United Way Study on COVID-19 Shows Impact on New York Individuals and Families

A statewide survey conducted in partnership with the United Way of Westchester and Putnam and other local United Ways on the effects of COVID-19 confirms that New Yorkers are facing many challenges due to the pandemic. The study also affirms that some New York communities and populations are being hit disproportionately hard, and most New Yorkers are very worried about themselves or family members being infected with COVID-19 and experiencing mental health issues. In Westchester and Putnam more than 45 percent of households are struggling to live paycheck-to-paycheck or in poverty. The survey revealed that:

  • Most respondents expressed an overwhelming fear of catching COVID-19 (80.7%), followed by a concern with mental health issues (47.6%).
  • Families are concerned about childcare/education and/or remote learning (31.6% of respondents listed this as a top concern); and 61.7% of respondents with children report challenges with juggling work and children’s needs.
  • Hourly workers were far less likely to transition to remote work (32.6%) than salaried workers (63.3%).
  • Of those looking for work, 54.4% reported difficulty finding a job and 46% reported being unable to find a job that provides a sufficient income.

ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Households were struggling to meet basic needs before the pandemic. Pre-pandemic research found that 37% of households in Westchester and Putnam fell below the ALICE Threshold, meaning they were unable to meet a basic household survival budget for housing, food, transportation, childcare, health care and technology. COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted these households.ALICE households:

  • Are statistically more concerned about childcare and education than households above the ALICE Threshold.
  • Are more likely to receive food from a food bank, borrow from friends/family and apply for government assistance than households above the ALICE Threshold

By comparison, households above the ALICE Threshold are more likely to be concerned about non-COVID medical issues and paying off debt and were more likely to increase credit card debt than households Below the ALICE Threshold.
United Way of New York State, in partnership with local United Ways across the state, released the statewide survey to help shed light on the impact COVID-19 on New York communities. In addition, the survey aims to guide and inform United Ways across the state on how to best support New York families through long-term recovery and beyond.
The survey was administered from October 13- November 3, 2020, and made available in both English and Spanish. The survey closed with a total of 5,796 responses from across the state.
The COVID-19 survey has provided a snapshot of critical needs in the state of New York due to the coronavirus and United Way of Westchester and Putnam hopes that the results will help guide conversations, community action, advocacy, and policy ensuring resources are allocated to support those in need. 
For more about the survey click here.

Learn More About United Way’s 211 Helpline

United Way’s Hudson Valley 2-1-1 helpline has been helping people in crisis since 2006 and has become a key resource during the COVID-19 pandemic. To amplify its mission, Hudson Valley 2-1-1 held a webinar to help front-line workers such as childcare workers, social workers, counselors, teachers, human resource professionals, and others in the helping professions learn how to use this valuable resource. 

“Our call center specialists have a wealth of resources at their fingertips,’’ said The United Way of Westchester and Putnam President and CEO Tom Gabriel. “Using the resources available through the 2-1-1 helpline many organizations can more effectively connect their clients to the services that they need.’’ 

United Way’s 2-1-1 Referral Line handles an average of more than 80,000 calls a year from residents from Long Island to the Adirondacks. United Way’s 2-1-1 is a free, confidential, multilingual information (over 200 languages) and referral helpline open 365 days a year.

Nationally certified call specialists are trained to answer questions and provide referrals. In 2018, 2-1-1 added text messaging to its services As COVID-19 continues to unfold, 2-1-1 will be here for residents of the Hudson Valley, Long Island and upstate New York, answering questions about food assistance, housing and shelters, utilities, abuse prevention, suicide, foster parenting, medical help and more. 

If you need help Dial 2-1-1.

Over 800 View Virtual Nonprofit Leadership Summit

Over 800 viewers streamed the 18th annual Nonprofit Leadership Summit, which was hosted by the United Way of Westchester and Putnam last week. The weeklong virtual summit celebrated diversity, equity, and inclusion, by having five keynote speakers share why creating a diverse environment that supports equity and inclusion is important for nonprofits and other organizations. The goal was to help encourage nonprofit organizations to implement diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values throughout their operations, programs, and leadership. 

“Even though we had to re-imagine this event as a virtual summit, the theme that we planned is not only still relevant today, but it is essential,” said United Way of Westchester and Putnam President and CEO Tom Gabriel, who opened each day’s program. “Through this summit we are privileged to add our voices to the chorus celebrating and embracing diversity, equity and inclusion. It is our fervent hope that this week’s summit in some small way will help us all better value the visible and invisible qualities that make us who we are.” 

This year’s virtual event featured distinguished speakers including Richard Brown, Vice President of Philanthropy for American Express, who closed out the week’s programming. Brown, a Westchester resident who attended Greenburgh Schools, said he has worked in philanthropy for 30 years at six different companies, much of the time focusing on diversity. He said in his current position at American Express he is deeply involved in combatting systemic racism and promoting and advancement. 

“We are in this very critical moment,” said Brown. “This isn’t simply a black moment, or a person of color moment, this is an American moment. America would be better if this DEI movement takes roots because the weight of racial bigotry, the detrimental effects of anti-black racism, and the debilitating impact of systemic racism is a burden America has had to bear for centuries. And freeing America from this bondage will liberate us all. And I’m so happy we have an opportunity for this moment, and for all of us to do something together. And I do believe, really, that we all will benefit as a country for this”. 

Other speakers throughout the week included:Marco Davis, President & CEO, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, former Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Educational  Excellence for Hispanics who discussed creating a more equitable social sector. See his presentation here. 

Sean Thomas-Breitfield, co-director of the Building Movement Project, and co-author of the Race to Lead Report, discussed the nonprofit racial leadership gap. See his presentation here. 

Kishshana Palmer, CFRE, a nonprofit consultant, coach, fundraiser, and author/blogger for “Secret Lives of Leaders”, spoke about promoting diversity in your marketing and fundraising efforts. See her presentation here. 

Chitra Aiyar, a TED Speaker who is the former Executive Director of Sadie Nash Leadership Project and co-producer of “Claiming Our Voice See her presentation here.

A recap of the five days of programming as well as additional educational materials can be viewed here.

Continuing education credits are available through Fordham University’s School of Social Service for a fee for those who complete the educations materials in each session.

Thank you to the Nonprofit Leadership Summit sponsors: TD Bank, Con Edison, Nonprofit Westchester, Council Services Plus, HRG – Hospitality Resource Group, Marks Paneth, Paycor, Association of Development Officers, Fordham University, MVP Healthcare, Pace University, Westchester Local Development Corp., and Westchester Library System.

United Way’s “Take a Walk in Her Shoes” to feature Today Show’s Jean Chatzky and honor Jean Marie Connolly

White Plains, N.Y, (November 2019) – The award-winning financial editor of NBC’s TODAY Show, Jean Chatzky will be the keynote speaker on December 10 when the United Way Women’s Leadership Council will hold its “Take a Walk in Her Shoes” Breakfast, the 7th Annual Celebration of Women in Philanthropy. Jean Marie Connolly will be recognized with the 2019 Woman of Distinction Award.

“Take a Walk in Her Shoes” is a morning that recognizes and reinforces the work of women helping to lift up women and children living on the financial edge in Westchester and Putnam counties. The breakfast event will be held from 8-10 am at Abigail Kirsch at Tappan Hill in Tarrytown.

Jean Chatzky is a particularly fitting guest for “Take a Walk in Her Shoes” as one of our missions at United Way is to empower women and families who are struggling to make ends meet through financial education,’’ said Tom Gabriel, President and CEO of the United Way of Westchester and Putnam. “Our recently launched Alice $ense program works to teach money management skills that can result in long-term financial stability. Like the United Way, Jean has helped to lead the way for women by giving them the tools to succeed.”

Alice $ense was named for the United Way’s study which shed light on the struggles of working families living on the financial edge. The most recent ALICE (Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed) report released in late 2018 by United Way found that 40 percent of Westchester and Putnam residents live paycheck to paycheck or in poverty and 74 percent of single-mom homes struggle to make ends.

Founder and CEO of HerMoney.com and Financial Editor for NBC’s TODAY Show,

Chatzky launched HerMoney Media and HerMoney.com in 2018 to provide women with information about money they can actually trust.  Chatzky has also appeared on many other programs including Oprah, MSNBC, CNN, The View, and The Talk. Millions have tuned into her podcast, HerMoney with Jean Chatzky which has received shout outs from The New York Times, Yahoo Finance and Refinery29.

This year the United Way of Westchester and Putnam proudly honor Jean Marie Connolly,  Director, Client Relations and Development at Altium Wealth, who has dedicated years of service to the not-for-profit community helping local residents through such organizations as Hope’s Door, Feeding Westchester, and American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women. A highly-regarded business leader, Connolly provides financial solutions to high net worth individuals and their families, women in transition, business owners and corporate executives.

Proceeds from the Women’s Leadership Council breakfast go to support programs that help women to become self-sufficient such as UWWP’s Teach me to Fish, which provides job skills training and support for the chronically unemployed and Alice $ense, which helps families build personal savings, and better manage spending to achieve long-term financial stability. Sponsors of this year’s event are PURE Insurance, IBM, Altium Wealth and M&T Bank.

Individual tickets are at $125, with tables and sponsorships also available. To learn more and reserve your seat today, please visit http://www.new.uwwp.org/event/take-a-walk-in-her-shoes-breakfast-celebration.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities and program journal ads, please contact Margaret Tramontine at mtramontine@uwwp.org or 914.997.6700 x737.

Controller Position Available


Job Description

Position:         Controller

Reports to:     Chief Operating Officer

Category:       Exempt


Primary function:

Manage day to day input of financial information to maintain accurate and timely financial position by analyzing data.  Oversee and manage the organization’s various accounting functions and reporting system activities such as accounts receivable and payable processing, accurate financial transaction posting, financial report and statement preparation, annual audit and IRS Form 990.  Project cash flow, assist with budgeting and manage cash to meet organizational needs.  Perform all work within the guidelines of GAAP standards.


Position requirements:

Education:  Bachelor’s degree in accounting or equivalent

Experience:  Minimum of five years of accounting and supervisory experience with a working knowledge of accounting principles and standards.  Strong sense of integrity, a commitment to accuracy, and familiarity with nonprofit organizations and their structure a plus.


Core Responsibilities:

Reporting:  Preparation of accurate and timely presentation of United Way of Westchester and Putnam (UWWP) financial statements to the Finance Committee and Board of Directors and financial statements for Hudson Valley 2-1-1 (HV 2-1-1) to the HV 2-1-1 Policy Board on a quarterly basis.  Prepare monthly and/or quarterly billing for 2-1-1 contracts.  Work with external auditors to complete consolidated annual audited financial statements and IRS 990, Perform RUM (Resources Under Management) and cash flow analysis.  Provide requested information to assist with the preparation of select United Way Worldwide (UWW) mandated DB2.   Additional reporting to COO and other departments as requested.

Daily Operations:  Monitor income and review organizational financial commitments, manage cash flow, and cash on hand, including bank transfers, to meet the financial obligations of UWWP as well as HV 2-1-1.  Work with a broker to process all contributions made in the form of securities as well as internal recording and acknowledgment of such contributions.  Act as a liaison to financial institutions for transactions related to daily operations as well as securing credit, both in the form of loans as well as credit cards.  Review line of credit for use in the most prudent and cost-effective manner as well as work with the Board Treasurer and financial institution to obtain the most favorable interest rates related to the line of credit.  Review grants proposed by Community Impact and Resource Development departments as well as HV 2-1-1 for accuracy and adherence to actions taken by the Board of Directors.  Complete financial reporting for grants to grantors, including Hudson Valley 2-1-1.

Review weekly accounts payable requests and processes.  Pay donor designations on a timely basis.

General Ledger and System Maintenance: Review all journal entries prepared by Finance department staff members.  Review bank, pledges, and accounts payable reconciliations as well as all general ledger accounts.  Review accuracy of transactions posted to Stratus Live; notify individual responsible for any inaccuracies and suggest a course of action to correct.  Oversee the input of approved grants into accounts payable.  Reconcile inter-company accounts (HV 2-1-1).  Journalize year-end entries as well as oversee monthly and year-end closes.  Ensure that DataPro and fixed assets software are updated to the latest revisions available.  Establish and maintain protocols and internal controls for the Finance department.

Policies and Procedures:  Implement auditor’s suggestions approved by the Finance Committee and ensure that the organization works within the guidelines stated by GAAP.  Ensure that the department complies with the established rules of operation, procedures and controls, and policies related to confidential information.  Review investment policy and ensure that policy is followed.  Ensure that the department operates in an ethical manner and that a conflict of interest does not exist in the department and in the Finance committee.

Job Relationships:  Work with Treasurer and Finance committee members to direct UWWP in the most fiscally responsible manner.  Inform the Treasurer and committee members of any events relative to the operations and well being of the organization.  With the help of the Treasurer and committee members, establish best practices for overall operations of the finance area.  Present financial statements and relevant issues to the Finance Committee. Interacts with team members at all levels of the organization, public accounting and bank representatives, grantors and other vendors.

Supervision:  Supervise 1.5 direct reports.  Work closely with VP for Operations for accounts payable and payroll functions.


Related Skills:

  • Knowledge of MS Office and accounting software.
  • Excellent verbal and written skills.
  • Ability to present financial information to committees.
  • Managerial skills.
  • Ability to multi-task and work with deadlines.

Other requirements: 

  • Standard office work environment.
  • Ability to lift 20 pounds
  • Occasional local travel/use of personal auto to events within the regional area
  • Attend occasional after-hour and/or weekend activities that benefit UWWP and the community, including special events, community activities and/or times of declared disasters requiring 211 support

Apply:  Email resume and cover letter that includes salary requirements by December 13 to lclifford@uwwp.org.



United Way Announces Winners of ELA’s Rock Star Awards

White Plains, N.Y, (September 27, 2019) – United Way’s Emerging Leaders Alliance has announced the winners of its United We Rock Awards, which honors community-minded and philanthropic young professionals and college students who are making a difference.

Five young professionals from Westchester and Putnam counties were selected by a panel of judges. The honorees are: Gina Avila of Yorktown Heights, Brendan Klein of Pleasantville, Michelle A. Nicholas of Mount Vernon, Sherry Saturno of Tarrytown and Meghan Tooley of Brewster.

United Way of Westchester and Putnam is also honoring the chief analytics department of IBM for its use of machine learning techniques to identify key social service gaps to evaluate enhanced service delivery to specific populations. The members of IBM’s Chief Analytics Department are Amit Banik, Tian Bao, Wyatt Clarke, Sampoorna Dasgupta, Mike Donnelly, Louis Monteagudo, Naveen Senthilkumar,  Liyang Song, Howard Zhang, and Peter Zhu.

“It was a very tough decision as we had so many wonderful candidates,” said Alana Sweeny, President and CEO of United Way of Westchester and Putnam.  “This year’s honorees are an extraordinary group of young professionals who are an inspiration to us all.”

The awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, Oct. 24 at Reid Castle, Manhattanville College in Harrison from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $65 and can be purchased at uwwp.org/united-we-rock. Sponsorships are also available.

For more information on United We Rock, visit www.UWWP.org or contact Faith Ann Butcher, Acting Chief Impact Officer at (914) 997-6700, ext. 753, or fbutcher@uwwp.org.

Bios on the 2019 Rock Star Honorees:


Gina Avila, Yorktown Heights, NY – Ms. Avila currently serves as Assistant Director of Admissions of the Bronx Campus of Mercy College.  She was previously Director of Community and Partner Relations at Forme Medical Center, Director of Alumni Affairs at Grace Institute, Alumni Manager at Young Women’s Leadership Network- College Bound Initiative Alumni and Partnerships, and Admissions Counselor at Monroe College.  Ms. Avila earned a bachelor’s degree in of business administration from Monroe College and a master’s degree in business administration from Mercy College.  She has earned certifications in job and program retention intervention from the Workforce Professionals Training Institute, career coach training from the Grace Institute and college access counseling from Goddard Riverside Options Institute.  Ms. Avila is President and Founder of Westchester Women’s Personal/Professional Empowerment Group, and has contributed her time to El Centro Hispano, the American Heart Association, Family Services of Westchester, the Guidance Center of Westchester, and Yorktown High School.


Brendan Klein, Pleasantville, NY – Brendan Klein is a young adult with developmental disabilities.  He is employed at the Westchester Institute of Human Development (WIHD) through a grant from the Taft Foundation.  Brendan graduated from Pace University’s Lab school program in Pleasantville.  He started a private Facebook group called TicTacGo , a safe social space for young people with disabilities to connect and organize social activities every weekend. Through his position at WIHD, Brendan coordinates meetups such as bowling, movies, online games, Fantasy Football leagues and team building scavenger hunts at places like the Bronx Zoo and the Museum of Natural History. He has been a volunteer in the Pleasantville Ambulance Corps for several years and recently helped to organize an emergency awareness class with Westchester County for self-advocates at WIHD. Brendan and his friends are actively involved in multiple community service projects: they collect coats for the homeless, toys and gym equipment for a school in Harlem, participate in the 914Cares Empty Bowls project and work with several community gardens to grow fresh produce for food-insecure members of our local community.  He also volunteers at the Pleasantville Community Garden.  Brendan was inspired to revive a garden in collaboration with WIHD’s Child Welfare program with the help of his partners at the Pleasantville Community Garden and St. John’s Episcopal Church. The result was the opening of “Adam’s Garden” on July 15.


Michelle A. Nicholas, Mount Vernon, NY – Ms. Nicholas currently serves as the Executive Director of Girls Inc. Westchester, a mission-driven organization focused on inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. She is the Founder and CEO of The Nico Consulting Inc. (TNC) and President of Sexual Assault and Family Education (S.A.F.E.) Guyana, Inc., an organization focused on raising awareness of sexual assault, abuse, and mental health in Guyana, South America. Nicholas also co-created the “25 Influential Women Leaders Award,” which recognizes the successes of regional and national women leaders throughout Guyana. She is a graduate of the University of Guyana with degrees in Economics and Social Work. Nicholas is also a graduate of the Rio Blanco Institute in Brazil and the 2018 graduating class of Leadership Westchester. Ms. Nicholas has contributed her time to numerous organizations including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s Citizens’ Academy, Association of Development Officers and Rotary Club of Wall Street.


Sherry Saturno, Tarrytown, NY – Ms. Saturno is currently the Executive Director of Gramatan Village in Bronxville.  She served as Nursing Home Assistant Administrator and Director of Social Services at Sprain Brook Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where she previously served as Director of Social Services.  Ms. Saturno has also served as Executive Director of Hudson Valley Care Coalition and Clinical Director of Westchester Medical Center.  She wrote and produced a national award-winning documentary short film titled “Human Investment” that explores what drives individuals to invest themselves in the humanity of care. Ms. Saturno earned a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz, and a master’s degree in social work from the Columbia University School of Social Work, and a master’s degree from Long Island University School of Management and Public Service, as well as a certificate in aging and disabilities from Boston University Center for Aging & Disability Education & Research and an advanced project management program certification from Stanford University.  She is also certified as a New York State Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, a New York State Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a New York State Office of Mental Health Special Investigator, a NASW Diplomate in Clinical Social Work Member, a NASW Qualified Clinical Social Worker Member, a NASW Academy of Certified Social Workers Member, a NASW Clinical Social Worker specializing in Gerontology, a NASW Certified Social Worker Specializing in Health Care, an Eden Alternative Certified Associate, and a Department of Motor Vehicles DWI/DUI treatment/evaluation provider.


Meghan Tooley, Brewster, NY – Ms. Tooley currently serves as a physician recruiting coordinator for Caremount Health Solutions, LLC.  She previously served as a legal recruiting coordinator, litigation paralegal, and legal assistant for Boies Schiller Flexner, LLP.  Ms. Tooley earned a bachelor’s degree with concentrations in criminal justice and psychology from Elizabethtown College.  She is also a Certified Professional of the Society of Human Resources Management, of which she is a member.  She also belongs to the Association of Advancement Physician and Provider Recruitment and the Northeast Physician Recruitment Association.  For more than a decade, Ms. Tooley volunteers with the SPCA of Westchester as a canine companion and adoption counselor.


United Way volunteers from IBM’s Chief Analytics Department


IBM Chief Analytics Department, Armonk, NY – Members of IBM’s Chief Analytics Department Amit Banik, Tian Bao, Wyatt Clarke, Sampoorna Dasgupta, Mike Donnelly, Louis Monteagudo, Naveen Senthilkumar,  Liyang Song, Howard Zhang, Peter Zhu, are working with the United Way of Westchester and Putnam on the use of machine learning techniques to identify key social service gaps to evaluate enhanced service delivery to specific populations.  This model uses factors that were never considered before and could help UWWP achieve 35% greater impact and potentially reach 9,000 more families in need of assistance.  The team was recognized by IBM for its efforts with earned a 2018 IBM Volunteer Excellence Award.

United Way Distributes Backpacks and School Supplies to 600 School Children

White Plains, NY (September 2019) – Approximately 600 students in Yonkers, Mount Vernon, Ossining, Elmsford, Peekskill, and Putnam County received backpacks and other supplies in time for school thanks to the United Way of Westchester and Putnam.

United Way of Westchester and Putnam (UWWP) collected the supplies during a “Back to School Drive,” as part of its Campaign for Grade Level Reading.

“This campaign is essential in setting students up for success,” said United Way of Westchester and Putnam President and CEO Alana Sweeny. “It also relieves a significant financial burden from working families who are already struggling to make ends meet.”

Most backpacks contained binders, notebooks, pens, and other school supplies to prepare students for the school year.  All items, worth approximately $11,750, were donated.

“We are incredibly grateful to our many donors, including Raymour and Flanigan, Costco, and numerous individual donors. “Sweeny added.  “We could not do this without their generosity.”

UWWP collected the donations and distributed them at various events in the weeks before school opened.

“School supplies start adding up, especially when you have more than one child,” said Dionne of Yonkers, who is the mother of 5. “Getting the backpacks and other stuff through United Way let the kids start school off right and leaves us better able to pay our regular bills.

UWWP is a member of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR Campaign), a collaborative nationwide effort to improve early learning and early school success for children from low-income families.

The program seeks to promote literacy and ensure that children are on target with reading skills by third grade, a crucial milestone year. Sixty percent of low-income children do not have even one children’s book in the home and only 38 percent of children in Westchester and Putnam are reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.