Community-based Groups Awarded with NYC Civic Impact Funding Grow COVID-19 Volunteer Efforts

Community-based Groups Awarded with NYC Civic Impact Funding Grow COVID-19 Volunteer Efforts

Photo Courtesy of Google

Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services Corps on Rockaway Boulevard in Ozone Park.

By Michael V. Cusenza

A cohort of 20 community-based organizations awarded with NYC Civic Impact Funding—including several borough groups—have grown volunteer efforts to deliver more than 75,000 meals and groceries to New Yorkers in areas impacted by COVID-19, the de Blasio administration announced Thursday.

In response to the pandemic crisis, NYC Service designed the NYC Civic Impact Funding capacity building model to award nonprofit and community-based organizations up to $10,000 for volunteer engagement efforts that deliver essential services to residents. NYC Service launched the opportunity for the first time in early May to fund nonprofit service providers through the end of June with a focus on organizations in high-need neighborhoods.

After receiving more than 500 applications, 20 funding recipients supporting NYC-based volunteer and civic engagement efforts in response to COVID-19 were selected. Funding recipients applied for up to $10,000 covering expenses such as permanent or temporary employees directly supporting or leading volunteer engagement efforts to deliver critical services, volunteer travel costs, volunteer personal protective equipment, volunteer background checks, and other volunteer management needs.

In partnership with the Food Czar team and Volunteer Coordination Task Force led by NYC Service, community-based organizations providing emergency food services, such as food pantries and kitchens, were identified as priority candidates since these providers have faced an unprecedented volume of New Yorkers in need, as well as other challenges in adapting food access services, and rely heavily on volunteers to prepare and deliver food to those in need.

According to NYC Service, preliminary metrics reported by the 20 NYC Civic Impact Funding Awardees have demonstrated the ability for community-based organizations to expand capacity through volunteer engagement and meet the growing needs in areas affected by COVID-19. Three weeks into the funding period, the recipients have collectively engaged 777 volunteers that have delivered 75,564 meals or boxes of groceries to 19,096 households or individuals.

CBOs across the city have been critical in expanding food access to New Yorkers in need. The Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services Corps located in Southeast Queens focuses on hard to reach populations including older adults, those affected by job loss, and New Yorkers with cultural accommodation needs. The organization generally operates with a total of 16 full-time and temporary staff, and used the funding to support volunteer engagement, staff expenses, volunteer PPE, and travel costs.

“The NYC Civic Impact Fund helped us mobilize five volunteers to support BACDYS ongoing weekly Halal Food Distribution program funded through New York Community Trust and additional support from Brooklyn Community Foundation. The ten-week-long weekly program focused on the most vulnerable Muslim households, which lost income due to COVID-19, and were in dire need for culturally appropriate food support as most of the food support the community in the area is not Halal.  The support of five volunteers helped us greatly to improve the quality of service,” said Rajju Malla Dhakal, executive director of Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services.


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