Mechi Estevez

August 2021 Notes from NMIC

Dear Friend:

In this newsletter:

  • NMIC’s collaboration with organizers of the 21st annual Brides’ March bringing forth advocacy efforts against domestic violence. 
  • Since last October we have distributed over $20,000 worth of pet food to our four-legged friends. 
  • Meet Ernesto, our community member. 
  • Learn how you can get involved!
NMIC Joins the Brides’ March


NMIC is proud to, once again, collaborate with other community-based organizations, activists, and the Ricart family in the planning and carrying out of the 21st annual Brides’ March. The march was established in 2001 to honor Gladys Ricart, a Dominican woman from Washington Heights, murdered by her abusive ex-boyfriend on her wedding day. Every year, the march brings together survivors and advocates to fight for a world free of domestic violence. We will begin this year’s march at 8am at the Holyrod Episcopal Church at 715 W 179th Street in Washington Heights. For more information, visit their website.

Through NMIC’s Domestic Violence Project, we provide counseling, safety planning, support groups, legal assistance and so much more because survivors and their families deserve safety and healing.

NMIC & The Hungry Pet Project


Since last October, NMIC and The Hungry Pet Project have distributed over $20,000 worth of pet food. That translates to 5,809 pounds of canned food and over 13,000 pounds of dry food. We are honored that our partnership has helped us amplify our impact to reach our beloved four-legged family members! 

Learn more about The Hungry Pet Project

Meet Ernesto


Before the pandemic Ernesto worked in a hotel, which has since closed because of last year’s shutdown. These last eighteen months have been challenging for him. Ernesto is experiencing food insecurity and the financial hardship of losing employment. His stress is compounded by the uncertainty of his employment future. Unfortunately, stories like Ernesto’s are far too common. 

Our communities specifically represent some of the highest socioeconomic need in New York City and include 9 of the top 10 (out of 59 total) NYC community districts with the highest percentage of residents living below the federal poverty level. Without support, our community members are forced to choose between paying their rent or buying groceries. No one should have to choose between the two but many are. 

At NMIC, we help alleviate immediate crisis and once resolved – we provide our clients with wrap-around holistic services as they define their own goals to reach a more sustainable future. Our food pantry allows Ernesto to use his restricted income for other necessities. We cannot do this work without your support; read below about ways you can make a difference. 

Get Involved

The Excluded Workers Fund is New York’s largest cash relief program for workers. We are committed to ensuring that these eligible excluded workers can access critical relief. 

You can do your part, too. Repost this photo on social media and encourage your followers to do the same. Applications for the Excluded Workers Fund are now open. To learn about qualifications, click here.

The NMIC Advisory Board (NAB) is launching and we are inviting you to learn more about this opportunity. NAB is a group of dedicated professionals who are committed to NMIC’s mission to serve as a catalyst for positive change in the lives of our community members all the while enhancing your resume, fulfilling your passion to serve, and gain hands-on volunteer experience! To apply please fill out this application and send your resume to NAB@nmic.org

Yours in Solidarity,
NMIC

We are Finalists in Inaugural NYC Imagine Awards

We are honored to announce our nomination for the Innovation Award category of The Inaugural NYC Imagine Awards. “It means that the Organization has been identified as a leader in the NYC metro area, exhibiting impactful and innovative operations,” said Ken Cerini, Founder of the Long Island and NYC Imagine Awards. The nomination highlights our collaboration with the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital on the Northern Manhattan, Harlem, and South Bronx Community COVID-19 Vaccination Scheduling Hotline

We are also competing for the Fan Favorite award, which comes with a $3,000 winning prize. That’s where you come in. You can help NMIC win by clicking this link and voting every day. 

ABOUT THE IMAGINE AWARDS
The Imagine Awards is the premier event that shines the spotlight on the nonprofit sector. NMIC was nominated to receive the Innovation Award for our partnership with the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in creating a model for a community-based hotline that has scheduled over 20,000 appointments.

NMIC’s Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, says, “We repeatedly heard from our residents that scheduling vaccinations was challenging due to both language and technological barriers. We are proud to collaborate with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital to eliminate those barriers and secure more than 15,000 appointments for our residents within two months of implementation. A vaccinated community is a safe community, and NMIC is helping make sure we don’t leave any neighbors behind.” To learn more about the Imagine Awards, click here.

NMIC Named as Finalist in Inaugural NYC Imagine Awards

Media Contact

Hillary Needle
Hillary Needle Events Inc.
516-993-4056 | Hillary@hillaryneedleevents.com

Rosanna Montilla-Payano
Director of Development, NMIC
212-822-8328 | rosannamontilla@nmic.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

NMIC NAMED AS FINALIST IN
INAUGURAL NYC IMAGINE AWARDS
NYC Imagine Awards Winners to Be Announced on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at The Edison Ballroom

New York, NY –August 31 2021– NMIC was named a Finalist in the Innovation Award category in The Inaugural NYC Imagine Awards. The NYC Imagine Awards was created to offer formal acknowledgement to some of NYC metro’s most effective and innovative nonprofit organizations.  The success of the Long Island Imagine Awards, now in its 10th year, inspired founder Ken Cerini, CPA, Cerini & Associates LLP, to bring this innovative and inspiring event to NYC to shine a spotlight on the incredible nonprofits in and around the city.  The Inaugural NYC Imagine Awards nonprofit competition will take place on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at The Edison Ballroom, 6-10pm. 

More than 270 entries were submitted for consideration in 5 categories, including Innovation, Leadership Excellence, Rising Star, Social Impact and Arts & Culture. NMIC is one of four finalists in the Innovation Award category.

The Northern Manhattan, Harlem, and South Bronx Community COVID-19 Vaccination Scheduling Hotline is a collaboration between NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and NMIC to provide a wide array of services for these communities. The hotline was launched to proactively reach residents, many of whom have limited access to technology, and help them easily make appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The hotline is unique because it is tailored specifically to the Latinx community by defaulting to the Spanish language (with an English option). It is staffed by a dozen bilingual community members and provides access to free rides to and from appointments (via a collaboration with Lyft). 

Maria Lizardo, Executive Director at NMIC, explains: “Prior to launching our hotline with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, we repeatedly heard from our residents that scheduling vaccinations was challenging due to both  language and technological barriers in making appointments. We are proud that we were able to collaborate with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital to eliminate those barriers and secure more than 15,000 appointments for our residents within two months of implementation. A vaccinated community is a safe community, and NMIC is helping make sure we don’t leave any neighbors behind.”

Finalists were chosen by NYC business and nonprofit professionals during preliminary judging. Members of the Awards’ Distinguished Judging Panel selected the NYC Imagine Awards winners from among the Finalists during final judging.

“Being named a Finalist in NYC Imagine Awards is an important achievement,” said Ken Cerini, Founder of the Long Island and NYC Imagine Awards.  “It means that the Organization has been identified as a leader in the NYC metro area, exhibiting impactful and innovative operations.  Congratulations to all of the Finalists on their achievement.”

Details about NYC Imagine Awards and the list of Finalists in all categories are available at https://nycimagineawards.com/

About NMIC
Established in 1979 to support low-income tenants in Upper Manhattan, our mission is to serve as a catalyst for positive change in the lives of members of our community on their paths to secure and prosperous futures. We provide crisis intervention with legal or social services such as eviction prevention and cash/food relief. We then support clients as they define and achieve their own goals—generally through education, workforce training, and/or community organizing. Our staff of 140 attorneys, advocates, organizers, counselors, educators, etc., serve about 14,000 clients each year with a variety of programs to address Housing, Immigration, Education/Career, Finance/Benefits, Health, and Holistic needs.

About The Imagine Awards
The Imagine Awards was created in 2012 for Long Island by Managing Partner, Ken Cerini of Cerini & Associates, LLP.  Its continued success prompted the expansion into the NYC metro area to honor organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them. The NYC Imagine Awards recognizes outstanding nonprofit performances in the region. Learn more about the NYC Imagine Awards, visit https://nycimagineawards.com/

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March 2021 Notes from NMIC

In March, Americans celebrated Women’s History Month by sharing stories and recognizing the contributions of women in their city, country, and around the world. For us at NMIC, it is difficult not to reflect on the vital role women have played to solve problems in our own community. In fact, in 1979 it was a woman, Barbara Lowry, who founded NMIC, taking the initiative to bring together various community stakeholders to form the first brick and mortar non-profit in Upper Manhattan to provide free legal housing services to immigrants. We are consistently inspired by the women on our staff and in our communities and want them to know our appreciation for their positive impact extends far beyond the month of March.  

Benefit MC Damaris Diaz 

We are so excited to announce that our benefit, The Moment is Now, will be hosted by Damaris Diaz, an embodiment of empowered and successful Latin American women. Born in La Vega, Dominican Republic – she moved to New York with her family as a small child and later settled in New Jersey. She graduated from Seton Hall University with a Bachelor of Arts, in Communications with a concentration in Criminal Justice.  

In 2020, she began corresponding for Despierta America, Univision’s national morning show,developing interesting stories from the NY tri-state area. Her work ethic and dedication have also landed her roles as co-host of Viernes y Mas on UniMasand Made In Hollywood, which marked her cross-over into the general English language market as a correspondent. 

Damaris is a hard worker who has found much success for her work in television, receiving three Emmy nominations! Now, she is giving back to immigrant communities by hosting our event. Please join her, on Thursday April 29 at 6:00 PM, in honoring Dr. Steven Corwin, CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian and the tenant association of 894 Riverside Drive for their contributions to the community. The event is FREE! Click here to reserve your ticket.

If you are interested in learning about how to support our event, please email us at rosannamontilla@nmic.org. 

Staff Spotlight – Meet Jasmine Santana

Jasmine Santana, a 26-year old born and raised in Washington Heights, has always considered the Northern Manhattan community – from neighbors to grocery store owners – a second family. Having experienced how the pandemic disproportionately battered her neighborhood she knew that she needed to apply when she heard that NMIC was hiring part-time employees to assist community members in registering for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“Being part of this effort is at the core of who I am,” says Jasmine, “Our community has suffered disproportionately from the virus, we’ve seen so much loss and pain here. By supporting the hotline and ultimately connecting with people in my community who are the most vulnerable, it is my way of giving back, honoring my late grandfather and all the other lives lost because of COVID-19.” 

With the help of community heroes like Jasmine, we have been able to assist 6,400 residents to sign up to receive the vaccine. You can learn more about Jasmine’s story over at Univision

If you are eligible to receive the vaccine in New York State and you reside in Northern Manhattan or the South and West Bronx, call our COVID-19 Vaccination Scheduling Hotline at 646-838-0319. 

The Women of NMIC’s DVP

We are honored to work with and serve the resilient participants of NMIC’s Domestic Violence Project. In 1996 several women at NMIC recognized the connection between domestic abuse and housing instability and launched the Domestic Violence Project (DVP). Since then, we have promoted the safety and independence of over 2,000 survivors. 

DVP has been an avid participant helping mobilize survivors to attend, speak, and support the outreach efforts of the Brides’ March which was established as a day of action and awareness for the murder of Gladys Ricart – a Dominican woman from Washington Heights – on her wedding day by her abusive former boyfriend.

Staff and survivors worked together again in 2012 to form a worker-led nanny cooperative with the goal of each member owning a portion of their business. This past year, DVP served over 400 survivors with bilingual community-based counseling, case management, and legal services. We are thrilled to share a little about our team and the amazing work they do everyday of the year. Check them out at the 2020 Advocates of NYC

With gratitude,
The NMIC Team

January 2021 Notes from NMIC

According to the 2018 NYC Volunteers Count report an estimated 600,000 people volunteered their time to uplift a fellow New Yorker. Of those, 65% chose to directly impact their neighborhoods by volunteering for a local community-based organization. 

Every day, we witness the power of volunteers who have identified community-wide concerns and are taking actions. These actions make our work possible and helps us service over 14,000 clients annually. 

Read below for an update on the milestones you’ve helped us accomplish, a celebration of an unlikely partnership, and why volunteering your time can lead to new relationships, understanding of barriers, and more importantly – can support someone’s empowerment. On this Martin Luther King Jr.’s day, we reflect on the power of community action. 

Honoring MLK Day of Service

In 1983, legistation was signed to honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and designate a national day of service. The day’s slogan is “Make it a day on, not a day off.” During these challenging times, the work must continue. 

Soon, it will be a year since the pandemic began impacting our lives. As we reflect on a year filled with challenges and grief, we are reminded of the positive effect that strong community-wide efforts have. In 2020, you helped NMIC fight food insecurity by giving almost 700 hours of service. Of those who volunteered during our food pantry, more than half are recurring – volunteering two or more times. You distributed over 77,000 pounds of food to local families in need. 

We were flooded with requests from local community members and businesses who wanted to help. High-skilled volunteers donated their expertise to bring awareness to the unique experiences of our clients. We are truly grateful to everyone who took the time to share our content, volunteer their time, give advice, send a donation, and make a connection. 

Our community is resilient. There is more to be done and we know you will meet this moment. If you are interested in getting involved, email us at rosannamontilla@nmic.org. 

Volunteer Spotlight – Meet Caleb

Even as a freshman in high school, Caleb finds the time to volunteer – all while completing his school assigned reading. 

“I came to NMIC when Fort Washington Collegiate Church put out the call for volunteers. I keep coming back to NMIC, because I realized that it’s easy to make a difference right in my neighborhood. Especially during COVID, people need help more than ever. And I am proud to do this.” Caleb, we are proud of you! 

The Hungry Pet Project

Image by The Hungry Pet Project

We have seen images of, or personally experienced, extensive blocks-long lines of people waiting to pick up food at their local pantry. What is not often shown is how food insecurity is affecting our furry friends: family pets. A few months ago, we were approached by The Hungry Pet Project, Partnership for Shelter Animals NYC to distribute cat and dog food to families facing insecurity. A one-time donation evolved into a partnership that has now allowed us to provide a source of dependable pet food to our clients. 

We have seen images of, or personally experienced, extensive blocks-long lines of people waiting to pick up food at their local pantry. What is not often shown is how food insecurity is affecting our furry friends: family pets. A few months ago, we were approached by The Hungry Pet Project, Partnership for Shelter Animals NYC to distribute cat and dog food to families facing insecurity. A one-time donation evolved into a partnership that has now allowed us to provide a source of dependable pet food to our clients. 

The partnership’s goal is to help keep pets in their homes. According to The Hungry Pet Project, “No one should have to choose between feeding themselves or feeding their pets.” And what might a dog say before eating? Bone Appetite!  

If you’d like to help, you can purchase items from the Amazon Wish List curated by The Hungry Pet Project.

Yours in Community,
NMIC

Your Gifts Continue To Work in this Time of Uncertainty

Dear Friends,

I personally never thought I’d be writing a fundraising appeal in the middle of a world crisis. And yet, here we are. And because you and I know that the world, and our community, is better together, I felt the importance of reaching out to you.  

How are you? Are you doing okay? We’re thinking of you!

As a donor, you are probably wondering what NMIC is doing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. That is exactly why I am reaching out to you today.  

We are still serving our clients. We’ve moved our existing services online, so we’re offering classes through zoom, counseling by WhatsApp, and many of our other services using whatever technology is most accessible to our clients. We are also keeping our community informed through our social media pages and are about to launch a hotline to ensure people can get direct access to our services by phone.  

We are continually watching for official updates. Whether it is from Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, or the CDC, we are staying on top of the information coming to us and abiding by their orders. Once we receive the information, our staff is evaluating what it means for clients, staff, volunteers, and the community; and creating or adjusting plans as quickly possible.  

We will be here when this is all over. Like you, we aren’t sure what the full impact is going to be on our community, but we do know this – we will be needed now more than ever before.  

Rest assured; your gifts continue to work during this time of uncertainty.

Until we see each other again, please take care of yourself, your families, and your friends.

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