COVID-19 Stories

Our clients have shown remarkable dedication, resourcefulness, and creativity in this time of the City’s need. Whether they work in hospitality, real estate, education, culture, or social services, each has stepped up to serve the City and the community. Our clients are what make New York City the #1 city on earth. Read some of their stories.

SL Green

SL Green Realty Corp., an S&P 500 company and New York City’s largest office landlord, was keenly aware of the crisis enfolding the restaurant industry, NYC hospitals, and food insecure New Yorkers, but also recognized the synergies that could be unleashed through a new nonprofit foundation. Conceived by SL Green CEO Marc Holliday and launched with a $1 million grant, Restaurateur Daniel Boulud joined as the inaugural partner of Food1st. The foundation partners with NYC restaurants to feed front line medical personnel, emergency service workers, and elderly New Yorkers and food insecure families, while reactivating restaurant kitchens. Through early May the foundation had served more than 50,000 fully packaged, healthy meals to Mount Sinai Hospital, NYU Langone Health, Citymeals on Wheels, Services for the Underserved, The Bowery Mission, World Central Kitchen, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Montefiore Health System, and Columbia University Medical Center. The foundation’s restaurant partners include Daniel, Armani Ristorante, Juice Press, Just Salad, Little Beet, Maman, New York Vintners, Stout, and Sushi Ito. Read more in Forbes. Back to Top

Amida Care

Amida Care, a private, nonprofit community health plan that specializes in providing comprehensive health coverage and coordinated care to New York City Medicaid members with chronic conditions, has a long history of advancing access to health care for the most vulnerable, and challenging times like these highlight the importance and value of the services that Medicaid Special Needs Plans provide.

Amida Care’s members—including people living with HIV/AIDS and people experiencing homelessness who may be especially vulnerable to COVID-19—depend on the organization’s unique model of coordinated care and essential services, and the organization’s commitment has not changed. While following all mandated social distancing guidelines mandated by public health officials, Amida Care is maintaining all crucial services, including the Member Call Center, providing members with information and resources about COVID-19, and they are aware that all medically necessary services related to COVID-19, including visits to urgent care centers, are covered under Amida’s health plan. Members can call 1-800-556-0689 for assistance from a Member Services representative. Back to Top

The New 42nd Street

The New 42 is a leading performing arts nonprofit whose mission is to make extraordinary performing arts a vital part of everyone’s life from the earliest years onward. Through its signature projects – New Victory and New 42 Studios – The New 42 serves artists, educators, and New Yorkers of all ages with invaluable arts engagement and resources in and beyond the performing arts. Though the New Victory canceled the balance of its theater season, the organization was one of the first to conceptualize, create, and disseminate digital COVID-19 programing offering young people across NYC with access to the arts through a new free web-based arts program called “New Victory Arts Break.” Each series of interactive videos features a different art form and includes family activities; Arts Break videos have received more than 250,000 views. New 42 has also maintained its part-time Youth Corps, which stipends 75 high school and college students and offers online professional development opportunities for continued growth.

In early May, the National Endowment for the Arts released a report entitled “Envisioning the Future of Theater for Young Audiences,” which features early findings from New Victory’s five-year longitudinal Arts Impact Research study regarding the intrinsic impact of the performing arts on young people. (See pages 7-12.) Back to Top

New York Legal Assistance Group

New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) provides free legal services and financial counseling, and engages in policy advocacy to support people experiencing poverty. NYLAG launched the NY COVID-19 Legal Resource Hotline to help New York City residents impacted by COVID-19 receive counsel on their legal questions on issues including unemployment benefits, employee rights, housing, public benefits, consumer debt, advance planning, stimulus payments, and special education issues. New Yorkers seeking advice, free of charge, are invited to call 929-356-9582 from 10am-1pm Monday-Fridays. Back to Top

Nontraditional Employment for Women

Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW) prepares, trains, and places women in careers in the skilled construction, utility, and maintenance trades, helping women achieve economic independence and a secure future for themselves and their families and providing a pipeline of qualified workers to the industries that build, move, power, green, and maintain New York. NEW tradeswomen represent many of the essential New Yorkers still out in the field. As New York emerged as the epicenter of COVID-19 in the US, the city faced a dire need for additional hospital beds for COVID-19 patients. To support NYC’s healthcare industry, the construction workforce worked tirelessly to meet the high demand and expedite work on medical facilities. NEW tradeswomen took positions on the front lines – building emergency hospitals and ensuring New Yorkers’ access to clean water.

NEW staff are eager to support during the COVID-19 Pause, and can be reached via phone (212) 627 – 6252, email at info@new-nyc.org, and on the organization’s COVID-19 response page and on social media. Back to Top

JCCA

JCCA helps abused, neglected, and traumatized children heal physically and emotionally through compassionate, quality care, with 37 programs including foster care, residential treatment facilities, mental health services, case management, education programs, and special services for children who have been the victims of sexual abuse. Having recognized the COVID-19 challenge early, and knowing that JCCA’s clients are particularly vulnerable, the organization – with expert guidance from its Chief Medical Officer – began planning in February to mitigate the spread of germs to clients, staff, and community. Screening was established at the JCCA offices, in its residential programs, and of all young people on JCCA campuses; all common areas, cottage residences, and medical offices are rigorously cleaned and disinfected.

JCCA staff have been working tirelessly to reach out to youth and families to assess needs for housing, food, access to remote learning, and supplies – which often requires that our staff use Personal Protective Equipment – and to offer support. Examples of activities include a JCCA-DOE food pantry at a transfer school for overaged, under-credited youth in Coney Island, Brooklyn; a cleaning supplies distribution event in the Bronx; ensuring that every family has emergency supplies including adequate food, personal hygiene, child care items, and cleaning supplies; and identifying housing for youth in foster who are attending college and whose dorms have closed. In addition, JCCA has invested in compensation measures designed to maintain its staffing levels and incentivize workers across the agency who have been deemed essential employees by New York State. Back to Top

The Community Service Society

The Community Service Society of New York (CSS), a 175 year old organization which addresses and advocates on behalf of issues addressing the root causes of economic disparity in New York, has continued its Health Initiative programs to ensure its constituents can navigate and access the healthcare system. Though working remotely, CSS staff have kept their toll free helplines open to assist with healthcare and insurance issues. The Managed Care Consumer Assistance Program, or MCCAP, can help constituents use their health insurance effectively, access low cost care, apply for hospital financial assistance, resolve medical billing issues, and appeal coverage denials. The MCCAP helpline can be reached at (888) 614-5400, Monday-Friday, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, and all services are free. Back to Top

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Though the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) had to cancel Sakura Matsuri, the Garden’s annual cherry blossom festival, which had been scheduled for Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26, 2020, the Garden has remained committed to connecting communities to the wonder and delight of plants and people, and is excited to bring the Garden to New Yorkers virtually this season. BBG is sharing daily bloom photos, virtual walking tours of their collections, and activities and ideas for children, families and home gardeners on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and on its website. All are invited to watch the Garden’s world-famous cherry blossom collection bloom in isolation on CherryWatch! Back to Top

Children’s Village

Children’s Village is a residential treatment organization founded in 1851 that serves 1,500 families in the New York area, working primarily in foster care, juvenile justice, and immigration matters. During the COVID-19 “Pause,” Children’s Village countered the trend of cutting jobs and has instead expanded hiring and offered its frontline workers wage increases. Children’s Village’s employees care for more than 400 foster children in residential settings where social distancing is not possible and offer the warmth and stability their children need; they play the role of essential workers and the organization chose to recognize them and reward them as such. See the full Crain’s article here. Back to Top

The Brotherhood/Sister Sol

For 25 years The Brotherhood/Sister Sol (Bro/Sis) has provided support and guidance for young people who face a range of structural challenges, pressures, and inequities. These young people are part of a growing number of families disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis, with family members losing jobs and reporting food scarcity. Throughout, Bro/Sis has continued to provide mentoring,tutoring, and mental health support, as well as emergency programming, to help young people navigate this crisis and emerge from it. In the month of April alone Bro/Sis distributed an additional 6,000 meals, for a total of more than 10,000 meals, as well as computers, hot spots, and safety masks. Digital mentoring, tutoring, and mental health support and emergency programming help young people navigate this crisis. See Bro/Sis’s COVID-19 page for updates, and News 1’s coverage. Back to Top

T-Mobile

Exhibiting a deep commitment to corporate responsibility, T-Mobile has worked in partnership with New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic to assist vulnerable populations. The Administration and T-Mobile announced a $5 million investment to supply seniors in NYCHA housing with free tablets and internet service so isolated seniors can connect with loved ones while quarantined. Designed to serve Designed to serve 10,000 NYCHA seniors, and launching in the neighborhoods of Brownsville, East New York, Mott Haven, Red Hook, Bushwick and Coney Island, the initiative will supply easy to use tablets, and T-Mobile will offer a hotline with live help. In an additional partnership effort with the City, T-Mobile is providing unlimited LTE service for 300,000 tablets donated to New York City school children. In the words of Mayor de Blasio, “T-Mobile has been supplying the LTE data plans. They’ve been great partners. We ask them to move quickly. They did.” Back to Top

Columbia University

Columbia University, which serves over 30,000 undergraduate, graduate, and medical students in Upper Manhattan, has stepped up to meet the COVID-19 challenge through numerous approaches, from rent relief to scientific innovation. To sustain local businesses critical to the Columbia community, the university has waived rent for dozens of its commercial tenants, including Tom’s Restaurant, the diner made famous on Seinfeld.See full coverage by Crains here. To increase the number of physicians in active service, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons graduated its senior class a month early and offered temporary employment at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. And in the search for solutions, the university developed a ventilator-sharing method, and is focused on research into antibody-rich plasma as treatment against the viral infection. Back to Top

Charter Communications

In an effort to ensure that all NYC students are able to access educational materials and classes online as the City has moved to remote learning, Charter Communications, the operator of Spectrum, one of the City’s main internet and cable providers has offered free internet connection for NYC students for 60 days, and has waived late fees and ceased service terminations for those economically impacted by COVID-19. The company has also opened public access to its WiFi network and donated 1,000 hours of airtime for COVID-19 public service announcements. Read how Charter is supporting our communities here. Back to Top

Altice USA

Altice USA, an American cable television provider which provides television, internet, and cable service to over 4.9 million residential and business customers in 21 states, is committed to helping schools and students stay connected during this unprecedented time. For households with K-12 or college students who do not have home internet access, Alice has offered free broadband for 60 days to new customers, and is waiving late fees, ceased termination of broadband for customers unable to pay their bills, and opened their WiFi hotspots to all Americans. Learn how Altice is stepping-up-to-the-plate here. Back to Top

Target

Working closely with all levels of government, Target – one of the largest retailers in the US – has jumped in to assist communities in myriad ways. The retailer has identified parking lot locations to serve as temporary testing sites, is offering dedicated shopping hours for vulnerable populations, and is supporting its employees with increased pay, extended sick leave, and with the implementation of crucial safety measures and operational changes. Back to Top

Delta

Recognizing how essential additional medical workers are to New York’s efforts to overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on New York City, Delta Airlines has partnered with the State to make traveling a bit easier. Expanding their program with Georgia, Louisiana, and Michigan, Delta has offered free round-trip flights for medical volunteers traveling to New York. Licensed healthcare workers interested in helping in New York may apply through the State’s website. Back to Top

Met Council

Met Council, America’s largest Jewish charity organization dedicated to fighting poverty, has been on the frontlines of ensuring New York City’s most vulnerable communities have access to food throughout the pandemic. In addition to continuing to run its 75 food pantries in neighborhoods across the city, in time for the Passover holiday Met Council partnered with Uber to deliver 500 meals to homebound Holocaust survivors who will be isolated at home during the holiday. See NYPost article here. Met Council has also compiled a comprehensive resources page to assist New Yorkers navigate this crisis, and continues to offer services to constituents across the city, including help for Holocaust survivors and other seniors in need of food, assistance with SNAP benefits enrollment, emergency home repairs for seniors, assistance for victims of domestic violence, and free tax filings. Back to Top

Mother Cabrini

Aligned with its mission to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable New Yorkers, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is dedicating $50 million to fund nonprofit organizations that are addressing the health and social needs of those impacted by COVID-19. These grants will be distributed to community-based emergency response funds, healthcare providers, Catholic Charities affiliates serving all faiths, and other organizational efforts. Grants will address the health and economic impact of those most affected by the pandemic, including elderly individuals and those with preexisting medical conditions. See the Foundation’s press release here. Back to Top

Restaurant Recovery

Recognizing the immediate impact of the crisis upon the restaurant industry, Kasirer strategized with iconic restaurateur Daniel Boulud an approach that would revivify the industry with its thousands of workers: restoring the corporate tax deduction for meals that had been eliminated in the 2017 tax overhaul. Explains iconic restaurateur Daniel Boulud, “The corporate tax deduction for meals is very important especially now for the restaurant industry which has been badly affected by this terrible crisis. The President should be commended for immediately responding to our industry’s request for help. Thanks also to Suri who helped us formulate our strategy and approach which led to this important step.” Read more in The Wall Street Journal, and watch the President’s announcement here. Back to Top

Hotel Association Support for Healthcare Workers and First Responders

At a time of unprecedented crisis, the Hotel Association of New York City (HANYC), which represents nearly 300 member hotel owners and operators, stepped up to help the city weather the COVID-19 pandemic despite an economic collapse that poses an existential threat to the hotel industry and the 50,000 New Yorkers it employs. Not only have HANYC and individual hotel owners been working around the clock with city and state government to make entire hotels available to frontline health care workers and as makeshift medical facilities to relieve New York City’s overburdened hospitals, but the HANYC Foundation, the charitable arm of the Hotel Association, donated 5,000 N95 masks to Mount Sinai Hospital. The donation was facilitated by Hermann Elger, HANYC Foundation’s chairman and Managing Director of Baccarat New York; Vijay Dandapani, president and CEO of the Hotel Association of New York City; and Mr. Raymond Sun and Mr. Zhujia Hong, local hotel owner representatives, who personally presented the masks to Mount Sinai’s 101st Street Covid-19 donation center on Wednesday. https://www.hotelbusiness.com/helping-hand-hanyc-donates-masks-fau-offers-free-classes/ Back to Top

Lower East Side Girls Club

The Lower Eastside Girls Club of New York launched its Community Action Fund! While the Girls Club practices social distancing, the Community Action Fund will allow the Girls Club to run mentoring and tutoring programs, supply online and material resources for families of members, and provide takeout dinners for local members and their families! Follow @girlsclubny on Twitter for updates. Back to Top

The Salvadori Center

The Salvadori Center, whose mission is to teach K-12 students math, science, and the arts through a collaborative, hands-on, project-based approach, has developed a series of free project-based STEAM lessons for students during remote learning. Each week, Salvadori will provide DOE partners and teachers with lesson plans, teacher guides, student worksheets, lists of materials commonly found at home to complete the lessons, and a design challenge to implement new concepts. Any educator can receive or access the free lessons by signing up at Thecenter@salvadori.org. All lessons can be found here. Back to Top

The Public Theater

The Public Theater has converted its website to highlight access to digital content and provide resources to artists and the general public in the wake of COVID-19. Resources include The Public’s 2019 Shakespeare in the Park productions of Much Ado About Nothing & The Gabriels which are both available for streaming for free via a partnership with WNET New York Public Media; and archived concerts from Joe’s Pub Live! every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8pm; and Watch Me Work, a performance piece, meditation on the artistic process and an actual work session, with Suzan-Lori Parks every day at 5pm. Back to Top

Project Renewal

Project Renewal is providing healthcare at their four shelter-based clinics, three mobile medical vans, and through expanded tele-psychiatry and tele-health systems. They are housing over 2,000 New Yorkers in seven emergency shelters, five transitional homes, and eight permanent supportive buildings. The New York Daily News covered Project Renewal’s social enterprise catering business, City Beet Kitchens – much of whose staff served time in jail, struggled with unemployment, or faced homelessness – which is serving 2,000 meals daily to 21 nonprofits citywide, most of which are homeless shelters. Back to Top

Your LIC

Continuing their long term commitment to their community in Western Queens, four property developers working along the Long Island City waterfront — Plaxall, TF Cornerstone, Simon Baron, and L&L MAG — collaborated with Kasirer on an effort to extend the Your LIC community engagement initiative to assist the community. Through matching donations to the newly formed LIC Community COVID-19 Relief Group, Your LIC is supporting local neighborhood restaurants with donations for meals to be prepared and delivered to residents of nearby New York City Housing Authority developments Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Astoria Houses, and Woodside Houses. Back to Top

Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City

In this moment of uncertainty in our City, Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City (BBBS of NYC) remains singularly focused on supporting and serving the City’s youth and has led the way in putting kids first. With the increased insecurity BBBS kids are experiencing now, our Bigs’ and Littles’ relationships offer essential stability and support. Matches continue to connect through virtual platforms, as the BBBS team generated a list of over 100 possible ways to stay engaged with each other. BBBS also continues HIPPA recruitment and intake, virtually, and has mobilized its workplace partners and moved critical programming for NYC’s high school students online to ensure that young people are developing critical professional skills and actively planning for their post-secondary pathways. Back to Top

Citymeals

As the designated emergency responder for the city’s seniors, Citymeals on Wheels is working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure older New Yorkers have nourishing meals during this public health crisis. While expanded restrictions are keeping New Yorkers at home, Citymeals is maintaining the city’s essential home-delivered meal program for over 18,000 homebound elderly Citymeals recipients, providing critical nourishment and regular wellness check-ins. Citymeals is also now serving an additional 22,000 older people who typically get their breakfast and lunch at local senior centers. So far, Citymeals has delivered more than 150,000 emergency meals to older New Yorkers across the five boroughs and is now preparing and delivering an additional 300,000 emergency meals to meet the growing demand. To address this unprecedented challenge, Citymeals has doubled its warehouse staff and is relying on hundreds of volunteers to pack boxes and bags for delivery across the city. The public can support Citymeals’ emergency response at citymeals.org/donate, and through partnerships. Back to Top

New-York Historical Society

To continue serving the learning community, New-York Historical Society is providing digital social studies resources to students across the City for remote learning. Each week NYHS offers grade level lessons on Zoom, with classes designed for grades kindergarten through high school, accessible on any device with audio accessibility. NYHS is also taking teacher workshops online, with weekly one-hour Zoom workshops designed to help teachers access digital resources, learn exciting new content, and develop remote lessons for students, and is releasing one lesson plan each day with dynamic primary sources, slides, reflection questions, and an extension activity that can be adapted for either remote or at-home instruction for teachers and parents. Join the History @ Home mailing list, and email NYHS at education.outreach@nyhistory.org or professional.learning@nyhistory.org with questions or for guidance. Back to Top

Lincoln Center

Lincoln Center is sharing unique content online, including rarely seen video from decades of Live From Lincoln Center performances, more recent performances from across campus, and livestreams from wherever performances are still happening – empty halls, living rooms, and more — at Lincoln Center AT HOME. Lincoln Center’s offerings have been developed to meet the specific needs of students, families, and arts lovers locally and throughout the world. An initiative designed to support remote learning has been launched, including Lincoln Center Pop-up Classroom, a daily dose of creativity designed and led by some of world’s best artists and educators using simple materials found at home to help families with children explore a variety of art forms (watch anytime at facebook.com/LincolnCenterNYC); and #ConcertsForKids, a new performance series for families featuring a remarkable group of artists who share their world-class artistry and diverse musical perspectives straight from their homes. Back to Top

Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy

While the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s Environmental Education Center is closed, BBPC has created a set of free online activities and lessons for families, students, and teachers to use during this period of remote learning. The lessons have been developed for every age group, with a focus on science and nature topics explored during BBPC’s Environmental Education Center programs. Plans include Great Brooklyn Bridge (recommended for grades 2-5), Reading Rocks (recommended for grades 2-4), Rove the Cove (recommended for grades K-4), Sustainable Landscapes (recommended for grades 5-12), The Awesome Oyster (recommended for grades 4-8), and more. BBPC has also created a Cove Kit Activity Book to remind visitors of their favorite park places, which can be accessed here. Back to Top

92nd Street Y

While 92Y’s regularly scheduled in-person programming is suspended, 92Y is committed to keeping people connected and is finding innovative ways to connect with communities throughout the city and the wider world. 92Y has created a daily email sharing news of livestream events, online learning for adults and children, activities for kids and families to do together at home, specially curated live and archived programs, and much more. Sign up here, and input your email address under “Stay in Touch.” 92Y is keeping seniors in mind, and to support the 650 members of 92Y’s Himan Brown Senior Program, 60 staff members across the institution volunteer to make weekly phone calls to senior citizens to provide meaningful interaction, listen to their needs, have a friendly chat, and offer information about remote learning and community building being offered daily. On the medical front, 92Y has partnered with a Columbia University research and technologies librarian to fabricate face shields for health care workers and first responders, providing space and volunteers. The effort has resulted in over 10,000 face shields which have been distributed to every major hospital in NYC as well as to FDNY and EMS. Read the full story here. Back to Top

Northside Center

Northside Center’s Therapeutic Early Childhood Center, Day School, Early Head Start, and Head Start programs are closed, but Early Intervention continues to work with families offsite and remotely. The Administration for Children’s Services Preventive Services, Home-Based Crisis Intervention, and Juvenile Justice Programs are open and meeting with clients remotely until further notice, and social workers continue to conduct home visits via remote sessions; and the Northside Mental Health Clinic and Clinic in School programs continue to treat clients and operate remotely via Telemental Health. Back to Top

New Visions for Public Schools

New Visions launched a new website dedicated to free, high-quality remote learning resources, covering a wide range of topics, from establishing a digital classroom to subject-specific curricular resources to supporting diverse learners, and is providing free open-source curriculum and education materials to support remote learning available. In less than two weeks, the site had more than 17,000 hits. Back to Top

Ballet Hispánico

For those who have lacked the time or courage to step foot in a studio, Ballet Hispánico — a 50-year-old organization based in Manhattan — is providing a unique opportunity to get started, by broadcasting a series of performances, classes and retrospectives on its Instagram account; the ballet’s School of Dance has activities and classes for children ages 2 to 12. The Ballet is also sharing performances from its repertory, offering classes in salsa, stretching and conditioning, and producing a retrospective on Ballet Hispánico in the 1980s, featuring video and photography from its archive. Back to Top

Museum of Jewish Heritage

The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust has added to its online curriculum additional guides and references for teachers and parents, is posting additional content for online audiences to engage with the Museum and its mission, and is conducting virtual events with staff and outside participants. Back to Top

Ascend Public Charter Schools

Ascend Public Charter Schools is a network of 15 high-performing charter schools in Central Brooklyn,serving grades K-12. When the City called for school closures in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Ascend recognized the hardship for students who rely on school for access to regular meals. As the City opened 435 meal distribution sites across all five boroughs for New Yorkers to pick up three free meals daily, Ascend understood how essential this resource would be for families and acted quickly to translate the Department of Education’s spreadsheet of sites and addresses into a more readily accessible map for families to locate the meal distribution site nearest to them. Ascend’s map and other helpful informational resources related to COVID-19 can be found on their website. Back to Top