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 Seeking Survey Respondents for COVID-19 Statewide Survey

United Way of Westchester and Putnam is working with New York State United Ways to better understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people living in our communities.  More than 20 Local United Ways and the United Way of New York State are conducting a survey that will be used to inform how to best support New York individuals and families, throughout the long-term recovery and beyond.

United Way of Westchester and Putnam is encouraging every individual or family in Westchester and Putnam counties to complete this survey, especially those who have felt the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by October 27th.

Please complete this survey, which should take less than 10 minutes. Your responses are confidential.

Esta encuesta está disponible en Español.

This survey is a partnership between United Way of Allegany County, United Way of Broome County, United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, United Way of Cayuga County, United Way of Central New York, United Way of Chenango County, United Way of Cortland County, United Way of Dutchess Orange Region, United Way of Greater Oswego County, United Way of the Greater Capital Region, United Way of Genesee County, United Way of Livingston County, United Way of Ontario County, United Way of Northern New York, United Way of Rockland County, United Way of Greater Rochester, United Way of Seneca County, United Way of the Southern Tier, United Way of Tompkins County, United Way of Wayne County, United Way of Westchester and Putnam, and United Way of Wyoming County.

United Way Teams Up with Ossining Schools and Village to Build a Born Learning Trail

Staff from the Ossining School District as well as the Ossining Parks Department assisted the United Way of Westchester and Putnam in building a bilingual Born Learning Trail at the park next to Park Elementary School in Ossining on Thursday, Sept. 17.
The Born Learning Trail turns everyday experiences into teachable moments. This interactive trail contains signs with instructions for simple games that will turn an excursion at the park into fun learning moments for young children. The trail’s theme of Watch! Stop! Learn! Play! encourages parents and caregivers to follow the child’s lead, building the child’s curiosity and confidence, and reinforces learning opportunities present in everyday life.
“I am so thankful for our partnership with the United Way,” said Ray Sanchez, Superintendent of the Ossining School District. “The Learning Trail is going to help enrich the lives of our youth.  I know this trail is going to make a difference to our community.”  

United Way’s Partnership with H.O.P.E. Community Service is ‘Vital’ to helping the people of New Rochelle

UNITED, we can change lives.
In the midst of the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, H.O.P.E. Community Service in New Rochelle has been distributing food and providing other services to thousands of families. However, a wrench was thrown into its capacity when its commercial air conditioning unit broke during the hot days of summer. As a result, produce was going bad quickly and the team of staff and volunteers were working in sweltering conditions.
The United Way awarded H.O.P.E. Community Service a grant for $8,000 to go toward the air conditioning repair, in addition to other funding that the former distributed to the latter earlier in the year. Collectively, H.O.P.E. Community Service has received $46,500 through the United Way as well as thousands of essential goods to distribute to their clients.
“The partnership we have with United Way has been vital to our ability to meet the increased need in the community,” said Walter Ritz, Executive Director of H.O.P.E. Community Service. “United Way has helped our food efforts by not only providing us the means to purchase more food but by awarding us funds to fix our air conditioning unit, has provided us the capacity to keep the food we do get fresh longer. Through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, HOPE was granted money to help with eviction and foreclosure prevention. In addition, it has supplied essential goods such as socks, school supplies, and books to support our families.”
H.O.P.E. Community Service was also a recipient of UWWP’s COVID-19 Response Grants and of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.

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’s 211 Helpline Answers the Call for Help

United Way’s 211 Helpline has been a source of information, comfort, and hope to callers during the COVID-19 public health crisis. In March 2020, both Westchester and Putnam counties designated the 211 Helpline as the public’s point of information for COVID-19 related issues. The 211 Call Center in White Plains answered 59,572 calls between March 1 and August 31, 2020. Most calls were not about physical health or testing questions about COVID-19. Instead they were related to food or financial assistance, housing issues, or mental health issues.

For instance, a woman called from White Plains, she was sitting in a park with her husband and two young children. Her family was homeless and the shelter they were staying at told them to leave and gave them the number to a shelter in Mt. Vernon to call. The Mt. Vernon shelter told them that the husband needed his birth certificate in order to stay there. Since he did not have a way of getting that document, the family was told that there is nothing that can be done for them. The 211 Call Specialist contacted the Westchester Department of Social Services manager, provided the details of the call and was able to get this family assistance.

Mrs. O from Mahopac is a recent kidney transplant recipient who called in need of food. She asked if she could confide in the 211 Call Specialist. “I am eating my service dog’s food to take my medication,” Mrs. O admitted. The call specialist took her information and told her that someone will call her back. The situation was shared with United Way of Westchester and Putnam, which arranged for the caller to have groceries delivered to her that day, as well as for her to be enrolled in the Heroes and Homebound Hot Meals program and the Putnam Emergency Food Distribution.

“During the pandemic, United Way and the 211 Helpline helped me get food and groceries delivered when I could not leave my home,” said Mrs. O.  “They are godsends for sending meals and groceries to me.”

A caller was concerned about a neighbor’s mental health; the neighbor was traumatized from 9/11 and was emotionally fragile. The viral outbreak has her “freaking out” a bit and was using language that the caller had concerns about. The caller does not feel the person is suicidal but was worried that the person may hurt themselves. The 211 Call Specialist provided options to the caller- the phone number to the NYS Mental Health hotline and suggested that her neighbor could also call 211 directly anytime.​

United Way Gives Hope By Alleviating Food Insecurity

Food insecurity became a reality for many families in Westchester and Putnam that were struggling to live paycheck to paycheck as well as homebound seniors during the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis. The Hudson Valley 211 Helpline saw a 1,370% increase in food assistance calls between March and August 2020 as compared to the same timeframe in 2019. The calls identified that food insecurity was two-fold: for those homebound who could not leave their houses to get food and for those who lost their jobs and could not afford to pay for food.

“This program is helpful because due to the circumstances, there isn’t a lot of work and our incomes have diminished. We are very thankful that it helps with our meals to feed our children”Marta, White Plains

“Like many people, we lost our jobs due to the pandemic and have struggled very much with the burdens of bills and food. Your programs
have allowed us to make sure we can focus on our bills being paid while ensuring that we still have food on our tables. Your help in this time is something that cannot be replaced and will never be forgotten.
”- Amanda, Mahopac

“We are so thankful for the grant from the United Way of Westchester and Putnam. It has been a tremendous help as our emergency food distribution has increased 1,200% since the crisis began.” Kathy Purdy, Executive Director, Hillside Food Outreach

United Way of Westchester and Putnam (UWWP) partnered with more than 50 nonprofits in Westchester and Putnam counties, as well as local governments and school districts to address the food-related issues. Through its first round of COVID-19 Response Grants and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, UWWP administered over $525,000 in funding to local meal programs and food pantries. We also distributed 310,00 lbs of produce and groceries to families and seniors in need as well as coordinated 4,305 restaurant-prepared delivered meals through the Heroes and Homebound Hot Meals Program.

Coronavirus – Nonprofit Resources

Resources to help your organization navigate through the effects of the coronavirus.

Tele-Health for Substance Abuse


The Child Care Council of Westchester is Here to Help You Find Child Care

The Council is reaching out to the child care and after school community to see who is open and has openings to provide care during this time of need. Their staff is there to help. Please call 914-761-3456 x 140. Kindly leave a message and they will return your call. Please check the Child Care Council Facebook page for child care updates and other important info regarding COVIV-19. Resources that parents might find useful while at home with their children will also be posted.

Small Business Administration Loans

Join national call with SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza on COVID-19’s economic impacts and the SBA’s targeted relief efforts for the nation’s small businesses, including nonprofits. Friday, March 20th, 2020 at 2:30 pm ET. Register hereFind out more about the three step process.

New York State Paid Sick Law S8091-A10153 NY 2020 provides for:

  • Employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income less than $1 million will provide job protection for the duration of the quarantine order and guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine including wage replacement for their salaries up to $150,000.
  • Employers with 11-99 employees and employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million will provide at least 5 days of paid sick leave, job protection for the duration of the quarantine order, and guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine including wage replacement for their salaries up to $150,000.
  • Employers with 100 or more employees, as well as all public employers (regardless of number of employees), will provide at least 14 days of paid sick leave and guarantee job protection for the duration of the quarantine order.

For detailed information about what the law provides, please visit A Better Balance’s fact sheet here. With special thanks to Westchester Women’s Agenda for their advocacy and information.

Mortgage payments will be waived for 90 days

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said mortgage payments will be waived for 90 days for those with financial hardships as the state ramps up measures to mitigate the health and economic impacts of the new coronavirus.

The directive includes:

  • Waiving mortgage payments based on financial hardship
  • No negative reporting to credit bureaus
  • Grace period for loan modification
  • No late payment fees or online payment fees
  • Postponing or suspending foreclosures
  • Waiving ATM fees, late fees, overdraft fees and credit card fees at state chartered banks.

100 percent of the nonessential workforce must stay home

This order exempts essential services. All private businesses are urged to allow their non-essential employees to work from home.

Essential services include industries such as shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, health care providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions, as well as other industries critical to the supply chain.

Information on laws and regulations offered by the Human Services Council

NPW has been participating on calls hosted by the Human Services Council. Although NY City centric, the calls offer critical information around current and new laws and regulations and questions from agencies are answered by subject matter experts. We will continue to participate on calls. If you wish to do so, here is the most up to date information:

  • Calls Next Week, starting Monday, March 23rd are Monday, Wednesday and Friday
  • The number to call is 425-436-6324 and the PIN is 515229#
  • Participants are encouraged to send questions in advance to info@humanservicescouncil.org.

FAQ for NY State Businesses and Other Helpful Resources

Empire State Development (ESD) has created a FAQ to offer information to businesses regarding State regulations and general guidance related to the coronavirus that can be helpful to nonprofit organizations as well. If your question is not answered, please contact ESD via their website.

Other Helpful Resources:

Federal Government Families First Coronavirus Response Act

We are awaiting summary information and concerned that there is not sufficient economic relief for the nonprofit sector.

Medical Supplies

Please use this form to request medical supplies from Westchester County Department of Emergency Services – Emergency Management Division Medical Supply Shortage Request Form. Return to: wceoc@westchestergov.com. Please let us know if you have not received a response within 24 hours:

We know there is a shortage of supplies and are also working with a member agency to gain access to these needed supplies.

Children’s Bureau

Early Childhood Development

Office of Head Start

Office of Child Support Enforcement

Office of Community Services

Office of Refugee Resettlement

Office on Trafficking in Persons


Temporary Food Distribution Points

Use this link to find temporary food distribution locations. Help provided by Feeding Westchester

3/13/20 Update from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families

Funding for States to Address COVID-19

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced upcoming action by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide resources to state and local jurisdictions in support of our nation’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The $8.3 billion dollar Supplemental passed by Congress included statutory language which prescribed the exact formula for disbursing the money: states will receive 90% of their 2019 CDC PHEP grants.  This marks the first portion of funding to states from the $8.3 billion supplemental.  Today, CDC is contacting State Health Officers to move forward with awarding over $560 million to states, localities, territories, and tribes. CDC will use existing networks to reach out to state and local jurisdictions to access this initial funding. To view the list of CDC funding actions to jurisdictions, click here.

Helping Communities Know Mitigation Strategies

The CDC released their “Implementation of Mitigation Strategies for Communities with Local COVID-19 Transmission.”  Essentially, this is a guide describing possible mitigation strategies for communities dealing with transmission at three different levels: (1) None/Minimal, (2) Moderate, or (3) Substantial.  Community mitigation strategies, which are non-pharmaceutical interventions, are often the most available interventions to help slow the transmission of COVID-19 in communities.  The Mitigation Plan includes a set of actions that persons and communities can take to slow the spread of respiratory virus infections. The Community Mitigation Plan can be found here.

Guidance on Infection Control For Healthcare Workers

The CDC released updated guidance on infection prevention and control recommendations. Healthcare workers are fighting this outbreak on the front lines, and this guidance is intended to provide assistance to healthcare settings that are handling suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. This guidance is applicable to all U.S. healthcare settings, but not for non-healthcare settings. There is separate guidance for that. The new guidance on infection control can be found here.

Guidance for Preparing Workplaces

This week, the Department of Labor released practical guidance for how to prepare workplaces for COVID-19. This guidance will help to educate workers and employers about the COVID-19 outbreak. The guidance can be found here.

Guidance for Laboratories

The CDC has been actively working to address the need for testing across the country. In addition to public health laboratories, private labs are doing testing. In addition to reviewing the Updated Guidance on Evaluating and Testing Persons for Coronavirus Disease 2019, the CDC recently updated the FAQ website for laboratories, and we encourage you to read through the site to answer preliminary questions, though we stand ready to answer other questions that you may have.

Guidance to Prepare Homeless Shelters

We recognize persons experiencing homelessness are an especially vulnerable population. CDC released guidance on March 9, to help homeless shelters plan, prepare and respond to COVID-19. The guidance can be found here.

OMB Flexibilities

On March 9, 2020, OMB issued a memo that provides administrative relief for recipients and applicants of Federal financial assistance who are directly impacted by COVID-19. The grant flexibilities include 10 actions that HHS can take to provide short-term administrative and financial management relief, allowing funds to be awarded quicker and giving grantees the ability to focus on their critical response, research, or services. More information can be found here.

General Preparation Information

On March 9, 2020, the White House Coronavirus Task Force released practical steps that we recommend posting and sharing to keep workplaces, school, home and commercial establishments safe. This information can be found here.

The COVID-19 response is a whole-of-government effort and each department has a number of specific resources. We encourage you to explore those resources as necessary to respond to the situation in your communities.

Coronavirus – Closures – Libraries

School Closures

Government Service Closures

Nonprofit Closures or Service Updates

Updated on 3/14/2020 at 9:30 a.m.


The Brewster Library will be closed until at least March 20, 2020.

Buttterfield Library will be closed until April 1st.

Desmond-Fish Public Library to the public for two weeks from March 13 – March 27, 2020.

The Mahopac Library is suspending all of our programs and use of program rooms for the remainder of March and will be CLOSED to the public 3/16/20 & 3/17/20.

Patterson Library will be closed from March 16 until at least March 28, 2020.

Putnam Valley Library has cancelled all programs until the end of March.


Library Dates Closed
Ardsley Public Library March 14 until further notice
Bedford Free Library March 14 – March 31
Briarcliff Manor Public Library March 14 – March 15
Chappaqua Library March 14 – March 18
Dobbs Ferry Public Library March 13 – March 31
Eastchester Public Library March 15 – March 16
Greenburgh Public Library March 13 – March 30
Harrison Public Library & West Harrison Branch Library March 16 – March 29
Hastings-on-Hudson Public Library March 14 – April 1
Katonah Village Library March 13 – March 15
Larchmont Public Library March 14 – March 29
(South Salem) Lewisboro Library March 16 – March 22
Mamaroneck Public Library March 16 – March 30
Mount Pleasant Public Library & Valhalla Branch Library March 14 – March 15
New Rochelle Public Library March 13 – March 25
Huguenot Children’s Library March 11 – March 25
North Castle Public Library & North White Plains Branch March 14 – March 31
(North Salem) Ruth Keeler Memorial Library March 16 – March 29
Ossining Public Library March 15 – March 16
(Peekskill) Field Library March 13 – March 15
Town of Pelham Public Library March 14
Port Chester-Rye Brook Public Library March 14 – March 22
Purchase Free Library March 14 – March 27
Rye Free Reading Room March 16 – March 29
Scarsdale Public Library March 14 – March 22
(Tarrytown) Warner Library March 15 – March 18, closed on Sundays
(Yorktown) John C. Hart Memorial Library Closed on Sundays

Crystal Ukaegbu Awarded a Ruth Taylor Scholarship

United Way of Westchester and Putnam (UWWP) is proud to announce that Crystal Ukaegbu of New Rochelle has been awarded a 2019 Ruth Taylor Scholarship. She is one of ten recipients who collectively received scholarship awards totaling $19,500.

“I know each one of these extraordinary graduate students will make outstanding contributions to their fields and to their community,” said UWWP President and CEO Tom Gabriel. “We at United Way wish them the very best as they further their education and embark on challenging careers.”

Ukaegbu is currently employed as a Health Educator at Mount Vernon Community Health Center, and is a Health and Trauma Policy intern at Resident Wellness in New York City.  She has previous experience at All Metro Health Care and the City of Bridgeport Department of Health.  Ukaegbu also contributes her time to the Brooklyn Free Clinic, Church of Christ food pantry in Mount Vernon, Americorps, and NGWA National Association.

“I am very honored to receive the Ruth Taylor Scholarship, “Ukaegbu said.  “ I want to thank everyone at United Way for selecting me. This scholarship not only assisted me in continuing my graduate school education but also gave me a push to continue on my path. It’s always good to know there are organizations willing to support students as we are the future.”

Ukaegbu earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science from the University of Bridgeport.  She is currently enrolled at SUNY Downstate Medical Center School of Public Health and is pursuing a Masters of Public Health degree.  Her award is in the amount of $3,000.

The Ruth Taylor Scholarship was established in tribute to Ruth Taylor upon her retirement as Westchester County’s Commissioner of Public Welfare and in recognition of her nearly four decades of outstanding service. The annual awards are sponsored by United Way of Westchester and Putnam, Westchester County Government and the Urban League of Westchester County.  Over a period of 12 years, almost $160,000 has been awarded to 60 students with an average award value of $2,655. Applicants must be residents of Westchester County and enrolled in graduate studies in Social Work or Public Health on a full-time basis. Criteria used in evaluating applications include a demonstration of public service, financial need, and scholastic capacity.