Grants Announced to Aid Haitians in New York

One organization uses music to help Haitian children in New York overcome emotional trauma from the earthquake that struck Haiti in January. Another teaches English to Haitian adults so they can communicate with government agencies and employers. Still others provide social services, legal aid and other support intended to help Haitian immigrants survive and prosper.

All of these organizations will be the recipients of the initial grants issued by a fund created after the Haitian earthquake to aid the Haitian diaspora in New York, officials announced on Sunday. The grants, ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 for a total of $250,000, will help support programs covering social service case management, legal help, healing and education.

The grants are “a first, but important step forward in addressing the longer-term needs of community members,” said Gordon J. Campbell, president and chief executive of the United Way of New York City, which created the fund, NYC Haitian Community Hope and Healing Fund, in cooperation with the Brooklyn Community Foundation.

The recipients were selected based on “their proven track record of achieving results and understanding the community,” Mr. Campbell said.

Among the recipients of the money is Kongo, a Haitian-led organization “dedicated to promoting a better understanding of Haitian Roots music,” according to its grant proposal. In the weeks after the earthquake, the organization held music workshops at an orphanage in Haiti, using “healing songs” as therapy and a way to promote communal spirit. The group will receive $10,000, according to a joint statement by the United Way and the Brooklyn Community Foundation.

At the other end of the financing spectrum, the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn will receive $50,000. The center intends to use the money in support of its work with community-based religious institutions and other groups to provide basic health screening and access to mental health services for the Haitian population, the charities said.

The fund has raised a total of $429,000 so far, about half of which has come from the foundation and the United Way. Additional money has come from the New York State Health Foundation, the Altman Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Capital One Bank, the UJA-Federation, Carver Bank, St. Francis College and individual donors, the charities said.

The fund’s administrators say that while the grants will provide support for immediate needs of the population, they also hope the assistance will help strengthen the recipient organizations for the long term. Many Haitian social service groups in New York are operating on shoestring budgets and have been overwhelmed by a surge in their clients’ demands since the earthquake.

“By providing much-needed fiscal support to, and fostering partnerships and collaboration between these organizations, the Hope and Healing Fund can strengthen New York City’s Haitian community and the nation of Haiti in the long-term,” said William L. Pollard, president of Medgar Evers College and a co-chairman of the fund.