Local Haitian-Led Organizations Receive Funding to Meet Rising Needs in NYC in Wake of January Earthquake

-- $250,000 awarded to 12 local organizations to help address long-term social service, legal, trauma and educational needs of NYC’s Haitian American communities in earthquake aftermath --

April 12, 2010, New York, NY – The Brooklyn Community Foundation and United Way of New York City today announced that $250,000 from the NYC Haitian Community Hope and Healing Fund (Hope and Healing Fund) will be awarded to twelve New York City nonprofit organizations working in four key issue areas: case management; legal; healing; and education. Launched in February 2010—one month after the devastating earthquake in Haiti—the Hope and Healing Fund was created to provide financial support and critical resources to local nonprofit organizations that are attuned to the needs of Haitian American New Yorkers and to strengthen these organizations so they can most effectively serve the increased number of people needing assistance. This first round of funding will help weave together the expertise of local nonprofits—many of which are Haitian-led—in dealing with increased needs following the earthquake. Additional grant awards will follow in the coming months. 

“The NYC Haitian Community Hope and Healing fund is a local response to a rising tide of need,” said Marilyn Gelber, President of Brooklyn Community Foundation. ”The Brooklyn Community Foundation and the United Way of New York City have been working closely with the Fund’s Advisory Committee to better understand the community’s needs and we will continue to keep watch on these issues as they develop and grow in number,” she said. 

“The grants awarded today by the NYC Haitian Community Hope and Healing Fund is a first, but important step forward in addressing the longer-term needs of community members,” said Gordon Campbell, President and CEO of the United Way of New York City. “Selected because of their proven track record of achieving results and understanding of the community in which they serve, the twelve grantees will fulfill a critical role in the months ahead.”

The following culturally competent, community-based organizations working in four areas: case management, legal services, healing, and education will receive funding:

Case Management: To connect those seeking services with existing resources that address immigration, family reunification and adoption, and other legal issues, housing, financial assistance and public benefits, grief and trauma counseling, and job training and placement.

  • CAMBA: A multi-faceted human service agency to assist smaller, Haitian-led organizations with technical assistance, case referrals and advice. 
  • Diaspora Community Services: A Haitian-led, community-based human service organization in Brooklyn to provide services to a wide range of individuals and families.
  • Haitian Americans United for Progress: A Haitian-led, community-based human service organization in Queens to provide culturally competent services to a wide range of individuals and families.
  • Haitian Family Resource Center at the Haitian First Church of the Brethren: A grassroots, Haitian-led family resource center in Brooklyn to provide case management and legal services in welcoming, comfortable environment for immigrants, newcomers and current community members.

Legal Services: To support Haitians and people of Haitian descent seeking help securing Temporary Protective Status or facing other immigration issues in the United States.

  • Brooklyn Defender Services: A Brooklyn-based legal services provider partnered with volunteer bar and currently engaged with Haitian community with issues surrounding Temporary Protection Status (TPS) to provide ongoing legal services in Brooklyn’s Haitian community. 
  • CUNY Citizenship Now!: A legal services provider with wide-ranging experience in immigration law with an office located at Medgar Evers College to work on individualized cases, conduct follow-up, lend general expertise and take on more difficult immigration cases.
  • Lutheran Social Services of Metropolitan New York: Legal services provider partnered with Haitian First Church of the Brethren to provide direct, on-site services.

Healing: To support the grief stricken of all generations in the immediate and longer term.

  • Haiti Cultural Exchange: A Haitian-led cultural organization which emphasizes culture as a healing and stable force among Haitian community members to design and implement cultural, community-based programming for children, youth and adults that bring the community together.
  • KONGO: A Haitian-led cultural organization to use Haitian music as a means to engage children and youth in the healing process.
  • SUNY Downstate Medical Center: Crown Heights Teaching Hospital which provides health, wellness and clinical mental health services for the Haitian community; will work with community-based religious institutions and others to provide basic health screening and access to mental health services.

Education: To provide English language acquisition opportunities for youth and adults so they have a better chance of succeeding in school and in the workforce.

  • Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project: A Haitian-led advocacy and service organization to work with children and youth on the acquisition of English language skills.
  • Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees: A Haitian-led direct service organization to work with adults on basic English language acquisition so that individuals can more effectively interact with government, community-based service providers and employers.

To date, the NYC Haitian Community Help and Healing Fund has raised $429,000. Both Brooklyn Community Foundation and the United Way of New York City contributed $100,000 to help launch the initiative in February. Additional funding 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 from individuals. The short and long-term needs of the community will be continually assessed, and the Fund hopes to raise enough funding to support these efforts over time.

An Advisory Committee comprised of leaders from within the Haitian communities of New York City, as well as experts in the long-term effects of disasters on local communities, meets 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.  

“The leadership and concern shown by the United Way of New York City and Brooklyn Community Foundation as well as the dedication of the advisory committee should be applauded. I am encouraged by this important time for the Hope and Healing Fund and ultimately for the benefit of the Haitian community in New York City,” said Jocelyn.

"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 Haitian's community and the nation of Haiti, in the long-term," said Pollard.

The Hope and Healing Fund’s Advisory Committee includes: Darnell Benoit,  Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project; 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. Eda Harris-Hastick; Chung-Wha Hong, New York Immigration Coalition; Christine Jaus, Dwa Fanm; Joanne Oplustil, CAMBA; Ninaj Raoul, Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees; Karl Rodney, Carib News; Regine Roumain, Haiti Cultural 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, Black Women’s Blueprint, Inc..

New York City is home to one of the largest Haitian populations outside of Port au Prince–more than 140,000 individuals – the vast majority of whom live in Brooklyn and Queens. The need for culturally aware and attuned neighborhood-based services will increase dramatically over the coming months and years. The Fund envisions being a catalyst to develop those resources, which will have been identified to include assistance with immigration and legal services, grief and trauma counseling and education/English language acquisition. For more information about the Hope & Healing Fund please visit www.HopeandHealingFund.org.

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

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 through five Fields of Interest: Community Development, Education and Youth Achievement, Caring Neighbors, Arts for All, and Green Communities. Since 1998, operating as the Independence Community Foundation, the Foundation distributed more than $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