May 2023 – Notes from NMIC

With the sun shining and nature blossoming, we hope this newsletter finds you in high spirits. But wait, there’s more to be excited about – we’re thrilled to bring you the latest updates and news from NMIC, so buckle up! 

This month, we’re shining a spotlight on the outstanding work of our partners and supporters in uplifting our community’s residents. We can’t wait to share their stories of courage and impact with you. 

But wait, there’s more! Mark your calendars for our upcoming annual benefit – an evening of community, networking, and giving back. With an exciting award ceremony, and a top-notch DJ set, this event promises to be one for the books. 

Let’s embark on this incredible journey together, fueled by passion, purpose, and the unwavering belief in the power of community. Keep reading, you don’t want to miss Cafecito con Maria below! 

Meet Our Benefit Honorees 

Get ready to be blown away as we unveil the remarkable individuals who will be honored at this year’s highly anticipated annual benefit, Unidos: A NMIC Benefit. These extraordinary changemakers have left an indelible mark on our community, and it’s our absolute pleasure to acknowledge their exceptional commitment and outstanding service. 

Without further ado, we proudly present the distinguished 2023 benefit honorees. First, we have Dr. Aldrin Rafael Bonilla, the Executive Vice President of the Fund for the City of New York, whose visionary leadership has paved the way for transformative change. Next, we shine a spotlight on Tenant Cooperative 21 Arden, a group of twelve families who, after enduring a decade-long wait, are finally reclaiming their cherished homes. And last but certainly not least, we pay tribute to the four schools of Columbia University Irving Medical Center—Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University School of Nursing, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and Columbia University College of Dental Medicine—for their unwavering dedication to the well-being of our community. 

The theme of the evening is “unidos,” a testament to our unwavering commitment to fostering unity and forging stronger, interconnected communities. These honorees have been carefully selected because they embody the very essence of our organization and have displayed extraordinary dedication to the well-being of our community members. 

Be part of this extraordinary celebration as we come together to applaud the inspiring work of these exceptional individuals at our upcoming benefit. You won’t want to miss out on this incredible event. Secure your ticket now by clicking here and be prepared to be inspired. 

Let’s stand together in admiration of these remarkable honorees and continue building a future where unity and compassion reign supreme. 

Secure your ticket now to Unidos: A NMIC Benefit! 

A Message from Liz 

The recent reductions in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have had a profound impact on our communities, particularly on vulnerable groups such as children and seniors. Regrettably, more families are now facing the challenge of putting food on their tables, making it imperative for emergency food pantries like NMIC’s to step up and help. 

We are immensely grateful to have the unwavering support of dedicated individuals like Elizabeth Conde, who wholeheartedly acknowledge the vital role NMIC plays in delivering essential services to our community. By becoming a member of NMIC’s Spark Collective, a community of recurring donors, Elizabeth is making a significant difference in helping us sustain and expand our reach, ensuring that we can continue to provide immediate support whenever it is needed. 

“I decided to join NMIC’s Spark Collective to help NMIC continue to assist the members of our community,” Elizabeth Conde, Spark Collective Member and NMIC Advisory Board. 

At NMIC, we provide free services across five key areas: housing, immigration, benefits and finance, health, education and career, and holistic services. These comprehensive services are tailored to address the unique needs of our community members, empowering them with the tools necessary to achieve self-sufficiency. 

Are you eager to amplify your impact and make a positive difference? Waste no time and click here to join The Spark Collective today. Together, we can create a stronger and more resilient community for all. 

Thank You New York Bar Foundation 

NMIC has been chosen as a recipient of a generous grant from The New York Bar Foundation! This grant will play a pivotal role in advancing our mission of creating positive change in the lives of numerous individuals through our range of services. 

“The New York Bar Foundation is committed to supporting charitable projects that address the legal needs of the public and the profession. Our core focus lies in assisting people and recognizing the commendable efforts of the legal community,” stated Carla M. Palumbo, President of the Foundation. 

In recent times, the Foundation has allocated over $600,000 in grants to ninety-five programs throughout New York. Lucia Whisenand, Chair of the Grants Review Committee, emphasized the pressing need for vulnerable individuals to access legal services. By allocating funds for these grants, the Foundation is helping transform justice into a tangible reality for millions across New York State. 

To learn more about NMIC’s services, click here, and to contribute to our cause, click here to make a donation today. 

NMIC in France! 

We are thrilled to share that Maria Lizardo and Rosanna Montilla-Payano represented NMIC at the International Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers (IFS) conference in Lille, France. This global gathering brought together over 11,000 member associations committed to positive change within community-based organizations worldwide. 

At the conference, Maria and Rosanna witnessed inspiring work addressing pressing global issues like inequality, climate change, and mental health. They were amazed by the innovative approaches shared by counterparts from different countries, who demonstrated resilience and creativity in community building. 

The experience left Maria and Rosanna even more determined and inspired. It reinforced our shared mission and the power of collaboration in creating a better world. Notably, esteemed organizations like University Settlement, United Neighborhood Houses, Jacob A. Riis, Grand Street Settlement, Queens Community House, Goddard Riverside, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, and St. Nicks Alliance, fostering collective wisdom and reinforcing the potential for transformative impact. 

We extend heartfelt gratitude to all who support our mission. Your unwavering dedication fuels our efforts to make a difference in the lives of those we serve. Together, we will continue building stronger, resilient communities with compassion and determination. 

Thank you for joining us on this incredible journey. 

Cafecito con Maria  

Get ready to take action! On May 9th, Maria Lizardo, LMSW, the Executive Director of NMIC, wrote a powerful Op-Ed in the Bronx Times, calling on the New York City Council to take action and protect the healthcare coverage of 4 million at-risk residents. With new federal rules requiring states to re-evaluate eligibility for public program enrollees from this spring onward, it’s crucial that we act now. 

Fortunately, MCCAP is here to help. As a free helpline and network of 12 community-based organizations, including NMIC, MCCAP has already assisted over 10,000 cases and saved New Yorkers nearly $600,000 in health care-related costs since the pandemic began in 2020. 

To ensure even more New Yorkers can receive the support they need, Lizardo urges the City Council to increase funding for MCCAP to $2.3 million in the FY24 budget. This will allow the program to expand its capacity and add 14 new community-based organizations to its network. Let’s not let New York City residents down when they need us the most. Join us in supporting MCCAP and preserving vital healthcare coverage. Check out the full article here for more information. 

NMIC in the News 

  • On May 22nd, Brooklyn Daily Eagle wrote an article titled, “600 Children Would Lose Child Care With the End of Free NYC Program for Undocumented Families.” Within the article, Kimberly Warner, Deputy Director of Legal, Organizing, and Advocacy Services for NMIC, states, “To take that away would mean, you know, possibly the family loses employment or a kid has nowhere to go during the day. It would be very destabilizing.” Click here to read more.

Observances  

  • Mental Health Month  
  • Jewish Americans History Month 
  • Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month  
  • Latinos Books Month 
  • May 7-13, National Teachers Appreciation Week 
  • May 14-20, National Women’s Health Week  
  • May 5, Cinco de Mayo  
  • May 14, Mother’s Day 
  • May 25th, George Floyd Memorial Day  
  • May 29, Memorial Day 

May 2023 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

April 2023 – Notes from NMIC

Strategic partnerships matter because they work—they expand our reach, create greater impact, and drive broader change. From improving outreach efforts to strengthening our wrap-around programming, there are many reasons why we highly value our partnerships at NMIC. This month, we are turning the spotlight on a few of our many partnerships that push our mission forward. Together, we can serve as catalysts for positive change in the lives of the people in our community on their paths to secure and prosperous futures. 

Let’s Celebrate Together

We are getting closer to one of our favorite events of the year, our annual benefit. Unidos: A NMIC Benefit will be held at The Hudson, 348 Dyckman Street, on June 15th from 6:00-8:30 PM. Join us in celebrating the innovative partnerships that make our work possible. We will begin with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and will culminate with an exciting award ceremony. Lastly, we will dance the night away with an official DJ set! Community tickets start at $250.00.  

Click here to get your ticket today!  

In Community

We were excited to join Univision and other service providers at TelevisaUnivision, Inc’s on February 27th to commemorate Dominican Independence. At the community event, held at 809 in Washington Heights, Esperanza Cruz, Program Manager, Education & Career Services, and Jimberlyn Batista, Coordinator for Benefits & Advocacy Services, shared information about our free wrap-around services at NMIC and handed out flyers.  

We are always happy to partner with Univision Communications Inc., who are dedicated to informing, empowering, and entertaining our communities.  

Click here to learn more about the services NMIC offers to our community members.  

Thank You, Valley Bank!

Food prices are rising at the fastest pace in decades, and it has become more expensive to purchase groceries in New York City. For this reason, we are incredibly grateful for our partnership with Valley Bank, who volunteered at our March 31st food pantry.

There is not a single neighborhood in New York City without a family or individual facing food insecurity. Frequently, community members who are struggling financially are forced between essentials like food or medicine. Food pantry services build the community by assisting residents with nutritious food so that they can focus on meeting their other basic needs.  

Last month’s pantry was particularly special because NMIC Co-Coordinator of Wellness Services, Santiago Márquez Ramos, dressed up as an Easter Bunny to hand out candy to children who came with their families to pick up their groceries.  

Would you consider donating today to support NMIC’s food pantry services? Together, we can alleviate the food insecurity in our neighborhoods.  

Prom Clothing Donations 

Prom season is almost here which means that a lot of students will be shopping for gowns, suits, shoes, and accessories. Unfortunately, many students cannot afford these items. That’s why we’re proud to support Dominican Community Center NYC’s 17th Annual Prom Clothing Giveaway! The event invites New York City students who are going to their junior high school or high school prom to choose an outfit free of charge so that they can shine at their spring proms. The event will take place at the Alianza Cultural Center, 530 W 166th St., on April 22nd from 10am-5pm.  

Interested in donating or volunteering? Send an email to dominicancommunitycenter@gmail.com for further information. 

Cafecito con Maria 

In early March, The Association for a Better New York (ABNY) co-lead a trip with Western States Center, Alan van Capelle, and Face to Face to Israel and Palestine to address the connection between white nationalism, antisemitism, racism, and a rising threat to democracy. Often, the lens we apply from an American viewpoint obscure more than it illuminates the complex, long-standing set of actors and disputes in the Middle East. The cohort for this trip included NMIC’s Executive Director Maria Lizardo, LMSW, and other leaders within the public and private sectors of New York City.  

“Although the conflict between Israel and Palestine may not be resolved anytime soon, I was impressed with the folks on the ground who are building community and looking for peaceful ways to co-exist. I remain hopeful that humanity will prevail, and peace with reign over the region,” Maria Lizardo, Executive Director. 

NMIC in the News 

  • Telemundo 47 interviewed NMIC’s Director of Development, Rosanna Montilla-Payano, to discuss an enhanced Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for the members of our community in which they are no longer asking for social security information. Click here to read more.  

Observances 

  • Sexual Assault Awareness Month 
  • Child Abuse Prevention Month 
  • Financial Literacy Month  
  • Stress Awareness Month  
  • International Black Women’s Month  
  • April 5-April 13, Passover 
  • April 12-April 18, Immigrant Heritage Week  
  • April 23-29, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week 
  • April 9, Easter 
  • April 14, Day of Silence 
  • April 22, Earth Day 
  • April 23, Spanish Language Day 
  • April 26, Denim Day  

April 2023 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

March 2023 – Notes from NMIC

In a few short weeks, we will be celebrating the first day of spring. New Yorkers across all five boroughs will be shedding their winter coats and emerging to enjoy the public parks and outdoor venues our city has to offer. Speaking of outdoor venues, NMIC’s annual benefit, Unidos: A NMIC Benefit, is coming up on June 15th, 2023. The cocktail reception and award ceremony will take place at The Hudson, an outdoor space with unforgettable views of The Hudson River and George Washington Bridge. We are looking forward to celebrating the transformative work that our community members tackle each day to catalyze positive change in our neighborhoods.  

Click here to learn more about our upcoming benefit.  

NMIC Celebrates Women’s History Month: A Success Story 

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’d like to spotlight Jocelyn, one of our exceptional NMIC Education & Career students. Recently, Jocelyn completed our holistic Security Training program, which she found to be the most comprehensive and effective compared to other workforce development programs. This program equips students with both hard and soft skills necessary to succeed in their careers and beyond. 

Throughout Jocelyn’s participation in the program, she engaged in various interactive courses, including career building, emotional intelligence in the workplace, customer service, cultural competency, FEMA security awareness, Fireguard F-01, and the NYS 8- and 16-Hour Security Guard. Additionally, she and her cohort participated in empowering workshops covering topics such as mental health, worker’s rights, and financial literacy. The program also provided opportunities for participants to connect directly with job recruiters, increasing their chances of securing gainful employment. 

We congratulate Jocelyn on her achievement and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors. Let us use this Women’s History Month as a reminder to uplift the women in our lives and celebrate their contributions, not just during this month, but throughout the year. All accomplishments are worth a celebration. 

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s Education & Career services.  

We Welcomed New Members to our Advisory Board (NAB)  

We are pleased to introduce Jordan Green, Caitie Adams, and Morgan Siegel, the newest members of NMIC’s Advisory Board (NAB). They are committed to being agents for change and innovation and we warmly welcome them to our team. Members of NAB develop awareness of NMIC’s programs and provide opportunities for our organization’s growth by leveraging resources to support the advancement of the communities we serve in Upper Manhattan, adjacent Bronx neighborhoods, and New York City as a whole. 

Click here to learn more about NAB.  

Introducing Katje Lilah King 

We welcome Katje Lilah King, our new Director of Education & Career Services. Ms. King has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, including roles in fundraising, evaluation, and program management. She most recently served as Senior Program Officer at PENCIL, where she partnered with hundreds of New York City schools and businesses to execute annual Principal for a Day events and deliver college and career readiness programming to over 5,000 students annually.  Katje also led the establishment of PENCIL’s Internship Programs, collaborating with partners including the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, the Pinkerton Foundation, and Bloomberg Philanthropies to provide paid work-based learning experiences to over 500 youth each summer. 

Join us in welcoming Ketje!  

Fresh Prints  

We have a big announcement—NMIC will be collaborating with Rene Clairin, YumaYorkNYC, and Benny Cruz on art prints! The prints are inspired by Washington Heights, the hometown of the YumaYorkNYC team, and the Latin culture they were raised with. YumaYorkNYC’s work often includes vibrant colors, organic shapes, and imperfect lines—all brought together to create images that bring about joy.  

“It’s beautiful to see a local organization dedicating their time to help some of the most vulnerable members of our ever-growing community uptown: immigrants that are landing in NYC in search of stability and peace of mind. Sometimes a legal or government form can seem like an insurmountable obstacle when it’s presented to you in a language that you don’t grasp.  

NMIC specifically sets up time to provide legal access, benefit access and advocacy for these new members of our Heights neighborhoods; that’s a beautiful thing because this would have been a valuable resource for our relatives when they first arrived in the Heights decades ago. We’re happy to support their work with the proceeds of this limited collaborative work between us, YumaYorkNYC, and Benny Cruz,” Rene Clairin.  

A portion of proceeds from the sales will be donated to NMIC to support our wrap-around supportive services. To find out how to purchase a print, follow @nmicnyc on social media, we will post a link as soon as the print drops. Click here to learn more about YumaYorkNYC.  

Know Your Rights Panel Discussion 

 Community Services with Faith Hope & Charity, Inc. teamed up with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to host a panel discussion titled “Know Your Rights” at The Annunciation Church on March 5th. The event centered on the rights of immigrant New Yorkers, updates on potential shifts in immigration laws, and a Q&A session for community members. NMIC’s immigration attorney, Marc Valinoti, was a panelist who shared expert views on the challenges of accessing legal representation for immigrants and the available resources for immigrant communities. 

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s Immigration Services.  

Cafecito con Maria 

As of March 1st, Congress ended Emergency Allotments, the federal COVID-era emergency food funding, to SNAP benefits. With 21% of the population of New York City receiving SNAP benefits, the impact will be dramatic, leaving a great number of New Yorkers in danger of going hungry. Every household using SNAP benefits will see a decrease of at least $95 in monthly benefits. As the emergency food funding expires, food prices continue to rise. Over the past year, food prices rose 8.4%, and as benefits are cut further, more households will become dependent on food pantries to be able to provide for their families.  

Telemundo 47 reported on the possible crisis for our city, and interviewed our Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, LMSW, to discuss the increased need and to advocate for the needs of our community. 

NMIC offers emergency food pantry services with the West Side Campaign Against Hunger and Hungry Pets Project. These partnerships allow our organization to alleviate hunger within our community through access to locally sourced, fresh produce. All people, regardless of income, deserve access to quality food. No one should ever have to choose between paying their rent or purchasing groceries.  

To get involved with NMIC’s food pantry services, click here to sign up for our volunteer newsletter to be notified of upcoming volunteer opportunities and click here to donate today.  

NMIC in the News 

  • On March 1st, Telemundo 47 featured our Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, LMSW, and NMIC clients during a news report on the current SNAP cuts. Click here to read more.  
  • Telemundo 47 had a news report on Promise NYC, a program funded by New York City that covers the cost of childcare for families who are ineligible for federally funded childcare due to their immigration status. The report featured Wilbert Negron, Program Manager of Promise NYC at NMIC, and current clients in the program. Click here to read more.  

Observances 

  • Women’s History Month  
  • Social Work Month  
  • March 2nd, Women’s Equal Pay Day  
  • March 8th, International Women’s Day  
  • March 12th, NMIC’s Anniversary  
  • March 31st, International Transgender Day of Visibility  

March 2023 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

February 2023 – Notes from NMIC

February marks the beginning of Black History Month and the end to Dominican Heritage Month. As we celebrate these events and movements, we remember the important individuals and collectives who have paved the way for our community. As we commemorate, we also recognize the long road we have ahead of us. Let us use this month to reflect on the past, assess the present, and plan for our future. Unidos, anything is possible.  

Black History Month  

Black history is American history, and we celebrate Black History Month to celebrate black achievements throughout our nation’s history. Each year, a theme for Black History Month is chosen by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the original founders of Black History Month. 2023’s theme is “Black Resistance,” to recognize how Black Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression in all forms. This theme will explore how “African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms and police killings,” since the nation’s earliest days.   

ASALH was established on September 9, 1915, by Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Thousands of African Americans traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in a national celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of emancipation and viewed exhibits highlighting the progress that had been made since the destruction of slavery. This event led to “Negro History Week” and became dedicated as a national observance in 1976.  

Click here to read more about 2023’s Black History Month’s theme.  

Dominican Heritage Month  

The Dominican Heritage Month is celebrated every year from January 21st, with the Feast of Nuestra Señora de Altagracia, through February 27th which marks the anniversary of Dominican Republic Independence. As the largest immigrant group of New York City, it is easy to recognize the contributions that Dominican culture has brought to our city, whether it be through music, fashion, food, or literature.  

New York City itself, the city of immigrants, has been Dominican from the very beginning. The first immigrant to what has become New York City was Juan Rodriguez from Santo Domingo which is now the Dominican Republic. In October of 2012, the New York City Council enacted legislation to name Broadway from 159th Street to 218th Street in Manhattan after Juan Rodriguez.  

Click here to learn more about the history of Dominican Heritage Month. Click here to purchase official NMIC merchandise featuring the Juan Rodriguez Way Street sign. Proceeds directly support our mission and everything you value at NMIC.  

Thank You, Miranda Family Fund! 

We would like to give a special shout out to Miranda Family Fund for supporting our work in the community. The Miranda family champions community activism through their giving, fundraising, and advocacy efforts by supporting New York based institutions. Miranda Family Fund’s contributions will be used to amplify our mission—to serve as a catalyst for positive change in the lives of the people in our community on their paths to secure and prosperous futures. On behalf of the 14,000 individuals, we serve annually, and the 32,000 we impact through our services, thank you.  

Click here to join the Miranda Family Fund by serving as a catalyst for positive change through donating today.  

Congratulations Altagracia!  

Join us in congratulating community member Altagracia for passing her naturalization exam!  

“Gracias  por toda  su ayuda;  por haberme,  impulsado.  Todo se puede con dedicacion, gracias,” Altagracia, Community Member.  

NMIC’s Citizenship Preparation services provide community members like Altagracia with resources and advocacy to work toward obtaining American Citizenship. Our citizenship students practice citizenship interviews, learn about American Civics to prepare for the written citizenship test, and receive case management and counseling support. Over 300 individuals become citizens through NMIC’s supportive services annually.  

Help students like Altagracia make their dreams come true by donating today.  

Arte Y Bienestar  
 

Earlier this month, NMIC’s wellness team held “Arte Y Bienestar,” an afternoon dedicated to creating art in a relaxing and fun environment. Studies have shown that expression through art can help people with depression, anxiety, and stress. Creating art can also help to boost confidence and make us feel more engaged and resilient. The event was a major success, and community members left our offices with beautiful masterpieces.  

“Self-care is an important part of mental health and well-being, and art can be a wonderful self-care activity. Creating art allows us to express our emotions visually, without having to use words. When we create art, we enter a state of flow, where we become so immersed in a task that we lose track of time, and our thoughts float freely without worry. By doing this type of mechanical activity, our conscious mind opens to new thoughts and perspectives,” Santiago Márquez Ramos, Co-Coordinator of Wellness Services. 

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s health services.  


Cafecito con Maria  

During the of February, we would like to highlight our Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, LMSW’s advocacy work for the communities we serve. At the beginning of the month, Maria attended Dominicans on the Hill, held annually during Dominican Heritage month created by Rep. Espaillat (NY-13) to recognize the growing civic engagement of the Dominican American community and throughout the diaspora. Since its inception, Dominicans on the Hill has become a signature event held at the United States Capitol that is attended by hundreds of community leaders, professionals, students, and elected officials of Dominican descent and groups from around the nation.  

Later, Maria joined The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC)’s Legislative Breakfast. Among the attendees included immigrants’ rights activists from across the five boroughs who joined forces to discuss the needs of New York City’s immigrant communities, with the aim to envision a New York where all are welcome, treated fairly, and given the chance to pursue their dreams. 

Most recently, Maria joined NYSABPRHAL for their 52nd Annual Conference in Albany. The goal of the conference was to engage New State Residents from a minority descent into a dialogue about state-wide issues and policies. Throughout the weekend, NYSABPRHAL honored those who have excelled in the principles of leadership in their communities. Among the honorees was Maria, who represented NMIC and those we serve. On the Saturday of the conference weekend, Maria joined Latino Social Work Coalition & Scholarship Fund’s to advocate for the removal of non-independent social work practice exams and more fair and equitable competency measures for prospective social workers. Together, we can eliminate discriminatory practices for prospective social workers.  

NMIC in the News

  • NYC.gov recently wrote an article about the 2023 tax season. New York City kicked off tax season this year with free tax preparation services now tailored for self-employed New Yorkers. NMIC Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, LMSW stated, “NMIC is excited to partner with DCWP to provide access to free, effective tax preparation services through the NYC Free Tax Prep program,” said Maria Lizardo, executive director, NMIC. “These services are invaluable to the economic empowerment of our community members as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.” Click here to read more.  
  • Spectrum Noticias wrote an article about the importance of Promise NYC. Promise NYC is a NYC childcare assistance program for undocumented children and their families. The city partnered with community organizations like NMIC to connect families with these new services. Wilbert Negron, NMIC childcare manager, stated, “It’s for families that have children who are undocumented. If families don’t have any kind of benefits from other agencies, Promise NYC makes sure to give them childcare.” Click here to read more. 

Observances

  • Black History Month  
  • Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month  
  • Dominican Heritage Month  
  • February 12, Lincoln’s Birthday  
  • February 14, Valentine’s Day  
  • February 20, Presidents’ Day  

Click here to get NMIC’s monthly newsletter straight to your inbox and be the first to know about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and big announcements.

Click here to serve as a catalyst for positive change by donating today.

February 2023 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

January 2023 – Notes from NMIC

January is a month that marks new beginnings for many. For others, like us, it is a reminder of the commitment we have made to you, which is to serve as a catalyst for positive change in the lives of the people in our community on their paths to secure and prosperous futures. Join us in honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by recognizing the profound impact he achieved throughout the world by calling out for the improvement of the well-being of our communities. Dr. King once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Our community members need access to the tools to secure long-term and large-scale improvements to their lives. His dreams have continued to influence the world long after his passing, and NMIC’s wrap-around services aim to optimize those dreams.  

Martin Luther King Jr. Day: National Day of Service 

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the entire nation reflected upon the life and work of Dr. King, who was a Baptist minister and prominent leader in the American civil rights movement. MLK Day serves multiple purposes each year: It honors the legacy of King, focuses on the issue of civil rights, and calls people into public service. To honor the civil rights icon, New Yorkers across the city took time to perform a day of service to remember King’s teachings on justice, peace, love, community, and equality. Let us all honor these teachings not only on MLK day, but every day of the year, as we fight for a New York where all community members can access secure and prosperous futures. 

If you are interested in volunteering for NMIC to serve as a catalyst for positive change in our community, please fill out a volunteer form here.  

High School Students Organized a Clothing Drive for NMIC’s DVP 

Young activists at The Clinton School from the Clinton Students Demand Action group reached out to us last month because they wanted to organize a winter clothing drive for our domestic violence survivors. Their high school action group was created to fight against gun violence, and the apparent links between domestic violence and firearm ownership.  

“Clinton Students Demand Action is honored to work with NMIC and host a drive at our school. We acknowledge the overlap between domestic violence and gun violence, and we are committed to helping our community,” Sofia Dib-Gomez, Clinton Students Demand Action.  

We are deeply touched by their gesture and generosity of the student volunteers, and we are impressed by their commitment to their advocacy work for gun safety legislation.  

Click here to learn more about Students Demand Action.  

Mount Sinai’s Black Women Leaders Connect 

One of the wonderful things about the holiday season is the opportunity to give to others, which is exactly what Mount Sinai’s Black Women Leaders Connect did last month. Black Women Leaders Connection is a collective of executive and senior-level Black women administrative leaders with a mission to nurture and guide women within their communities. The collective graciously donated gift funds for the purchase of gift cards this month so that families experiencing domestic violence could celebrate Three Kings’ Day.   

Donations like this help give survivors the tools and autonomy they need to build secure and prosperous futures. Click here to learn more about NMIC’s Domestic Violence Project and click here to donate today.  

DoorDash Delivers Good  

We are excited to join forces again with DoorDash through their Community Credits program! Community Credits provides DoorDash gift cards directly to nonprofit organizations to empower the communities they serve, reduce food insecurity, and expand programs and that access to opportunity, and we are delighted to make these available to the students in our Education & Career Services program. With this partnership, we’ll be providing meals to our community members. Sara Chapman, our Director of Education & Career Services, said, “Participants are not only thankful for the unexpected generosity, but also because they found the assistance very valuable in having the choice on how to nourish themselves.”

To learn more about how you can partner with us, visit our more ways to give webpage.

Promise NYC: All Children, Regardless of Immigration Status, Deserve Quality Childcare 

Promise NYC is a program funded by New York City that will cover the cost of childcare for children who are ineligible for federally subsidized services due to their immigration status. All children deserve the opportunity to succeed, and we hope that this program will alleviate stress for undocumented parents.  

“Insurmountable childcare costs are often a barrier to families seeking access to education, employment, and stable housing. That burden is particularly heavy for immigrant families who are ineligible for assistance. NMIC is proud to partner with the Administration of Children’s Services to offer childcare assistance to undocumented parents and children in our community; assistance that will alleviate families’ childcare cost burden so they can work toward secure and prosperous futures,” Maria Lizardo, LMSW, Executive Director.  

We want to thank all the elected officials who advocated tirelessly for this program. The city has contracted four community organizations that will oversee selecting immigrant families who need help with care of their children. Center for Family Life will serve families in Brooklyn, NMIC will serve families in the Bronx and Manhattan, La Colmena will serve families in Staten Island, and the Chinese American Planning Council will serve families in Queens. 

Click here to learn more about Promise NYC.  

NMIC in the News 

  • City Limits recently wrote an article on Promise NYC, a $10 million program that aims to care for 600 children between January and June 2023. The city has contacted four community organizations that will oversee selecting immigrant families who need help with care of their children, one of which is NMIC. Click here to read more.  
  • Life in the largely Black and Latino communities of northern Manhattan is significantly shorter than it is elsewhere in New York City. In fact, residents of central and east Harlem can expect to live four to five years fewer, on average, than people in the rest of the city, according to the New York City Department of Mental Health and Hygiene. Columbia University Irving Medical Center recently wrote an article on their work addressing health disparities through partnerships with local organizations, including NMIC. Click here to read more.  

Observances 

  • Stalking Awareness Month 
  • January 1, New Year’s Day 
  • January 6, Día de los Reyes 
  • January 9, First Anniversary of the Tragic Fire in the Bronx 
  • January 16, Martin Luther King Jr. Day 
  • January 24, International Day of Education  
  • January 27, International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust 

Click here to get NMIC’s monthly newsletter straight to your inbox and be the first to know about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and big announcements.

Click here to serve as a catalyst for positive change by donating today.

January 2023 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

A Message from our Executive Director, Maria Lizardo.

As hard as it is to believe, 2023 is almost upon us. I don’t know about you, but I feel optimistic. I recognize the long-lasting effects of the pandemic, and I notice the way these effects have impacted low-income New Yorkers the most. However, I can’t help but hold on to a glimmer of hope.

When we stand together, I know that our future is limitless. Our future as a community is bursting with opportunities to build each other up, through empathy, through support. I would like to take a moment to ring the new year in with a question: how can we continue to support each other?  

To us, support looks like every single member has access to health services, education, and employment—where no one must deal with food and housing insecurities. I imagine a community where survivors of domestic violence are provided support through trauma-informed care without judgement and where immigrants and refugees are protected and provided support throughout their path toward citizenship. I imagine a community where all needs are met, and people do not have to pick and choose which aspects of their lives are fulfilled.  

Everyone deserves help as they find solutions to their crises, and everyone deserves self-sufficiency and prosperous futures. I believe in this big and beautiful future for our community, and as a supporter of our organization, I know you do too because together, in 2022, we have: 

Secured over $6.2 million in housing allowances for clients. 

Filed 900 tax returns with a cumulative refund amount of over $1.4 million.   

Distributed over 117,000 lbs. of food to over 4,000 recipients.   

Helped over 400 residents access $5.5 million through the Excluded Workers Fund and Emergency Rental Assistance Program.   

Worked on over 2,050 immigration cases and filed over 400 immigration applications. 

Placed over 220 students in internships, jobs, or workforce certification programs. 

Prevented over 300 eviction cases, impacting over 1,000 residents.

Served over 340 clients impacted by Domestic Violence through holistic and legal services.   

As we look ahead and welcome the new year let’s take a leap of faith and start by believing in the possibilities.  

P.S. Our offices will be closed for Winter Break from Friday, December 23, 2022, through Monday, January 2, 2023. The buildings at 45 Wadsworth and 8 Clinton Place will be closed during this time. 

A Message from our Executive Director, Maria Lizardo. Read More »

December 2022 – Notes from NMIC

As the year ends, and with a fresh new one coming up, the final days of December are the perfect time to reflect on our wonderful community and everything we have achieved together this past year. We are proud of our collective successes, your dedication, and unrelenting commitment to our community even in the most challenging of times. We wish you all a peaceful festive season, as we look forward to a new year. 

Our offices will be closed for Winter Break from Friday, December 23, 2022 through Monday, January 2, 2023. The buildings at 45 Wadsworth and 8 Clinton Place will be closed during this time.

Remember Joey? 

Joey Fernandez is an alum from NMIC’s GED/HSE program— like many teenagers his age, Joey had dreams and a supportive family. He found high school overwhelming, and he dropped out at age 14. He took the initiative to sign up for NMIC’s GED & Adult Basic Education to gain access to educational opportunities.  

“I dropped out of high school at 14 and was struggling to find my place in the world. Through NMIC’s GED/HSE program, I gained the academic tools necessary to continue my education. I also found mentors who helped me earn my GED, do well in community college, and get accepted to Georgetown University,” said Joey in 2018. 

We are excited to announce that Joey not only has graduated from Georgetown University for undergraduate and Columbia University for his graduate degree, in October 2022, he was assigned to be a diplomat for the Philippines. We are incredibly proud of Joey’s accomplishments, and all that the future has in store for him.  

Join us in congratulating Joey!  

The NYIC is keeping us warm this season  

When the weather gets colder—boots, sweaters, coats, and thick socks are a necessity to get through a winter in New York City. That is why we are so grateful for The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) who have recently provided an in-kind donation of winter apparel.  

“No New Yorker should have to face winter in the city without warm clothes. Providing coats and winter clothes to the recently arrived asylum seekers and low-income New York families is how we ensure our communities stay safe and healthy. We thank NMIC for partnering with us to ensure the clothing we collected got into the hands of families most in need,” Jennifer Diaz, Manager of Community Engagement, NYIC.  

On behalf of all those we serve, thank you NYIC!  

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s Holistic Services. 

Season of Giving 

Lissette is a proud mother, an aspiring writer, and a dedicated student. She is a single parent from Washington Heights who originally came to NMIC’s office for assistance with applying for housing and benefits. When she found out that NMIC also offered adult education services, she realized that her long-term goal of acquiring a GED was financially accessible and turned her dream into action.  

“To me, a GED means a whole lot—it means that I am an educated person, and no one can tell me otherwise. I’m doing it for myself, and I know that it will help me feel complete,” she told us. 

The pandemic revealed to us how crucial digital literacy is for employment, civic and cultural participation, and accessing essential services in our society—it is no longer a want, but a need. Over 70% of U.S. jobs now require middle to high level digital skills, yet one in six working-age Americans are unable to use email, web search, or other basic online tools.  

Please consider donating today to help clients like Lissette follow their dreams. Access to education is an everlasting gift.  

Join NMIC’s Advisory Board (NAB) 

NMIC is looking for dedicated professionals committed to our mission to join our Advisory Board. Participants will enhance their resumes, fulfill their passion to serve, and gain hands-on volunteer experience. NAB members will have opportunities to interact with our staff and network with the Board of Directors as they support NMIC’s overall goals through social media, individual fundraising, service activities, and fundraising events.  

To apply, fill out this application and send your resume to NAB@nmic.org.   

NMIC’s Holiday Swag 

Tis’ the season of giving! Our holiday sale is still in motion, and your purchase directly supports our mission and everything you value from NMIC. 

Our design depicts West 167th and Juan Rodriguez Way. Juan Rodriguez was one of the first documented non-indigenous inhabitants to live in Manhattan Island and is considered the first non-native resident of what would eventually become New York City. In October 2012, the New York City Council enacted legislation to name Broadway from 159th Street to 218th Street in Manhattan after Juan Rodríguez. 
 
The neighborhoods of Washington Heights and Inwood in Upper Manhattan have a substantial Dominican community. Rodriguez was born in The Captaincy General of Santo Domingo which now is the Dominican Republic. We are thrilled to celebrate the contributions and experiences of our Dominican and immigrant neighbors by featuring the Juan Rodriguez Way Street sign. 

Click here to make a purchase today!  

Cafecito Con Maria 

In the last days of the year, our Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, LMSW, celebrated the accomplishments of other New York-based nonprofit organizations by attending dedicated events.  

Last month, Maria attended the West Side Campaign Against Hunger (WSCAH)’s Plentiful Plates event and spent an evening celebrating our wonderful partner and collaborator organization. Along with WSCAH, we host monthly food pantries to those facing food insecurity.  

Later, Maria volunteered at our sister organization, Community League of the Heights (CLOTH159), as they distributed food to 330 families. We are always excited to support CLOTH 159 and their dedication to supporting and empowering New Yorkers from Northern Manhattan and adjacent Bronx neighborhoods.  

Maria also attended various galas to acknowledge the great accomplishments of other organizations in New York City. On November 14th, Maria attended Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s 13th annual Crown Awards Gala. The evening highlighted Columbia’s key community health programs to improve outcomes and care for all. CUIMC’s Crown Award was presented to Pfizer for their partnership with CUIMC to help increase the involvement of historically marginalized groups in clinical trials.  

Finally, on December 7th, Maria attended Human Service Council (HSC)’s annual gala that honored Dr. Jeremy C. Kohomban, the President and CEO of The Children’s Village, and Claude M. Millman, Partner at Kostelanetz LLP. We are active members of HSC and their ongoing mission of strengthening New York’s nonprofit human services sector, to ensure that New Yorkers from all walks of life can reach their full potential, and we would like to congratulate this year’s honorees. We also proudly participate in HSC’s #JustPay advocacy efforts and join them in their fight to end government-sanctioned poverty wages for human services workers and look forward to our work together this upcoming year. 

NMIC in the News 

  • Last month, Spectrum Noticias wrote an article on NMIC’s November food pantry. María Lizardo, LMSW, director of NMIC, says she has seen an increase in people signing up to receive food pantries in recent months, which is why our delivery was so important last month. “Today we are going to deliver a turkey, despite the normality, which includes carrots, spaghetti, rice, but turkey is so expensive, and we know that many families might not have turkeys next Thursday and we are very proud to that through our volunteers,” explained Lizardo. Click here to read more.  
  • New York City is increasing access to subsidized childcare for hundreds of undocumented children. Mayor Adams announced on Wednesday a $10 million childcare assistance program for families who are otherwise ineligible for federal subsidies because of their immigration status. The Administration for Children Services is contracting with four local organizations with ties to immigrant communities in each borough — who will connect families with monthly subsidy payments, and help parents identify child-care providers and enroll their children. The organizations include the Center for Family Life in Brooklyn, NMIC in the Bronx and Manhattan, La Colmena on Staten Island, and the Chinese American Planning Council in Queens. Click here to read more.  

Observances 

  • Month of Giving  
  • December 10, Human Rights Day  
  • December 18, International Migrants Day  
  • December 31, New Year’s Eve  

Click here to get NMIC’s monthly newsletter straight to your inbox and be the first to know about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and big announcements!

Click here to serve as a catalyst for positive change by donating today.

December 2022 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

November 2022 – Notes from NMIC

Gratitude is more than just expressing one’s thanks—gratitude can be expressed as an act that can carry the strength of shifting perspectives. Through gratitude, we recognize all the positive aspects of our lives. For this November’s newsletter, we are highlighting the wonderful happenings in our community, and the many ways in which our collective work has been uplifted through awards, partnerships, and you, our supporters.  

D.A. Bragg Announces Creation of the Office’s First Housing & Tenant Protection Unit 

Last month, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., announced the creation of the Office’s first ever Housing & Tenant Protection Unit. The conference for its release took place at NMIC’s Manhattan office, as we are very supportive of the inception of this unit. We are optimistic that this launch will help with members of our community remove the obstacles that keep them from enjoying housing security, as it will focus on the harassment of rent-regulated tenants, deed fraud, and defrauding of government subsidy programs by landlords and developers. 

“New York City is in the midst of a housing crisis, and that means tenants are particularly vulnerable to unscrupulous landlords,” said District Attorney Bragg. “By taking a targeted approach to complex and pervasive criminal activity, we can root out the bad actors who are seeking to game the system for profit at the expense of ordinary New Yorkers. The creation of this unit represents our firm commitment to fully utilizing the resources of our office to ensure Manhattan residents can exercise the right to live safely and securely.”  

Read more here

We Partnered with DoorDash and Constantinople & Vallone Consulting for Our November Food Pantry! 

It’s the season of giving, and at NMIC, that means providing meals to hundreds of families during the holiday season through our food pantry services. Securing and distributing these meals was only possible through our partnerships with DoorDash and Constantinople & Vallone Consulting, who not only secured hundreds of meals for our community, but also provided volunteers for one of our busiest food pantries of the year.  

“New York City continues to face challenges with food access, which is particularly evident in low-income communities of color. We are proud to support NMIC’s efforts to address food insecurity in Upper Manhattan and adjacent Bronx neighborhoods. Effective collaborations and partnerships are key in our mission of empowering local economies, so that no one should have to be concerned about where the next meal will come from,” Ivan Garcia, Senior Manager of Public Engagement, DoorDash.  

“NMIC is an amazing organization that really stepped up during the pandemic for the communities they serve. We are proud to support you and the November food pantry in this time of need. As a family rooted firm, we are grateful for the opportunity to partner with NMIC to help families celebrate the holidays around a good meal,” Jake Potent, Managing Director, Constantinople & Vallone Consulting.  

We have one last food pantry of the year, and we would like to provide as much as we can to families looking for help during the 2022 holiday season. Hundreds of families rely on NMIC’s emergency food pantry services to help them celebrate a holiday meal. Would you consider donating today to support our food pantry services? Together, we can alleviate food insecurity in our neighborhoods this season.  

Click here to donate today.  

NMIC Was Selected to Receive an Empire Award 

Last month, NMIC was honored by New York State Senator Robert Jackson with an Empire Award, along with 15 other Upper Manhattan community organizations, in recognition of our act of solidarity during the pandemic’s peak, our contributions to working-class communities, and our continued commitment to deliver resources in aiding their full recovery.  

We would like to congratulate each organization honored for their unwavering commitment to serving the communities of District 31 throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and present: Altagracia Fath & Justice Works, Centro Evangelistico Pantry, Community League of the Heights, Fort Washington Collegiate Church, Girl Scout Troop #3205, Jewish Community Council, Holy Rood Church, Manhattan Legal Services, Oyate Group, PA’LANTE Harlem, Ryan Health, St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church, Washington Heights and Inwood Council on Aging, and West Side Campaign Against Hunger.  

Please join us in congratulating these organizations for their act of solidarity and leadership!  

Thank You Royal Business Bank! 

We have recently received a grant of $6,500 from Royal Business Bank to support our Education & Career Services!  

NMIC plans to use this grant to address the unjust and disproportionate financial impacts that our community members have experienced due to decades of economic exclusion which has led to limited educational and professional development opportunities for low-income people of colors, and especially immigrants. Through this partnership, we plan to reduce economic inequity by equipping our community members with the knowledge, certifications, and resources necessary to re-enter the workforce and access better employment opportunities. 

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s Education & Career Services. 

Cafecito con Maria 

This past month, our Executive Director Maria Lizardo, LMSW, welcomed NYS Assembly Member Manny De Los Santos to our Manhattan office. This visit was particularly special because Assembly Member De Los Santos presented a check reflecting on the $30,000, he secured in the New York State Budget to support our Domestic Violence Project. We are beyond grateful for this support, as we know how crucial these funds are for the hundreds of survivors who access our Domestic Violence services each year.  

Later, on October 28th, Maria attended Latino Social Work Coalition & Scholarship Fund’s 22nd Annual Leadership Gala. Attendees spent the evening honoring trailblazing social workers whose legacies we continue, honor those that are currently making waves, and shed light on those who are charting our collective future forward. Our good tidings continued when we were recognized by Latino Social Work Coalition & Scholarship Fund as the Social Work Organization of the Year.  

Finally, Maria represented NMIC at the 2022 Dominican Film Festival, which we proudly sponsored this past year! The festival celebrated its 11th anniversary of celebrating the best in Dominican Cinema with the overall goal of enriching the artistic experience of New York’s diverse cultural audience. We are happy to support the Dominican Film Festival’s mission to promote the new generation of Dominican filmmakers as well as the established one, its film industry, and to strengthen the vital and expanding economic and cultural relationship with the United States. 

NMIC in the News 

  • Latinx in Social Work is a No.1 Best Seller on Amazon that amplifies stories of challenges and successes of Hispanic social workers. The anthology presents 21 authors who inspire and heal communities, one of whom is NMIC’s Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, LMSW. Read more here
  • Spectrum Noticias NY1 recently published an article on free supportive services in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx. Proud of her Dominican roots and her immigrant parents, Maria Lizardo, LMSW, NMIC’s Executive Director, knows firsthand the power and impact that these services have on Latinos. “And really, creating opportunity for members of the community and that is what we need as Latinos, we are immigrants, we work hard, and we need opportunities, we need those connections, access to education, access to the benefits that we are entitled to have.” Read more here.  
  • Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., announced the creation of the Office’s first-ever Housing & Tenant Protection Unit, which will target systemic criminal harassment of tenants and abuse of government programs by landlords and developers. “NMIC is excited to work with the District Attorney’s new Housing & Tenant Protection Unit to hold corporate landlords accountable for harassing behavior aimed at pushing long-standing tenants out of their affordable apartments,” said Rodrigo Sanchez-Camus, Director of Legal, Organizing, & Advocacy Services at NMIC. Read more here.  
  • Tenants in rent-regulated apartments say they’re left languishing for months — if not years — on a decision from the state agency charged with investigating landlord overcharge complaints as backlogs persist and rents in New York reach new highs. Matthew Chachere, a tenant lawyer who works with NMIC, recalled one case that started in the first Obama administration, as he put it, and was only recently finalized in 2021 — nine years later. “The ordinary tenant gets lost in this,” he said. “They’re certainly not going to have the means or the inclination to spend the money that it takes to fight this out. It’s terrible.” Read more here.  

Observances 

  • National Native American Heritage Month  
  • National Career Development Month  
  • November 1, Day of the Dead 
  • November 2, National Stress Awareness Day  
  • November 12, Flight 587 Remembrance Day 
  • November 20, Transgender Day of Remembrance  
  • November 24, Thanksgiving 
  • November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women/Mirabal sisters  

Click here to get NMIC’s monthly newsletter straight to your inbox and be the first to know about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and big announcements!

Click here to serve as a catalyst for positive change by donating today.

November 2022 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

October 2022 – Notes from NMIC

In October, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), we are uplifting and centering victims, survivors, those impacted by domestic violence, our community, and the partnerships that support our work.   

Visibility matters now more than ever as one in four women experiences physical violence in their lifetimes. Wear purple and make yourself a visible advocate for healthy relationships, as it will go a long way to help break the stigma of silence. Will you stand in solidarity on October 20 by wearing purple and using #NMICGoesPurple on social media to raise awareness about domestic violence and share information about trauma-informed resources? We will share the posts on our social media accounts to increase the reach of our services—because they are only helpful if survivors know they exist and how to access them.  

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please call NMIC’s Domestic Violence Project at 212-822-8311 or the 24-hour NYC Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-621-4673. 

NMIC’s Domestic Violence Project & Der Parataetische Akademie’s Site Visit 

In 1996, NMIC recognized the connection between domestic violence and housing insecurities. We founded our Domestic Violence Project (DVP) to build a network of support for survivors during each stage of their exit from their relationship, to develop a safety plan, and to help survivors find stable housing afterward. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, 63% of unhoused women are survivors of domestic violence. NMIC’s trauma informed counseling, legal services, crisis intervention, support groups, and many other programs give survivors the strength to move on and let them know that there are people waiting to help them every step of the way.  

On October 6th, students from Berlin’s Der Parataetische Akademie came to tour NMIC’s DVP office to learn more about our work. Our DVP staff members, Sarah Crawford Banda, Cinthya Mendez, and Aleida Sainz, led the tour group and shared NMIC’s work in the community and how we serve immigrant survivors of intimate partner violence. We were able to share our approach, values, and interventions to help survivors salir adelante after domestic violence.   

NMIC’s DVP is particularly special because we are both trauma informed and culturally and linguistically affirming—culture impacts how gender violence is viewed, and awareness of cultural values and difference is of utmost importance when we think of the systems that interact with survivors of domestic violence. The staff of our Domestic Violence Project are bilingual in English and Spanish with deep cultural and geographic ties to our community.  

“It was our honor and pleasure to welcome fellow social workers to Washington Heights and Inwood. Our shared efforts to further social and economic justice in our respective communities face some of the same systematic barriers including xenophobia, racism and misogyny. We also face the challenges posed by a lack of dedicated resources. As the global community becomes more interconnected, we are delighted to have had the opportunity to spend time with colleagues in the field of social welfare,” Sarah Crawford Banda, Domestic Violence Project Director.  

Click here to donate to support survivors.  

Empire Quilters 
 

Imagine yourself being wrapped in a literal blanket made with love. It sounds delightful! We are honored to share that Empire Quilters of New York, a nonprofit organization that has donated quilts for the past few years to NMIC, provided that and more to our clients. Empire Quilters were founded in 1982 to preserve and promote the tradition, culture, and history of quilt-making, and to foster good fellowship amongst anyone interested in quilt making in the New York area. Quilts represent connection, stability, and expression of the creative spirit that has allowed women to overcome hardships, and on behalf of our community members, we are very grateful for this powerful gesture.  

If you have an idea and would like to partner with us, email rosannamontilla@nmic.org

Go Purple Day 2022  

Purple is the symbolic color to raise awareness about domestic violence. Why purple? Well, the color purple became associated the strength of women in the United States because it was the color worn by the National Women’s Party who fought to gain the right to vote. Flashing forward to 1978, nearly 10,000 advocates for women’s equal rights marched in DC dressed in purple. By 1987, the first Domestic Violence Month was observed, and again, wearing purple was embraced by all those who observed.  

For 2022’s Go Purple Day on October 20th, we encourage you all to wear purple and to post photos on your social media using the hashtag, #NMICGoesPurple. It is an opportunity to raise awareness about domestic violence and a simple way to show your commitment to promoting healthy and safe relationships. Join us on the 20th, wear purple, be an advocate, and start a conversation about domestic violence and healthy relationships! 

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s Holistic Services.

Thank you, Valley National Bank! 

We would like to thank Valley National Bank for their support of NMIC’s Domestic Violence Project. Last September, NMIC held a back-to-school supplies drive for families impacted by domestic violence, and Valley National supported our efforts by providing us with dedicated volunteers. Through support like theirs, we were able to serve over 100 children.  

We are excited to announce our continued partnership with Valley National Bank. Through their recent investment, NMIC plans to enhance our Education & Career Services by expanding the curriculum of our career training programs and adapting them to the needs of our students.  

“Education and workforce development are foundational cornerstones that allow individuals to grow and thrive in this economy. That’s why Valley is proud to support NMIC in its efforts to support these initiatives and to serve as catalyst for positive change in our community,” Jason Cahn, Sr. CSR-CRA Officer of Valley National Bank.  

Because of thoughtful partners like Valley, we can meet our communities with responsive services.  

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s Career & Education Services.  

Cafecito con Maria 

For this newsletter’s Cafecito con Maria, we have particularly delightful news to reveal—Maria was named in City & State New York’s list of, “The 2022 Nonprofit Power 100!” The Nonprofit Power 100 is a list of the top public officials, philanthropic leaders, and nonprofit executives leading the sector in New York. We are pleased to hear the great news and congratulate Maria on her well-deserved success.  

Maria began working for NMIC in 1998 as the Director of Social Services and held several roles at our organization before becoming our Executive Director in 2014. She is a long-term passionate advocate for women’s rights and is one of the co-founders of the Brides’ March, who for the last 23 years, have marched to raise awareness about domestic violence.  

This past Brides March was held on September 26th where survivors, organizers, public officials, and advocates distributed bilingual information about domestic violence and resources for support along their marching path as they inspired New Yorkers across Uptown and the Bronx to begin a dialogue about domestic violence.  

We hope that Maria has a comfortable pair of sneakers because she also marched at The Washington Heights & Inwood Coalition against Interpersonal and Domestic Violence and Long Live Our Butterfly’s “Shine the Light” event on October 1. The event was a joint march against domestic violence and ceremony for the street co-naming on West 167th Street in honor of Ramona Elizabeth Rodriguez.  

We commend Maria’s nonstop leadership; however, advocacy work requires an entire community to make a substantial difference. To end the cycle of violence against women, we need to address patriarchal attitudes and practices that encourage domination and violence, we must ensure that women’s rights are part of our education system, we must provide social support to survivors of domestic violence, and we must raise community awareness of how to respond to acts of violence and to support survivors. We must work together and fight against the cycle until domestic violence comes to an end.  

Click here to read City & State New York’s 2022 Nonprofit Power 100 List.  

NMIC in the News

  • For the approximately 476,000 undocumented immigrants living in NYC, multiple barriers are creating gaps in vaccination rates among undocumented immigrants. The lack of accommodation for undocumented immigrants in the U.S. health system furthers the narrative that undocumented immigrants are ineligible to receive a vaccination for free and will risk deportation. Marc Valinoti, coordinating immigration attorney of the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC) explains “if you are bringing someone into the country like a relative or spouse and legalizing them here, you would have to show that as the person who is here with status, you have the income and resources that at least for a several year period, the person you are bringing in would not become reliant on government resources. That they would not become a public charge.” Click here to read more.  
  • The Nonprofit Power 100, a partnership between City & State and its sister publication, New York Nonprofit Media, identifies the sector’s most important and effective leaders. Among the individuals listed is NMIC’s Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, LMSW. Click here to read more.  
     

Observances  

  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month 
  • Domestic Violence Week of Action, October 17-23 
  • Indigenous People’s Day, October 10 
  • International day of the Girl Child, October 11 
  • National Coming Out Day, October 11  
  • World Mental Health Day, October 10 
  • Purple Thursday, October 20 
  • National Immigrants Day, October 28 
  • Weatherization Day, October 30 
  • Halloween, October 31 

October 2022 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

September 2022 – Notes from NMIC

Did you know that Washington Heights was one of the last areas of Manhattan to be developed? Until the end of the 1800s, Washington Heights was primarily a rural space that held country homes of Manhattan’s upper class. Since, immigrants from around the world have always flocked to the area. Armenian, Jewish, Cuban, Irish, Puerto Rican, and Dominican residents have all planted roots here.

We proudly celebrate our vibrant communities, which is no doubt a result of having one of the largest immigrant populations in Upper Manhattan. This month, we are celebrating the threads of our diversity weaving throughout our communities’ heritage, history, and happenings.  

And, while on the topic of ‘happenings’, we are excited to introduce a new segment of our newsletter, “Cafecito con Maria,” where we learn about all the places our executive director, Maria Lizardo, has been recently to advocate for our community.  

Have You Seen Our New Mural?  

Within the lobby of our main office, 45 Wadsworth Avenue, we have a spectacular new mural created by New York based visual and local artist, Jessica Maffia. Jessica works across a wide variety of media to celebrate the familiar and honor the natural world of the city, through repetitive, meditative processes. The mural she created, titled, “Blooming,” celebrates our immigrant community in Upper Manhattan and adjacent Bronx neighborhoods by depicting plant life from South America, Central America, and the South Pacific. 

The artist’s description of “Blooming,” is as follows, “We all deserve to flourish. We deserve safe ground on which to build and sustain our homes, healthy nourishment from which to develop and grow, and supportive communities in which to learn and thrive. The wondrous plant life depicted here, begonia, banana, heliotrope, fuchsia, morning glory, and hibiscus, originates from Mexico, the Dominican Republic and elsewhere in South and Central America as well as the South Pacific. Migration is the seminal right of all beings, all species. These “green immigrants” are well-known, commonly cultivated, and widely celebrated across the Americas. May we collectively see ourselves reflected in this floral abundance and ensure we welcome and protect all who propagate and populate our communities, our nations, and our gardens.”  

We are honored to feature Jessica in our building and would like to thank her for the great joy it brings to everyone who witnesses it.  

Click here to visit Jessica Maffia’s website.  

Brides’ March 2022  

This September 26th, we will come together for the 22nd time to remember Gladys Ricart and all those we have tragically lost to domestic violence and to advocate for a safer future. Gladys Ricart was a Dominican community member from Washington Heights who was murdered in 1999 by her former boyfriend on the day that she was supposed to get married to her fiancé.  

In 2001, Josie Ashton, a young Dominican woman from Florida and took a leave of absence from her job to spend three months marching through several states down the East Coast in a wedding gown to draw attention to the horrors of intimate partner violence. Several New York City based organizations, including NMIC, helped Josie organize the first March, which served as a sendoff for her 1,600-mile journey.  

We continue to march every year to pay tribute to Gladys Ricart and all of those impacted by domestic violence, to distribute bilingual information about domestic violence to communities along the marching path, and to inspire other communities throughout the nation to organize marches that bring visibility to survivors.  

Join us on Monday, September 26, 2022, marchers will start gathering at 8:00 AM at the Holyrood Episcopal Church ~ Iglesia Santa Cruz, located at 715 W 179th Street, New York, NY 10033 in Washington Heights.  

Click here to learn more about Brides’ March 2022.  

Latinx/e Heritage Month & The Dominican Studies Institute 

September 15th-October 15th is Latinx/e Heritage Month. Latinx/e Heritage Month or Hispanic Heritage month (official government designation) honors and recognizes the contributions of Latinx/e Americans to the United States. Latinx/e Heritage Month began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson, and later expanded to cover a 30-day period in 1988. The month occurs mid-September because it is the anniversary of independence for several Latin American countries including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and others. The Latinx/e community accounts for almost a third of New York City’s population.  

CUNY Dominican Studies Institute (CUNY DSI) is always celebrating the contributions and influence of Dominicans within the United States. Founded in 1992, CUNY DSI is the first research institute devoted to the study of people of Dominican descent in the United States and other parts of the world. History is happening all around us and CUNY DSI is producing and disseminating research that highlights crucial events that can otherwise go untold. 

Click here to learn more about CUNY DSI.  

Volunteer on Constitution Day 2022! 

Constitution Day, September 17, recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become citizens of the United States. Why should you join? In 2021, there were more than 400 anti-voter bills introduced in 48 states. These bills disproportionately impact people of color, students, the elderly, and people with disabilities. But you can do something about that by helping spread awareness. 

This upcoming Constitution Day, we invite you to volunteer with us and The League of Women Voters of the City of New York to help hand out thousands of free copies of the United States Constitution and voting information on Saturday, September 17that The Washington Heights Library, Address: 1000 St Nicholas Ave, New York, NY 10032, or at various libraries locations across the city.  

To volunteer at this event or others, please contact the League at: events@lwvnyc.org.  

Cafecito con Maria 

Welcome to ‘Cafecito con Maria’ where we discuss all the places that our executive director Maria Lizardo has been recently to advocate for NMIC and our community. 

Last month, Maria celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Dominican Day Parade. Each year, for the Dominican Day Parade, communities come together in New York City to honor Dominican heritage and culture and to recognize the many accomplishments Dominicans achieve. As a member of the Dominican Day Parade’s board, Maria brings her experience as the Executive Director of NMIC to carry out the parade’s mission.  

Later, Maria took to the streets at the Ni Una Menos Rally which gathered at Plaza de las Americas. Ni Una Menos, or Not One Less, is a Latin American fourth-wave grassroots feminist movement of women’s rights advocates that emerged in response to an increase in public, brutal femicides, as well as other forms of violence against women. Ni Una Menos kicked off on February 27, 2019, with a vigil highlighting the high incidents of femicides in the Dominican Republic, and since then, the collective continues to raise awareness on the issue through community education, forums, and vigils.  

Maria was a panelist at the Center for Urban Future’s policy symposium, Strengthening NYC’s Human Services nonprofits by Reducing Their Administrative Burden. The panel shed light on the ways in which New York policymakers can help strengthen and stabilize critical nonprofit organizations through reducing the often excessive administrative and auditing burdens on nonprofits. 

To learn more about NMIC’s efforts, follow us on social media – @NMICNYC.  

NMIC in the News 

  • The New York City Coalition to End Lead Poisoning gathered on the steps of New York City Hall to unveil their “2022 Lead Agenda.” Among the members of the coalition is the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC). Click here to read more.  
  • One week before classes began this month at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, many incoming medical and dental students were already immersed in Washington Heights, the community where they will live, learn, and give back. During the week, students met Maria Lizardo, executive director of the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, and discussed community activism and advocacy. Click here to read more.  
  • Lead-based paint was banned for use in residential homes in 1978. Yet, many Connecticut cities are still seeing cases of lead poisoning related to it, and many of those cases are children. A new study released by the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation has concluded that 1 in 4 children in some parts of New York are at risk for lead poisoning. Click here to read more.  

Observances 

  • Hunger Action Month  
  • Hispanic/Latinx/e Heritage Month  
  • September 5, Labor Day 
  • September 8, Native Women’s Equal Pay Day 
  • September 11, 9/11 Day of Remembrance  
  • September 17, Constitution Day 
  • September 26, Brides March 2022  

September 2022 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

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