NYC Hope and Healing Fund Launches

New York, NY – The Brooklyn Community Foundation and United Way of New York City today launched the NYC Haitian Community Hope and Healing Fund. New York City is home to one of the largest Haitian populations outside of Port au Prince–more than 140,000 people – the vast majority of whom live in Brooklyn and Queens. The impact of the January 12, 2010 earthquake has extended well beyond Haiti’s shores, penetrating some of the city’s most vibrant and under-resourced communities.

Check out some launch photos

The NYC Hope & Healing Fund will provide financial support and critical resources to local nonprofit organizations that are attuned to the needs of Haitian American New Yorkers affected by the earthquake; it will also focus on strengthening these organizations so they can most effectively serve the increased number of people needing assistance.  A press conference will also be held WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17 at 10AM at Brooklyn Borough Hall to highlight the needs of the New York City Haitian community and to discuss the goals of the Fund.  

“While attention to date has focused mostly on immediate and short-term needs in Haiti, NYC’s Haitian community will face significant long-term challenges as a result of this tragedy,” said Gordon Campbell, President and CEO of the United Way of New York City.  “They will include psychological and emotional impacts such as trauma and grief, as well as tangible consequences, such as loss of income, orphaned children and other issues that will put members of this vibrant community – of all ages – at risk.”

The Fund is a long-term initiative that will help strengthen New York City community-based organizations so that they can most effectively serve the anticipated increased number of people who need assistance.

Early assessments indicate that the  need for culturally competent, sensitive, and attuned neighborhood-based services will increase dramatically over the coming months and years, and the Fund envisions being a catalyst to develop those resources, which will include immigration assistance, grief and trauma counseling, and English language acquisition.

"The unimaginable scale of destruction and devastation in Haiti stunned and shook us here in Brooklyn as we began to hear about the ripple effects on our Haitian American neighbors living here in New York City” said Marilyn Gelber, President of Brooklyn Community Foundation. ”We listened to community members speak passionately about longer term effects of the earthquake that would inevitably emerge locally and it became clear that there was an urgent need to strengthen the ability of local nonprofit service providers to deal with the range of complicated issues confronting them – from legal services related to family law and immigration, case management for the economic and housing issues as families reunite, educational and literacy needs of new immigrants, services to help cope with the grief of loss, and much more. We are gratified that the United Way of New York City, with their vast experience following the tragedy of 9/11, recognized this local need and joined in partnership with the Brooklyn Community Foundation to create a pooled fund to both provide hope and help heal the Haitian American community of New York City, now and in the future.”

Both Brooklyn Community Foundation and the United Way of NYC have contributed $100,000 to help launch the NYC Hope and Healing Fund; it has received initial funding commitments from the Altman Foundation, Capital One Bank and St. Francis College and will be seeking additional funding from other foundations and corporations as well as donations from the general public. The immediate and long-term needs of the community will be continually assessed and the Fund hopes to raise enough money to support these efforts over time.

"I applaud the Brooklyn Community Foundation and the United Way for creating the Haitian Community Hope & Healing Fund, another extraordinary example of how people of goodwill have come together to open their hearts and wallets in the wake of last month's earthquake. According to one poll, a staggering 59 percent of Haitian Americans in the United States-many of them living in New York City-have lost a loved one in the tragedy, and the Fund will help address the short- and long-term needs of our Haitian American communities in Brooklyn and Queens."” said Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President.

An Advisory Committee comprised of leaders within the Haitian communities of New York City, as well as experts in human services and the long-term effects of disasters on local communities, will meet regularly with program staff from Brooklyn Community Foundation and United Way to guide and advise on the Fund’s approach. The Fund's co-chairs are Carine Jocelyn, Executive Director of Diaspora Community Services, and Dr. William Pollard, President of Medgar Evers College.   

“We know the devastating effects of the earthquake in Haiti and its ripple effect here in the New York area,” said Carine Jocelyn, Co-Chair of the NYC Hope and Healing Fund and Executive Director of Diaspora Community Services. “The Hope and Healing fund is a perfect vehicle to address the short and long term issues.”

“As an institution with a significant number of Haitian-American students, located in the largest population center of Haitians and Haitian-Americans in the country, we, at Medgar Evers College, have felt the devastating effects of this tragedy most acutely,” said Dr. William Pollard, Co-Chair of the NYC Hope and Healing Fund and President of Medgar Evers College. “We are proud to partner with the Fund and its sponsoring organizations.”

“In these difficult times, the formation of strategic partnerships and collaborative alliances are an essential component to the ongoing relief efforts,” said New York City Council Member Councilman Jumaane D. Williams.  “We are fortunate to have the Brooklyn Community Foundation and the United Way of New York City working together on the mid and long term needs of Haitian Americans here in New York.  I am pleased the NYC Hope and Healing Fund will supplement the efforts already begun in my district with the 45th District Haitian Relief Effort.  Having an integrated structure for Haitians to both provide assistance as well as receive assistance will be crucial in the long term.”

Members of the Advisory Committee include Valerie Barton-Richardson, CAMBA; Darnell Benoit, Flanbwayan; Ruddel Deceus, “18 Mai” Committee, Inc.; Christy Gibney, Nonprofit consultant; Alan Goodman, Brooklyn Bureau of Community Service; Yvonne Graham, Brooklyn Borough President’s Office;  Dr. Roy A. Hastick, Sr., Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Chung-Wha Hong, New York Immigration Coalition; Christine Jaus, Dwa Fanm; Ninaj Raoul, Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees; Karl Rodney, Carib News; Regine Roumain, Haiti Culture Exchange; Elsie Saint Louis Accilien, Haitian Americans United for Progress;  Fatima Shama, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs; Robert Siebel, Catholic Charities Brooklyn & Queens; and Farah Tanis, Brooklyn AIDS Task Force.

For more information about the NYC Hope & Healing Fund please visit www.HopeandHealingFund.org.

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ABOUT UNITED WAY FOR NEW YORK CITY
United Way of New York City (UWNYC) brings together people, resources and ideas to achieve long-lasting systemic changes that improve the education, income stability and health of low-income New Yorkers, and foster a more robust and effective nonprofit sector. We believe that everyone has a role in building a better future for all. We offer diverse opportunities for New Yorkers to give, advocate and volunteer to advance the common good. To learn more about our work and how to get involved, visit www.unitedwaynyc.org

ABOUT BROOKLYN COMMUNITY FOUNDATION
The Brooklyn Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people in Brooklyn through grantmaking and by encouraging local giving and community service. The first and only one of its kind in Brooklyn, the Foundation was founded in 2009 to support the borough’s most effective nonprofits in five Fields of Interest: Community Development, Education and Youth Achievement, Caring Neighbors, Art for All, and Green Communities. Since 1998, operating as the Independence Community Foundation, the Foundation distributed over $70 million in grants throughout New York Metro area, more than half of which  were in Brooklyn. More information can be found at: www.BrooklynCommunityFoundation.org