Administrator

Let’s Build Together

Dear Friends,

Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, we at NMIC have found ourselves having to quickly create new structures to support our clients in these troubling times. Our clients already live well below the poverty line, and now they are facing one of the largest disruption of their lives.

WHAT WE’VE DONE:

Despite not being able to provide services from our offices, NMIC staff members are addressing immediate crisis. We’re helping clients access unemployment benefits, providing immigration and housing advice, and connecting them to benefits and finance resources to address food and resource insecurity. We’re also providing services to address increased mental health needs. We even launched a hotline for community members living in Upper Manhattan and the Southwest Bronx to address many of the issues we named above. 

It is critical for us, that in this time of chaos, to represent stability, hope, and a path forward for our community members. That’s where you come in.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Our COVID-19 Emergency Fund gives us the flexibility to adapt our approach to our community’s needs. Donations made to the emergency fund will be used to address unexpected needs relating to COVID-19. Most recently it has been in the form of alleviating the heartbreak of losing loved ones by helping with burial expenses. With your support, whatever the need is, we’ll be able to address it. 

We are still here. We are our clients’ link to the resources they need. Hearing a friendly voice during times of social distancing makes a big difference. Undoubtedly, we will experience loss together, but we will build together like we have done so many times before. Trust is the intangible force that bind us together. 

Support us now, we are all counting on each other to make it through. Giveto connect. 

Donate now

In Community,

Maria Lizardo, LMSW
Executive Director

Make an online gift today.

COVID Update

Dear Members of the NMIC Community,

NMIC remains committed to our mission and communities while following all guidance given to us from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the New York State Department of Health. We are in communication with City and State agencies as we continue to monitor public health and safety conditions. 

Like you, we are concerned about keeping our community and ourselves safe from the spread of the novel COVID-19 (coronavirus). As of Monday, March 16, 2020, we are taking the precaution of suspending on-site programming and implementing a remote work model of modified service delivery.

I want to reassure you that we have developed safety plans for our staff and created safety nets for our clients experiencing immediate service needs. If the City suspends individual services, we will follow instructions while helping our clients navigate the process. This is unprecedented for us, you, and our community partners. 

We will maintain immediate and open communication with our staff, clients, funders, supporters, and elected officials. 

I want to encourage you all to take good care of your health and well-being, to stay informed of the latest facts, and to seek and give support to others around you and in our community.

For up to date information, please visit our website, www.nmic.org, follow us on social media @NMICnyc, email us at info@nmic.org, or call us at 212-822-8300. 

Yours in solidarity,

Maria Lizardo, MSW
Executive Director

Event Cancellation

Dear Members of the NMIC Community,

I write today to let you know that the New York Celebrates Women event to be held on Sunday, March 15, 2020 from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM at the Harmonie Club has been cancelled out of an abundance of precaution for our community’s wellbeing. New York is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and guidance/updates issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the New York State Department of Health. NMIC is taking preventative measures to ensure the safety of our attendees.

Here at NMIC, we celebrate women and our accomplishments all year. We hope to get the opportunity to celebrate with you at a future event. You will receive a full refund for the value of the ticket purchased.

Many thanks for your understanding and support. If you need immediate assistance, please email Rosanna Montilla-Payano at rosannamontilla@nmic.org.

Yours in Solidarity,

Maria Lizardo, MSW
Executive Director

We’re Turning Resolutions into Action Plans

  Hey there,

We’re already three weeks into January, and after a well-deserved holiday break, we’re back to work! In this New Year’s themed newsletter, we’ll tell you about:

  • Our New Year’s resolution: to fundraise more.
  • Our new board chair, Juan A. Arteaga.
  • Our most recent High School Equivalency graduation.

We’re turning New Year’s resolutions into Action Plans

Last year was a whirlwind and we got so much done! One thing we dropped the ball a bit on was fundraising. We didn’t get as many donations as we wanted. Our supporters help us continue to provide our community with FREE housing, health, and education/career assistance.

Today, we’re putting our resolution to fundraise more into action. This month, we have a goal of just $1,000. A one-time donation, or even better, a monthly one, can have more impact than you know. Not only will your gift today put us on track to smashing our 2020 goals, but it will also help the people we serve.

You  can be the reason 2020 is a great year for one of our clients. You can support them as they finally get their High School Equivalency diplomas, leave abusive relationships, or become U.S. citizens.

If your resolution this year is to do more good, consider becoming a member of our Spark Collective. Just $40 a month can make a massive difference in the lives of our community members. If you can’t commit to that, just $5 to $10 today from ten or twenty of you can help us reach this month’s fundraising goal.

New Year, New Board Chair 

Please join us in thanking our former NMIC Board Chair, Sandra Harris, for her five years of service in the role. During her term, Sandra brought to NMIC the same energy and determination that has characterized her career and position as Assistant Vice President of Government & Community Affairs at Columbia University Medical Center. Though Sandra will no longer be our Board Chair, we are so happy she will remain a member of the board.

Sandra, your years of service to our community and organization have been incredible. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Now, join us in welcoming our new NMIC chair, Juan A. Arteaga. Like his predecessor, Juan is known for his commitment to our community. He has served on NMIC’s board since 2018 and brings years of valuable experience to the table. He’s currently a partner at Crowell and Moring LLP and previously served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Enforcement in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice during the Obama administration. He also served as the Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division.

¡Bienvenido, Juan! We look forward to growing under your leadership. ¡Manos a la obra!

We also want to take a moment to congratulate the other board members voted onto the Executive Committee, including Cheryl Kallem, Vice-chair; Ethan Miller, Treasurer; and Evelyn De La Rosa, Secretary.

Congratulations to our latest grads

Join us in wishing good luck to our most recent cohort of High School Equivalency graduates. After completing NMIC’s course, they received their diplomas in a beautiful, intimate ceremony. But their journeys aren’t over yet! Our dedicated Education & Career Services team will continue to offer participants the support they need to succeed. Whether it be employment readiness and placement assistance or college enrollment, we’re here to help our community members achieve all their goals.

For our clients, this achievement is a step towards higher-paying jobs, increased employment opportunities, and for some, access to higher education. We think that’s a pretty fantastic way to kick off 2020.

Many of our students face innumerable challenges in their day-to-day lives, like immigration issues, domestic violence, or homelessness. These diplomas aren’t just about academic success. They’re testaments to how hardworking, determined, and strong our students are. You can help us continue to connect our clients with the services they need for brighter and more self-sufficient futures.

Yours in Solidarity,
NMIC

December Notes from NMIC

Hi there,

The end of the year is only a couple of weeks away and in keeping with that spirit we’ve decided to make this year’s last Notes from NMIC celebratory! We’re highlighting you (our incredible supporters) and members of NMIC staff who have been hard at work to make our community stronger and healthier! Too busy to read right now? Check out the highlights below until you can read the full stories.

  • Because of your generous support, we’ve raised $500 in just two weeks, but need to raise $4,500 more by December 31st. Donate now.
  • NMIC and staff attorney Matthew Chachere have been hard at work making sure the injustice of lead poisoning doesn’t remain hidden. We’ve been all over the news!
  • Our Education & Career Services Department works hard to create a learning environment that’s responsive to our clients’ needs. They provide students with free care packages of frequently requested items.

We have $4,500 left to raise by December 31st.

Earlier this month, we set a goal of raising $5,000 for our much-needed services. Thanks to your generosity, we’ve made a dent in that number, but we still have a ways to go. This holiday season, your donations mean everything to our clients who turn to us for support with housing crises, domestic violence, access to healthcare, and career support. Together, we help these resilient individuals on their paths towards self-sufficiency. Can you pledge $25 or more today?

Your contributions support families battling eviction this New Year’s, neighbors working towards their high school equivalency diplomas, and more of the critical work NMIC does. Once you make your donation, increase your impact by encouraging your loved ones to make a donation as well.

NMIC is keeping lead poisoning in the news 

Far too often, our communities bear the brunt of negligence in silence. Thanks to the tireless work of our very own staff attorney, Matthew Chachere, NMIC has kept lead poisoning in the news these past few weeks. He has been busy authoring papers about lead poisoning and providing testimony about the lack of punishment for those who expose tenants to lead. You can read more about it here, here and here.

Today, children and low-income families, in particular, continue to be subjected to lead poisoning and its damaging health effects with relative impunity. For years, Matthew has advocated for (and achieved!) lead reform to protect our families from lead exposure at home and in our schools. While he focuses on helping families in our community, his legislative advocacy benefits low-income children throughout NYC.

Dedicated NMIC staff goes above and beyond

We want to highlight our Education & Career Services Department for going above and beyond in their support of our clients! For our clients, and any student, access to sanitary products can make a real academic difference. So our team puts together these care packages, including items clients often ask for, like hand sanitizer, sanitary napkins, and tampons. It is because of the care and attention our clients receive from our staff that NMIC has become a neighborhood institution.

As if providing free classes and trainings that set community members on their paths towards fulfilling their academic and career goals weren’t enough. Not all superheroes wear capes, some make care packages.

You can support our clients as they strive for better futures for themselves and their families.

Yours in Solidarity,
NMIC

Help us raise $5000 for our critical services

Hi there,

Giving Tuesday has arrived, and we have so much to be thankful for. Over the last few weeks, we’ve shared stories from our community with the hope they would stir you to support our efforts to catalyze positive change. Collecting these stories has allowed us to reflect on the past year and take stock of the many things we’ve accomplished.

Last week, you met Fred Arcoleo, the local artist who has been a loyal client (through sickness and in health) of our first worker coop, Ecomundo. We told you how NMIC is putting collective power into community hands through programs like our worker cooperatives.  

We introduced you to Eugenia, who came to us looking to improve her career and left happily employed. You learned how our education and career services are helping people on the path to self-sufficiency by providing them with the tools to improve their careers. 

We told you about the Cruzes, the disabled family of four who came to us from a shelter. We connected them with expert legal advice in housing and immigration issues, and to healthcare and a food pantry. Our capacity to address several urgent client needs under one roof is what makes us a cornerstone of our community.  

This Giving Tuesday help us raise $5000 for these critical services. With today’s donation you make it possible for us to provide free services that help community members resolve their crises and achieve their goals. Thank you for all you do to support our work.

Yours in Solidarity,
NMIC

We are putting power back into collective community hands.

Hi there,

At NMIC, we often talk about how much pride we take in building futures, changing lives, and empowering communities. That’s because these are more than words for us. We don’t just offer free services; we’re providing our clients with the resources and opportunities they need to reach their full potential as community assets. 

This is why when you donate to NMIC you’re actually investing in our community members—and they go on to strengthen our neighborhoods.

These past two weeks, we’ve shared our client’s stories  here  and  here. Today, we’re doing something different. Meet Fred Arcoleo. He’s not a client of  ours, he’s a client of our first worker coop, Ecomundo.  

Fred has lived in Washington Heights for 22 years. He is a teacher at a local high school, an artist, and a loyal customer of Ecomundo Cleaning. Some time ago, Fred became ill and was no longer able to clean his own apartment. He remembered his friend Jennifer, a former NMIC staff member, telling him about a worker-owned small business she had helped get started through her work with us. Intrigued by the idea of a small worker-owned cooperative where the owners shared their profits with each other, he booked a session.  

It was a “saving grace. Really, they saved me,” Fred told us. Working with a coop was a completely different experience. By making the business model communal, the dynamic among the workers and between them and Fred was unlike anything he’d ever experienced. “It’s a beautiful thing, I love how they operate. Our whole society should be more like this.”  

Fred has since gotten better and was married last year. He still books Ecomundo to clean his apartment despite the added expense because he feels it brings a bit of equity to the neighborhood. He’s built a rapport with the worker-owners who clean his home and is continuously amazed by their “outstanding work ethic” and partnership. His wife, a former cleaner herself, is meticulous with high standards for cleanliness. He says, even she thinks Ecomundo’s work is done thoroughly.  

What makes Ecomundo Cleaning so special? For one, it’s a small green cleaning business entirely owned by its members. More than half are survivors of domestic violence, many of whom were referred by our Domestic Violence Project. Others came to Ecomundo through other NMIC programs or organizations throughout the city. You can book their services here.  

We are proud of how far Ecomundo has come since its founding in 2012. Last year, they booked $550,000 in revenue which provided a living wage for all 18 member-owners. Together, they’ll reinvest money to grow their business. These investments will translate into more profit in the future! 

NMIC is putting power back into collective community hands. By providing these innovative tools, we are helping our clients break cycles of violence and poverty. It wouldn’t be possible without your support.  

Help us bring equity to our community.

Yours in Solidarity,
NMIC

Meet Eugenia. She was recently hired because of you.

Hi There,

It’s the end of the year, and everyone from the charity next door to your own family is hitting you up for money. We could tell you we have been serving our community for 40 years, that we served 14,000 people and got them over $14 million in cash benefits last year.  

But we’re not going to do that.  

Instead, we’ll let our clients’ stories speak for themselves. We hope, after reading how NMIC has changed their lives, you’ll feel inspired to support them by donating today.  

Last week, we introduced you to the Cruz family (if you missed it, you can see it here). Today, meet Eugenia Nuñez.

EUGENIA’S STORY 

2019 was going to be Eugenia Nuñez’s year. The 20-year resident of Inwood had been working as a home health aide since 1995 and was ready for a change. Wanting to put her compassion and people skills to work, she completed a course at Lehman College to be a medical assistant. But her English felt like a barrier that kept her from advancing her career. Inspired by encounters with a growing number of professionals who spoke less English than she did, Eugenia decided to “go for it.”  

Eugenia first came to NMIC looking for help updating her resume. Our Education & Career Services staff enrolled her into Jobs to Build On and connected her with one of our Career Solutions Managers to assist in her job search.  

Later, Eugenia returned to NMIC with her mother, who needed assistance with an immigration issue, and saw something on the wall that would change her life.  

The flyer was for an Intro to Healthcare Opportunity event, a partnership between the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ) and the 1199SEIU union to connect upper Manhattan residents with union employment.  

After years of unsuccessful applications with 1199 that never resulted in a call-back, Eugenia attended NMIC’s event. There, she was referred to 1199’s Employment Center and sent to interview with two major hospitals.  

Finally, success. 

Her interview with a department head at NewYork-Presbyterian’s Lower Manhattan Hospital went better than she’d imagined possible. “Right away we had a connection, and he said, ‘I got you, Eugenia.'”  

Eugenia started a part-time housekeeping position in the hospital’s Environmental Services department in September. She plans to work her way up the ladder and become a medical assistant. 

“You guys made the whole connection.”  

We may have made the connection, but Eugenia sealed the deal. She’s currently happy at her new job and says they may offer her a permanent, full-time role soon.  

NMIC is more than the services we offer our clients; we are an institution that signifies hope, opportunity, and empowerment for our community. Together, we are capable of changing lives right now. Tell Eugenia, and others like her, that you got them.

Yours in Solidarity,
NMIC

Be a Catalyst for Change

One story, one client, one life we’ve changed because of you.

With Giving Tuesday and the end of the year around the corner, we know your inbox is flooded with requests to donate to worthy causes. We have 14,000 reasons we need your support: our clients. Every week leading up to Giving Tuesday, we want to share their stories. One story, one client, one life we’ve changed each week because of the generous support we receive from people like you.

THE CRUZ FAMILY 

As a disabled family of four living in a shelter, the Cruz family faced significant challenges ranging from housing to immigration to food insecurity. With three family members in wheelchairs, mobility access was also a concern. After multiple outreach attempts and surmounting difficulties with scheduling Access-A-Ride, we were finally able to get the Cruzes in to see us.

Once with us, we made the most of the opportunity by leveraging our full breadth of services and partnerships. These included same-day legal consultations with an immigration attorney and a housing specialist, immediate enrollment in our on-site mobile food pantry—offered with West Side Campaign Against Hunger—and a connection to specialized health insurance through another partner agency. This breadth of support, all offered by bilingual and culturally competent staff, had an immediate and profound impact on the Cruzes.

This is what makes NMIC such a critical resource to our community. Our staff can identify and address a broad array of urgent needs with our numerous crisis intervention services, all under a single roof. By providing flexible scheduling and coordinating care among multiple programs, we put this family on the path to better and more empowered lives. Partners like SOMOS, a network of doctors who refer patients to community-based organizations for wrap-around services, understand that; it’s why they referred the Cruz family to us. Today, we’re asking you to help support us in this work.

Yours in Solidarity,
NMIC

October Notes from NMIC

Hi there,

The end of the year is coming and at NMIC we have much to celebrate and be grateful for. First, we fixed a technical issue that was causing our emails to go to spam, so if you signed up for our newsletter and hadn’t heard from us until today–welcome! Also,

  • We celebrated our 40th anniversary by raising a whopping $115,000,
  • NMIC was in the news with PIX11’s Monica Morales and Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa,
  • In commemoration of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we inaugurated a new memorial garden in front of our building, and other End-of-Year updates.

NMIC’s Benefit raised $115,000 for critical services 

Earlier this month, NMIC celebrated its 40 years of service with a benefit celebrating our inspiring honorees, clients, board, staff, and sponsors. Thanks to the support of our generous community, we raised over $115,000, which we will invest in our innovative services for the 14,000 clients we serve annually.

Salomon Severin is one of those clients and we were pleased to present him with the Inspiring Hope Award. When he came to us, he was living in a group home. After four years of hard work, Salomon received his High School Equivalency diploma and is now living independently and awaiting the spring to begin college. During his acceptance speech Salomon said, “With shared effort, we all can be great and learn something new. I want to thank everyone at NMIC for believing in me and encouraging me to pursue my passion and my dreams. It was a shared effort. They did a terrific job of helping me out when I was struggling. I could [always] turn to them for guidance. I hope that this encourages other students to believe in themselves and pursue their diplomas and dreams. You just got to go get it. You have to give back to your community and encourage people to pursue their dreams.”

You can watch the video we played during the event by clicking the image above.

PIX 11 visits NMIC to learn about our free classes

Monica Morales, of PIX 11, came by NMIC earlier this month and filmed a segment on our tenants’ rights workshops and ESOL classes, which empower our community members to speak out and advocate for themselves. Monica visited one of these classes to speak to our students along with our Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, and Assemblymember, Carmen De La Rosa. Here, she learned how hard it can be for tenants to preserve their housing rights and how important NMIC’s range of classes is to empower tenants to do just that. Tenants’ rights workshops educate community members about the rights they have as tenants while ESOL classes help them learn the English they need to better advocate with their landlords to leverage those rights.

If anyone you know needs ESOL or High School Equivalency classes, our next cycle begins in January. For more information, call 212-822-8314 to schedule an intake appointment. You can attend any of our free bilingual tenants’ rights workshops on the first Wednesday of every month. The next one will be held on November 6th, from 6:30 to 7:30 PM at our offices at 45 Wadsworth Avenue (175th Street) on the first floor. Mark your calendars and we hope to see you there!

A Garden of Hope

Yajaira Parra was only 24 when her husband killed her in 2004. She was a mother to a four-year-old child. After immigrating to New York from the Dominican Republic, Yajaira was working and sending money back to support her family, including a paralyzed sister.

Through a generous grant from the City Gardens Club of NYC, NMIC is pleased to announce the inauguration of a memorial garden in front of our building. We dedicated it to Yajaira, along with all victims and survivors of domestic violence, and it has been tended to and nurtured by a group of survivors. Together, we hope it can serve as a visual reminder to raise awareness and as an outlet for healing by reconnecting us to nature in an urban landscape.

At NMIC, every month is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We will continue to provide counseling, legal support, and holistic services for survivors throughout the year. Will you?

2019 is coming to a close

The weather is getting cooler and the holidays are around the corner. As you prepare to celebrate with family and friends, we ask that you think of our clients. Many of them are immigrants facing holidays marred by separation from their families, some are victims of domestic violence, and others are grappling with housing issues.

Your end-of-year contributions are tax-deductible and also have real-life impacts on our community. This year we served over 14,000 clients. More than 1,000 students were enrolled in classes and trainings that put them on paths to secure, sustainable, and prosperous futures. We stopped over 1,300 evictions, including one that threatened to put a 91-year-old immigrant on the streets. Every day, the world grows more hostile for the communities we serve. You can help us fight for our clients by becoming a catalyst for positive change. Become a monthly donor; encourage family members and loved ones to do so, too.

Yours in Solidarity,
NMIC

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