanish. Though this expansion of our services began late in the grant period, we were able to put up some signage on the street and start offering appointments on our website. We launched our second location in mid-December! What an unexpected growth opportunity in a challenging year!
Center for All Abilities
In some ways, going virtual has allowed us to provide even more supportive resources to our community! Since programming moved to a virtual platform in March 2020, we have held seven virtual events, including: Virtual Achievement Ceremony (June); Musical Storytime with the Chatham Square Library (August); HeARTwork Art Exhibition at Museum of Chinese in America (September); RUNderful 5K 2020 (October); His Toy Store Reimagined: His ‘Gingerbread’ House (December); Caroling Gone Virtual (December); HeARTwork exhibition at the Gallery at W83 Ministry Center (January); Lunar New Year (February).
The expanded virtual platform has also given us the opportunity to expand our YouTube channel to include more resources for families, such as music/art/dance video tutorials, relaxation videos, and other resources that parents in our programming request via surveys.
During the summer semester, Blue Hat also opened its doors to include other youth and young adults in the community. This allowed Blue Hat youth to make connections with new people, and the summer participants to learn more about neurodiversity in youth and young adults.
Garden of Hope
In summer 2020, amid the COVID-19 crisis, teen leaders participating in children and youth programs took roles as tutors and led our social media responses to events such as Asian Americans Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Month and Black Lives Matter. We also organized workshops for families and opened up our Mental Health Counseling Center and Community Center in January 2021 to offer holistic care to vulnerable populations in the Chinese immigrant community who have cultural and language barriers. We want to help rebuild the lives of many vulnerable women by offering a path toward holistic healing.
Graffiti 2 Ministries
The Get2Work initiative began in Summer 2020 as a response to COVID-19, but it's a program that we will continue. Get2Work is designed to assist individuals who are seeking employment, and the program provides an honorarium-based job in addition to coaching and job hunt support. Five of the six individuals who participated in the program have either found jobs, been connected with another program, or been assisted with getting into college.
Back in November 2020, our Family Empowerment Program initiated a monthly wellness package distribution in response to COVID-19 crisis that hit our Washington Heights community. Additionally, they provided a series of monthly family workshops, including 1:1 support for families to provide assistance with resources based on their needs.
Our Afterschool Achievement Program has successfully provided a virtual enrichment program, including our middle school program serving 17-20 students virtually on a weekly basis. Lastly, our Mentoring Program has consistently provided a virtual program with an increase of dedicated volunteers this year.
In September, we received a call about a survivor, "Kay," who was in Nebraska and had nowhere safe to go. She wanted to come back to NYC, so we began assisting Kay in coming back to the city. We later learned Kay was a survivor of abuse from a young age and had sustained a myriad of chronic traumas, including trafficking. As a result of these experiences, she had trust issues and was adamant that she did not want to enroll in any services, but she still wanted assistance. Housing was a top priority. We continued communicating that we would help find safe housing if and when she came back to NYC. More than two months later, she came back to the city and stayed in a hostel we found that was a safe, long-term housing solution. We continue providing financial housing assistance to Kay as she starts rebuilding her life
Safe Families for Children
We increased our families served during the pandemic by 110%! And we have had a lot of requests for hosting. Please pray that the hosting regulations are passed soon because families are really struggling during this time and we expect for the effects of the pandemic to continue to ripple out even after the city opens back up (especially in regards to mental health of parents and children).
We were able to help a single mom, whose teenager has needed mental health care and was in a facility twice during the pandemic, secure a deposit to move. The work, school, and community that best serves this single mom and her child is in Queens, and moving into a safe place near all of those resources was a high priority. We were able to provide mental health resources for the mom, plus food deliveries to help alleviate food shopping and income drain due to extra medicines.
One of our families reached out needing a laptop for her child. The school provided one but it broke three times. We helped with the phone bill and checked in on the new computer set-up. Once that was completed, the mom emailed to ask how she could help. She delivered some hard-to-find cleaning products and supplies to three families and continues to help others in her community who are facing hardship.
St. Paul's House
During this pandemic, we had at-risk, in-need, and food-insecure homes call us from the neighborhood and talk about the fear they had even lining up for the soup kitchen to get food. Understanding this real fear, we made arrangements for some of these families and individuals to gather food boxes later in the day.
We weren't able to provide this service regularly, but they understood and were grateful for the meals they received during a difficult time.
The Open Door
In a recent conversation with a Level 3 student, we asked how The Open Door has helped her during this challenging season. She shared that the grocery support has been “extremely important, necessary even.” Both her husband and she lost their jobs at the onset of COVID-19; although they're now newly employed, they earn just enough income to pay their rent and send money to their families in Mexico. This student shared that purchasing food has been a real struggle so she was incredibly thankful for the grocery support.
At The Open Door, we value cross-cultural connectedness. Earlier this year, we were blessed with an opportunity to invite the Chinese Christian Herald Crusade to join one of our conversation partner events. Their Chinese students joined our Latino students for a conversational event focused on the Chinese New Year! Though these groups of individuals had very different backgrounds, through connecting with one another, they learned that they weren't very different at all!
We also plan to continue pursuing a second (in-person) New York site; we are currently researching the demographics and volunteer prospects of Redeemer East Harlem.
By directly serving in six different NYCHA communities (NYC Public Housing) throughout 2020, we were able to bring relief to thousands of vulnerable families. Many residents came to our events to receive help and hope and to reconnect with God. So far, we have reached 9,265 unique clients through a wide variety of events and outreaches.
At the height of the COVID crisis, we partnered for 12 weeks with World Vision as a distribution hub to reach out to Title 1 schools on Staten Island. Thousands received food, hygiene resources, COVID-19 relief packs and beautiful Gospel gifts. Throughout the late summer and fall, we facilitated worship services in NYCHA courtyards and distributed food, baby items (wipes, diapers, baby clothes, formula), medical services, and hygiene products. We also had community prayer breakfasts, Agape Meals, and Thanksgiving events where we distributed turkeys, food gift cards from Traders Joe's and Stop & Shop, and pre-cooked meals (with all the trimmings) for struggling families.
We ended the year with four glorious Christmas outreaches in NYCHA communities across the North Shore of Staten Island. Thousands of families received toys, baby items, adult clothes, food and the Good News in word and deed! Praise be to God—Thank you so much HFNY!
Young Life (Gotham City)
Our Basketball Program Director, Stacey, had many opportunities to speak into the lives of young people through basketball since COVID-19 began. First, he provided online workouts to give kids an outlet for physical activity when they were relegated to their small NYC apartments during the first five months of quarantine. Then, when opportunities to go outdoors and interact with kids popped up, he led a new basketball outreach that helped us meet 200+ new kids since the pandemic began in March 2020. This outreach is one of the most unique great things that Young Life has done during the pandemic. We are definitely excited that this new venture is connecting us to whole new groups of kids, to increase the Kingdom impact.
This year, as our city is in recovery mode, our goal is to provide grants that will sustain and stabilize our affiliates.