Businesses are seeing more customers and hiring back workers, and federal stimulus money is helping many make ends meet. But how can we build back a more equitable and vital city? The following are new grants that seek to improve life for struggling New Yorkers, and make sure we are ready for the next crisis.
Though many nonprofits now provide classes, assistance, and community over laptops and smartphones, some potential participants still lack access to these services. Older New Yorkers, who suffered from isolation even before the pandemic, often struggle to connect.
The New York Community Trust is working to change this. With a $116,000 grant, Brooklyn Public Library is holding virtual workshops for older adults, offering telephone support, and training staff on technology access so older adults are comfortable with technology and take more advantage of online offerings.
In Hunts Point in the Bronx, THE POINT Community Development Corporation has been supplying affordable wireless to local residents, using community-owned equipment to broadcast mobile signals. A $330,000 grant is helping THE POINT create more hotspots and train residents in hosting and maintaining the local network. The group also is researching the viability of community ownership for its network.
Meanwhile, Community Tech NY is using a $250,000 Trust grant to support three low-income NYC communities of color as they promote digital equity and build internet tools and services as long-term, community-centered solutions to the digital divide.
The city’s world-renowned arts and cultural sector has struggled with the pandemic, shutting down offerings that are a source of inspiration, recreation, and comfort for millions. But if the pandemic has closed one part of city life, it has popularized another, with the use of green spaces blooming as New Yorkers look to do as much as possible outside.
With the upcoming summer shaping up to be one of heightened outdoor activity, we are helping arts and cultural groups stage more events in parks and plazas through Green/ArtsLive NYC. This program, created by the Open Culture Coalition and supported through a $250,000 grant to City Parks Foundation, will help artists navigate permits, provide microgrants to cover fees, and prioritize groups from neighborhoods disproportionately affected by COVID.
Long Island is the epicenter of the state’s opioid epidemic. People struggling with addiction often don’t get the help they need, and the pandemic has further limited their ability to get treatment. Our Long Island Community Foundation gave $20,000 to Well-Life Network to expand telehealth services to this community.
From the first days of the pandemic, emergency medical technicians and paramedics have been on the frontlines, working long hours as COVID hit New York hard. They continue to battle the effects of the virus even at the risk of their own health and lives. Despite suffering from elevated stress and trauma, many of these workers still don’t have access to mental healthcare. With a Trust grant of $130,000, the Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of NYC will create peer support groups and an emergency hotline, and connect emergency workers with mental-health providers.
New York State has failed to adequately protect residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Often, when a facility has been served a violation, New York State has neglected to ensure the problem gets fixed, an issue exacerbated by the pandemic.
“COVID-19 has had a catastrophic impact on nursing home residents and their families,” said Richard J. Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition. “In addition to being the most vulnerable to the disease, nursing home residents have suffered unimaginable levels of neglect and isolation over the last year.”
The organization’s Tri-County LTC Ombudsman Program is using $40,000 from our Westchester Community Foundation to monitor care facilities in the county, support residents and their families, and advocate for better care and treatment with dignity.