FREE WEBINAR: 10/27 at 10 a.m. 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 will hold a free webinar on October 27 at 10 a.m. 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. Sign up at uwwp.org/211webinar. 

“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. We hope everyone will join us for this free, instructional program.’’ 

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 Provides Student Support in Westchester and Putnam

Studies show that school readiness contributes to a student’s success. The United Way of Westchester and Putnam invested and leveraged nearly $150,000 in education initiatives that positioned students to succeed in the remote learning environment. 
Through the first round of COVID-19 Response grants, UWWP funded the purchasing of tablets, Chromebooks, printers, and other electronic devices for organizations such as Latino U College Access (LUCA), the Guidance Center, and the Youth Shelter of Westchester. 
UWWP also provided the traditional school supplies—backpacks filled with school supplies to 2,400 students in Yonkers, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, White Plains, Port Chester, Mount Kisco, Ossining, and Peekskill as well as throughout Putnam County.
In addition, UWWP distributed over 10,000 books through food pantries and other nonprofits to children from low- to moderate-income households. 

United Way of Westchester and Putnam Hosts Sold-Out Day of Golf

White Plains, N.Y. (September 2020) – United Way of Westchester and Putnam honored Kevin J. Plunkett, Esq., Director of Strategic Initiatives at Simone Development Companies and Former Westchester Deputy County Executive at its 2020 Day of Golf, presented by PepsiCo at Scarsdale Golf Club on September 14.

“Kevin has been a longstanding supporter of the United Way of Westchester and Putnam. Specifically, he was instrumental in getting our 211 Helpline recognized as an official County partner,” said United Way President and CEO, Tom Gabriel. “Today, our 211 Helpline answers tens of thousands of calls each year from frightened residents here in Westchester and throughout the Hudson Valley and beyond.”

Funds raised help to support United Way’s continuing COVID-19 pandemic response efforts and the local nonprofit community. The Day of Golf Committee members included Plunkett, John M. Flannery, Esq. of Wilson Elser, Bud Hammer, and Cathy Hoffman of Atlantic Westchester Inc., and William Mooney III, Esq. of Signature Bank.

“United Way has distributed more than 310,000 lbs of groceries and prepared meals to over 14,000 households,” Gabriel continued. “We have donated more than $2.3 million in essential goods to assist people with their basic human needs and have distributed over $1.3 million in grants to nonprofits serving our most vulnerable residents.”

United Way of Westchester and Putnam recognized Kevin Plunkett as the honoree of their 2020 Day of Golf. Pictured Margaret Tramontine, Chief Development Officer, Tom Gabriel, President and CEO, honoree Kevin Plunkett, and Rebecca Snyder, Director of Special Events and Development

The sold-out event featured a round of golf with contests, BBQ lunch on the course, a cigar rolling station, and a grab and go gourmet dinner. Players also took their best shot in a “Beat the Honoree” contest, to try to hit farther on a par 3 hole than the event honoree.

“I am very proud to be recognized by the United Way of Westchester and Putnam,” honoree Plunkett said. “Over 400,000 households have been helped in Westchester and Putnam counties by United Way over the last year. It is a great honor to be here, to be recognized, and to have a golf outing in these tough times to support this great cause.”

The tournament’s Long Drive contest winners were Bill Winters of Tompkins Mahopac Bank and James McHale III of JP McHale Pest Management and the Closest to the Pin winners were James McHale Jr. of JP McHale Pest Management and Desmond Lyons of Lyons McGovern LLP. The Day of Golf event was generously sponsored by Allan M. Block Agency, Inc., Apple Bank, Atlantic Westchester, AtwoB, Casamigos Spirits Company, Charles Newman Co., CPL Architecture Engineering Planning, Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP, Jean Marie Connolly, and Mark Iannucci, JP McHale, Kensico Cemetery, LeChase Construction, Levitt-Fuirst, Lyons McGovern LLP, Matthew Lyness, Mutual of America, PCSB Bank, PepsiCo, Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 21, Plunkett Attorneys at Law, Bill and Tom Mooney at Signature Bank, Simone Development Companies, Skunktown Distillery, Tompkins Mahopac Bank, and Westfair Communications.

United Way Non-Profit Leadership Summit to Focus on Encouraging Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Westchester County, N.Y. (September 2020) – United Way of Westchester and Putnam’s Nonprofit Leadership Summit 2020 will focus on a topic that now more than ever is relevant in the corporate and not-for-profit worlds: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

The theme for this year’s summit is “Preparing for the Success of Tomorrow Begins with Embracing Equity Today.” The goal is to help encourage not-for-profit organizations to focus on diversity and inclusion as core values throughout their operations, programs, and leadership.

“This year we have seen that the message of equity, diversity, and inclusion is more relevant than ever before,’’ said United Way of Westchester and Putnam President and CEO Tom Gabriel. “We cannot move forward into the future by holding onto to old ways that don’t serve our communities or our nation. Leaders of the future should be reflective of the communities we represent.’’

Over five days, this year’s virtual event will feature high-level speakers including Richard Brown, Vice President of Philanthropy for American Express, who will close out the week’s programming.

The summit will be held virtually from Monday, October 5, through Friday, October 9, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Each day will have a 1:1 speed networking session followed by a keynote presentation and ending with a Q&A session. The event is $25 for a weeklong pass thanks to the generous underwriting of TD Bank. Continuing education credits and certificates of completion are available to those who attend all of the keynote presentations.

The goal of the Nonprofit Leadership Summit is to build professional excellence in the purpose-driven organizations of Westchester and Putnam counties. The keynote speakers will speak on this theme through the lens of the nonprofit sector.

Speakers for this week will include:

Monday, Oct. 5

Marco Davis, President & CEO, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, former Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics will discuss creating a more equitable social sector.

Tuesday, October 6  

Sean Thomas-Breitfield, co-director of the Building Movement Project, and co-author of the Race to Lead Report, will address the nonprofit racial leadership gap.

Wednesday, October 7

Kishshana Palmer, CFRE, a nonprofit consultant, coach, fundraiser, and author/blogger for “Secret Lives of Leaders”, will speak on promoting diversity in your marketing and fundraising efforts.

Thursday, October 8

Chitra Aiyar, a TED Speaker who is the former Executive Director of Sadie Nash Leadership Project and co-producer of “Claiming Our Voice,” will discuss cultivating space for marginalized populations.

Friday, October 9

 Richard Brown, Vice President of Philanthropy at American Express, who will talk about the importance of diversifying the current landscape of nonprofit leaders and transforming an organization’s capacity to attract, develop, and retain leadership talent.

Each day’s schedule will be as follows:

11:30 a.m. – 1:1 speed networking (5-minute intervals)

12:00 p.m. – Keynote

12:55 p.m. – Q&A

1:30 p.m. – Event Ends

Tickets can be purchased here.

The Summit attracts a diverse audience of professionals and volunteer leaders in the nonprofit sector – across disciplines, fields, and experience levels. Last year over 600 people from over 250 organizations attended the event.

In addition to the generosity from TD Bank. The United Way of Westchester and Putnam would like to thank the Summit sponsors 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 Releases Latest ALICE Data on Financially Struggling Families

Even before COVID-19 hit, 38% of households in Westchester and Putnam counties were already one emergency away from financial ruin, setting the stage for an unprecedented economic crisis in the Hudson Valley for the next several years, according to the latest local ALICE® Report released by United Way of Westchester and Putnam.

ALICE® stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE households earn more than the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), but less than they need to afford a basic survival budget. There is no room in their household budgets for emergency expenses.

The 2020 ALICE® report shows that low-income families in Westchester and Putnam systematically lost buying power and financial stability as the cost of essentials outpaced wages. Meanwhile, the number of jobs that provide a living wage did not keep pace with the state’s population. The result was that 141,922 of the households in Putnam and Westchester counties were ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), a large number even before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The 2020 ALICE® NY Report provides a reliable baseline of pre-COVID ALICE households to best direct resources,” explained Tom Gabriel, President and CEO of United Way of Westchester and Putnam. “We can use this information to ensure we don’t leave ALICE behind again as we recover from the current economic and health crisis.”

The report calls for stakeholders across all sectors to use its findings to remove obstacles to financial stability, identify gaps in community resources and build data-driven solutions to help ALICE families achieve economic stability, bolstering the state’s economy overall.  United Way of Westchester and Putnam offers key resources for those living paycheck to paycheck, including our 24/7 211 Helpline, our ALICE $ense Financial Empowerment program, and the FamilyWize prescription discount program

The most recent ALICE report shows that over the last few years, New York and the Hudson Valley’s economy rebounded and the state made investments to assist those living in poverty. However, there is still a large number of Hudson Valley residents who lack sufficient income and resources to pay for housing, food, child care, transportation, and health care. The report continues to show that ALICE lives in every part of our region, from our largest cities to our most rural areas.

Using data from the census and a number of economic studies produced in 2018, The 2020 New York ALICE report shows that:

  • The City of Peekskill jumped from 55% in 2016 to 61% in 2018 of its population falling below the ALICE threshold. Peekskill now has the highest percentage of households living as ALICE or in poverty as compared to any community in Westchester or Putnam.
  • To meet the ALICE threshold for survival, a Putnam 4-person household (two adults, two children in care) must earn $109,236 in Putnam and $78,156 in Westchester.
  • To meet the ALICE threshold for survival, a single person must earn $42,636 in Putnam County or $27,321 in Westchester County to meet the household survival budget.
  • 71% of Single-female headed households with children in Westchester or Putnam are considered ALICE or in poverty.
  • While seniors, ages 65+, account for 27% of the households they comprise 38% of those who struggle to make ends meet in Putnam.
  • While Blacks, African Americans, and Hispanics make up 36% of the household population in Westchester, they are 52% of those falling into the ALICE or poverty categories.

The report debuts a new measurement called the ALICE Essentials Index. This Index chronicles how the cost of housing, child care, food, transportation, health care and a smartphone plan rose at nearly twice the rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

To read a copy of the report and find county-by-county and town-level data on the size and demographics of ALICE as well as the community conditions and costs faced by ALICE households in the Westchester and Putnam counties, visit www.uwwp.org/alice

Regional Launch of ALICE 2020

For those that aren’t familiar with the term, ALICE stands for “Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.” At its core, it is a new way of defining and understanding the struggles of households that earn just above the Federal Poverty Level, but not enough for a survival budget.

ALICE families struggle to meet even their most basic needs such as housing, food, transportation, child care, health care, and necessary technology. When funds run short, these families are forced to make impossible choices between child care or paying the rent… filling a prescription or fixing a car

On Thursday, August 13, at 11 a.m., three Hudson Valley United Ways (United Way of Westchester and Putnam, United Way of Rockland and United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region) presented a virtual workshop on ALICE® 2020 in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester counties.

Learn more about the 2020 ALICE Report from the recording below of the webinar, UWWP hosted yesterday in partnership with United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, and the United Way of Rockland County.

Even before COVID-19 hit, 38% of Hudson Valley households were already one emergency away from financial ruin, setting the stage for an unprecedented economic crisis in the Hudson Valley for the next several years, according to the latest state ALICE® Report released by United Way of New York State.

The 2020 ALICE® report shows the Hudson Valley’s low-income families systematically lost buying power and financial stability as the cost of essentials outpaced wages. Meanwhile, the number of jobs that provide a living wage did not keep pace with the state’s population. The result was that 273,609 of the Hudson Valley’s 723,177 households in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester counties were ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) or in poverty, a large number even before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.  READ THE REPORT

“The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is showing critical areas of need for our economy, health care system, and education capacity during a national crisis. No one is immune to its direct or indirect effects, but ALICE families are particularly vulnerable to hardship from both illness and economic disruption,” said Brenda Episcopo, President and CEO of United Way of New York State, who commissioned the report. Episcopo will be a featured guest during the Virtual Workshop on ALICE® in the Hudson Valley.

The report calls for stakeholders across all sectors to use its findings to remove obstacles to financial stability, identify gaps in community resources and build data-driven solutions to help ALICE families achieve economic stability, bolstering the state’s economy overall.

The most recent ALICE report shows that over the last few years, New York and the Hudson Valley’s economy rebounded and the state made investments to assist those living in poverty. However, there is still a large number of Hudson Valley residents who lack sufficient income and resources to pay for housing, food, child care, transportation, and health care. The report continues to show that ALICE lives in every part of our region, from our largest cities to our most rural areas.

Using data from the census and a number of economic studies produced in 2018, The 2020 New York ALICE report shows that:

  •       To meet the ALICE threshold for survival, a Hudson Valley 4-person household (two adults, two children in care) needs an average annual income of $99,242.40 or $49.62 per hour.
  •       An individual living in the Hudson Valley needs an average annual income of $35,510.40 or $17.76 per hour, to meet the household survival budget.
  •       Economic data show that the number of low-wage jobs increased by 33% from 2007 to 2018 and accounted for the largest number of jobs in New York in 2018.
  •       All but one of New York’s 62 counties have 30 percent or more households earning less than what is needed to afford a basic household budget.

The report debuts a new measurement called the ALICE Essentials Index. This Index chronicles how the cost of housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and a smartphone plan rose at nearly twice the rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

Here are links to the presentation deck, the 2020 NYS ALICE Report, and the NY page on the United for ALICE website.

United Way Distributes $1 Million Worth of Socks to 100 Nonprofit Agencies Across the NY Metro Area

Nanuet, NY (July 21, 2020) – A million dollars’ worth of socks was gifted to thousands of individuals and families in need thanks to a corporate and nonprofit partnership in the New York Metropolitan area.

On Monday, July 20, the United Way of Westchester and Putnam (UWWP) in partnership with The Building Blocks Foundation, a nonprofit that helps homeless children in New York City, and Bombas, comfort-focused apparel brand with a mission to help those in need, distributed 100,000 pairs of socks to 100 not-for-profit agencies across the metro area.

“This partnership was a match made in heaven,’’ said Tom Gabriel, President and CEO of the United Way of Westchester and Putnam. “Thanks to the generosity of Bombas and the resourcefulness of The Building Blocks Foundation and our team at United Way, thousands of people across the region will have the luxury of having something so basic, but so essential, to make their lives a little more comfortable.”

For The Building Blocks Foundation founder and CEO, Jay Mota, partnering with UWWP provided a silver lining to the public health emergency. “We usually work with the New York City schools to distribute the Bombas socks to children in need, but with the COVID-19 pandemic we had to change the way we reached the students,” he explained. “By working with the United Way of Westchester and Putnam we were able to connect with organizations that help families in need in both New York City and Westchester County. It has been an incredible partnership.”

Bombas was pleased with the opportunity to work with UWWP also.

“We remain inspired by the tireless work of United Way of Westchester and Putnam,” said Bombas VP of Giving Kelly Cobb. “Their ability to respond to their community in times of uncertainty is noteworthy. We’re so grateful for all that they do and are proud to call them a Bombas Giving Partner.”

As part of its mission, Bombas donates a specially-designed item for every item sold. To date, they have donated more than 35 million items to those in need with the help of more than 3,000 Giving Partners comprised of homeless shelters and community organizations.

A truck carrying more than 400 boxes of Bombas donation socks arrived at the U-Haul Storage in Nanuet on Monday morning, and before 2 p.m. most of the socks had found a home among grateful organizations.

More than 100 organizations in the metro area benefitted from the distributions including those in The Bronx, Harlem, Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, White Plains and Peekskill serving the homeless, low-income families with children and others. Among the organizations were:

NYC

The Children’s Village
Midnight Run
NYC Police Athletic League

Rockland

Martin Luther King Jr. Multipurpose Center
Rockland Community Action Program

Westchester

Hope Community Services
The Guidance Center of Westchester
Westhab
WestCOP
YWCA Yonkers

“At Hope Community Services we are serving more than 5,000 families a month since the start of COVID-19 and through the generous help of United Way of Westchester and Putnam we have been able to provide not just food but essential goods such as these socks,” said Benito Ceja, program manager at Hope Community Services in New Rochelle.

United Way of Westchester and Putnam has increased its donations during the pandemic, announcing two rounds of grants totaling more than $1 million to not-for-profits. It recently gave away more than $50,000 in toys, school supplies and other goods to Westchester Parks Foundation’s Camp Morty for underprivileged children, and more than 150 mattresses to Westhab’s transitional housing program in Yonkers.

United Way Donates Supplies to Camp Morty

White Plains, NY (June 30, 2020) – As the camp season begins, the United Way of Westchester and Putnam has partnered with the Westchester Parks Foundation to make summer a little bit happier for underprivileged youth who will be unable to attend camp in person this year.

The Westchester Parks Foundation announced that it will move to a free virtual summer camp for its annual Camp Morty program. Applications have been extended on a first come first serve basis to include one- and two-week sessions to 1,200 children currently part of Westchester County’s Department of Social Services, from home they must be receiving services to be eligible to apply. Camp starts July 6.

United Way donated hundreds of activities, toys, books and other supplies that will be part of a package sent home to campers each week along with curriculum and video instructions so they can participate in online activities. United Way also provided sandals, backpacks and school supplies for fall. The total value of the items donated is about $50,000.

“The generosity of the United Way of Westchester and Putnam will have an incredible impact on the Camp Morty campers and their families,’’ said Camp Morty Director Mary Ehring. “The ability for our parents to not have to worry about purchasing things such as backpacks and school supplies for next year, especially given the current pandemic, will be such a huge economic help for them.”

Camp Morty was founded in 2006 and is operated by the Westchester Parks Foundation in partnership with Westchester County’s Department of Social Services, Department of Community Mental Health and Department of Parks, Recreation, and Conservation. The camp provides a quality outdoor traditional summer camp experience for children ages 8 to 15, many of whom are in foster care, live in homeless shelters, or are under child protective services.

New camper applications can be completed using this link. For more information about Camp Morty, visit http://campmorty.com/.

United Way Donates 150 Mattresses to Westhab Housing Program

White Plains, NY (June 23, 2020) – United Way of Westchester and Putnam has donated $150,000 worth of  Tempur-pedic twin mattresses to Westhab to help its transitional housing program in Yonkers.

The donation came through United Way’s Gifts-in-Kind program which partners with Goods 360 to provide essential goods to individuals and families in need through the nonprofits that serve them.

Rich Nightingale, President and CEO of Westhab Inc., said that the mattresses would go to help families moving into permanent housing.

“It’s donations like these that fuel our efforts and keep us building communities and saving lives,’’ said Nightingale. “United Way, thank you for your incredible partnership.’’

Tom Gabriel, President and CEO of the United Way of Westchester and Putnam, said that in the past year, United Way has provided $2 million of donations through the Gifts-in-Kind program, which helps to funnel millions in corporate and other donations to the public through its not-for-profit partnerships.

“We are grateful for our partnership with Goods 360 which allows us to provide new clothing, furniture, and other essential goods to people in our community who are in need,’’ said Gabriel. “It’s partnerships like these that help us to fulfill our mission to lift up people in crisis to self-sufficiency.’’