Press Mentions

Featured Press Mention

Format: 2020-08-04
Format: 2020-08-04

Of course, neighborhood associations are nothing new. But the current moment is a unique time to begin one.

How to Start a Neighborhood Association
Katherine Cusumano
June 11, 2020

How can you be an ally to the Black community? Citizens Committee for New York City CEO, Dr. Rahsaan Harris, explains on CBS New York how people can show genuine solidarity for racial justice

How to be an "ally" to the black community
CBS News
June 08, 2020

Eleven Manhattan small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic will receive $93,000 in relief money for rent, employee pay and more from a nonprofit grant program.

Family-owned Silom Thai in Chelsea will get $10,000 to help stay open after the restaurant offered free meals to health care workers. Enoch's Bike shop in Hell’s Kitchen will also get $10,000 to pay for new infrastructure for social distancing, better ventilation and sanitation.

Tutoring company BOK Solutions, which works with the city to provide public school students programing, will use a $10,000 grant to pay for their instructors’ and teachers’ wages after all in-person sessions were canceled, putting a big hole in the businesses’ income. Family-owned Garber Hardware will get a $10,000 grant after a sharp decrease in sales.

Consulting, design and development agency Van West Group – which creates campaigns for small and mid-sized businesses -- will get $10,000 to pay employees and rent and continue to help drive traffic to their clients.

Immigrant-owned Yours Spa on 18th Street will also get a $10,000 grant to help cover operating costs after coronavirus shut down the store, making them unable to pay bills, wages and rent.

Alfredo Ray Salon in Chelsea will get $8,500, Nextmedia.tv will get $8,000, interior design firm Garcia / Maldonado will get $6,500 and Massage Beyond will get $5,000. Daniel Cooney Fine Art will use a $5,000 grant to create a new website so customers can still buy pieces online.

The West Side Small Business Grants were created to help struggling stores and organizations cover operating costs and other spending so they can stay in business despite declines in sales from coronavirus restrictions.

The grant program was launched by the West Side Community Fund in partnership with the Citizens Committee for New York City and was seeded by funding from Google.

Latest coronavirus updates: Click here for our roundup of the most important developments from NYC and around the world.

Manhattan small businesses get coronavirus relief from grants by West Side Community Fund
Anna Sanders
May 27, 2020

The COVID-19 precautions of sheltering in place and social distancing bring with them both the burdens of entropy and the opportunity for evolution. Either way, it’s not business as usual—and once we return to the days when sit-down trumps take-out, and browsing in a store is a viable choice to rival shopping with your browser, how many of our mom-and-pops will be there to open their doors?

Sadly, these valuable but vulnerable businesses—everything from restaurants to salons to food carts to retail shops—may be less eligible for federal stimulus loans that are keeping others afloat.

Seeking to correct that inequity and supplement other economic relief efforts, The West Side Small Business Grants (WSSBG) program was launched on April 23 of this year. Grant applications are now being accepted for “small businesses [of up to 10 employees] that have been economically hurt by COVID-19 and subsequent stay-at-home mandates,” noted a press release announcing the program. To access the application, click here.

“Nobody in our community has escaped the hardship brought on by this virus, which is why it’s vital that we work together to preserve our neighborhood,” said Michael Phillips, President of Jamestown and West Side Community Fund leader. “Today’s [April 23] announcement means essential money in the hands of small business leaders, so they can adapt their businesses or pay rents, insurance, employee wages and other costs.”

Citizens Committee for New York City (Citizens NYC), the press release further noted, will continue its longtime partnership with the West Side Community Fund (WSCF) by administering the grants, which will serve those in Chelsea, Hudson Yards, and Hell’s Kitchen.

Seeking further clarity regarding the fund’s scope and purpose, Chelsea Community News spoke with Scott Young, VP Development and Communications, Citizens NYC.

West Side Small Business Grants Program Offers Help to the Economically Hurt
Scott Stiffler
Chelsea Community News
May 01, 2020

The West Side Community Fund is now offering grants to help small businesses in Chelsea, Hudson Yards and Hell’s Kitchen stay alive during the COVID-19 pandemic and the stay-at-home order that has shuttered many neighborhood businesses.

Business owners with 10 employees or less can apply for the grants starting April 23 and are eligible for between $5,000 and $10,000. The nonprofit Citizens community for New York City will be responsible for distributing money to the winners, who will be announced on a rolling basis.

The grants are intended to help business owners pay rents, insurance, employee wages and other costs that they may struggle to pay because of the virus’s economic impact.

“Nobody in our community has escaped the hardship brought on by this virus, which is why it’s vital that we work together to preserve our neighborhood,” said Michael Phillips, president of Jamestown and West Side Community Fund leader.

Google, Jamestown, Related/Oxford Hudson Yards, Tapestry Inc.’s Coach Foundation, WarnerMedia and Wells Fargo Foundation provided seed money for the fund’s grants.

New York Rep. Jerry Nadler (D – 10) thinks that the grants are an essential step to helping businesses stay afloat during a time of crisis, he said.

“While absolutely necessary to combat the spread of the virus, it’s no question that many businesses — especially small- and medium-size businesses — have been hurting because they are operating at a limited capacity, or in some cases not at all,” Nadler said, calling the grants “a lifeline.”

West Side nonprofit offers grant money to struggling small businesses
Grant Lancaster
April 24, 2020

The West Side Community Fund is offering grants of up to $10,000 for small enterprises in Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen and Hudson Yards.

The Citizens Committee for New York City is administering the grants.

Grants available for small Manhattan businesses
April 24, 2020

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More Press Mentions

Eleven Manhattan small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic will receive $93,000 in relief money for rent, employee pay and more from a nonprofit grant program.

Family-owned Silom Thai in Chelsea will get $10,000 to help stay open after the restaurant offered free meals to health care workers. Enoch's Bike shop in Hell’s Kitchen will also get $10,000 to pay for new infrastructure for social distancing, better ventilation and sanitation.

Tutoring company BOK Solutions, which works with the city to provide public school students programing, will use a $10,000 grant to pay for their instructors’ and teachers’ wages after all in-person sessions were canceled, putting a big hole in the businesses’ income. Family-owned Garber Hardware will get a $10,000 grant after a sharp decrease in sales.

Consulting, design and development agency Van West Group – which creates campaigns for small and mid-sized businesses -- will get $10,000 to pay employees and rent and continue to help drive traffic to their clients.

Immigrant-owned Yours Spa on 18th Street will also get a $10,000 grant to help cover operating costs after coronavirus shut down the store, making them unable to pay bills, wages and rent.

Alfredo Ray Salon in Chelsea will get $8,500, Nextmedia.tv will get $8,000, interior design firm Garcia / Maldonado will get $6,500 and Massage Beyond will get $5,000. Daniel Cooney Fine Art will use a $5,000 grant to create a new website so customers can still buy pieces online.

The West Side Small Business Grants were created to help struggling stores and organizations cover operating costs and other spending so they can stay in business despite declines in sales from coronavirus restrictions.

The grant program was launched by the West Side Community Fund in partnership with the Citizens Committee for New York City and was seeded by funding from Google.

Latest coronavirus updates: Click here for our roundup of the most important developments from NYC and around the world.

Manhattan small businesses get coronavirus relief from grants by West Side Community Fund
Anna Sanders
May 27, 2020

To read the whole article: please click here. 

Dear friend and fellow New Yorker,
 
As you know, Citizens Committee for New York City has been conducting a survey of our grantees and grassroots community groups to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting you and your community, and what your needs and challenges are at this time.

We are humbled by the overwhelming number of responses that we have received so far. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to amplify your voice.  We're pleased to share some preliminary results of the survey:

-More than 800 respondents, representing all five boroughs of New York City

-The majority of respondents identified as black (47.5%) and Latino/a/x (24%)

-15.3% of respondents are older adults 

-7.7% of respondents identify as LGBTQ+

We've heard from so many New Yorkers in the last two weeks about how they are responding to the current crisis—even in the face of struggle. Groups are instituting daily check-ins, delivering food to senior citizens, initiating platforms for addressing mental health needs, sewing masks for healthcare workers on the front lines, and much more.  Here's just a sampling of the resilience we're hearing about across the city:

Washington Heights (Manhattan):
"Residents in our co-op set up a volunteer group to provide services to our home-bound and/or elderly residents, including delivery from a local bakery that had a 90% drop in demand, personalized book selection and delivery from the co-op's used-book 'library,' elevator button Cloroxing after the porters go home, kitchen-scrap pickup, grocery shopping, etc."

Pelham Gardens (Bronx):"A bunch [of] neighbors got together to move forward with our vision to turn a derelict yard into a thriving garden. We managed to practice social distancing while cleaning up the space. It felt normal and surreal at the same time. Other neighbors looked perplexed, and some were eager to join. It was a beautiful way to get through this unfolding reality."

COVID-19 Survey Results Reveal New Yorkers’ Most Urgent Needs
April 02, 2020

New York, NY (March 23, 2020)—Citizens Committee for New York City (Citizens Committee) has announced the appointment of its new CEO, Dr. Rahsaan Harris, effective March 16. Harris replaces Peter H. Kostmayer, who is retiring after 15 years.
Harris, who has more than 20 years of experience leading nonprofits and international grantmaking, partnering with communities to make local investments, and promoting community organizing, is Citizens Committee’s first black CEO in the organization’s 45-year history. He is a transformative leader and role model who has been a New York City public school teacher, board member of various Harlem-based organizations, devoted Big Brothers Big Sister mentor, and Peace Corps environmental education volunteer in South America.

“Rahsaan is a proven leader and experienced CEO, and is well-positioned to lead our organization into a new era of transformation,” said Chris Ruggeri, chair of the Board of Directors for Citizens Commitee. “We are excited for this new chapter as Citizens Committee helps New Yorkers—especially those in low-income areas—come together and improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods.”

Harris comes to Citizens Committee from the Emma Bowen Foundation—a New York-based organization dedicated to diversifying the media and technology industries by recruiting promising students of color and placing them in paid internships at the nation’s leading companies. As Emma Bowen’s President and CEO, Harris set a new strategic direction that resulted in increased grant revenue and a highly engaged network of students, alumni and influential corporate partners. Harris raised the foundation’s public profile through key speaking and television appearances on outlets such as WABC New York, Fox 5 New York, and Yahoo Finance. Last month, he appeared on CNN to discuss the legacy of Emma L. Bowen, the Harlem community activist who fought to make media inclusive more than 50 years ago.

“I’m honored to be joining Citizens Committee as CEO,” Harris said. “Back in the ’70s, our founders—Sen. Jacob Javits, a Republican, and Newsweek Editor-in-Chief Osborn Elliott, a Democrat—envisioned a better future for all New Yorkers. In the spirit of that bipartisanship—and the beautiful fruits of that labor—we need to remind each other during challenging times that it’s only when we work together that we can achieve real change. And we need each other as never before.”

Harris is no stranger to Javits’s efforts. Emma Bowen worked with Javits in the 1960s and ’70s to end the unwritten policy of preventing black youth from being pages in the U.S. Senate. “Emma Bowen fought so young people of color could have access to the same opportunities as their white counterparts,” Harris said. “As a Harlemite and block association member, I know that positive change happens when New Yorkers work together, not just to improve our neighborhoods and our quality of life—but to create lasting social change.”

Prior to his role at the Emma Bowen Foundation, Harris served as Executive Director of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP), and a program officer at the Atlantic Philanthropies. Harris received his doctorate in Public and Urban Policy from the New School, where his dissertation addressed understanding how socio-economic diversity in the African-American community affects their philanthropic interests. He also holds master’s degrees in Management and High School Science Education from New York University and Columbia, respectively, and a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University. Harris is a board member of Exponent Philanthropy and is co-class agent for Princeton University Class of 1995 Annual Giving. He resides in Harlem, in a Spanish-speaking household, with his wife Elizabeth and daughter Avery.

Kostmayer, whose tenure ends effective March 27, served seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives in the late ’70s and early ’80s. “Peter has played a critical role in the development and success of Citizens Committee for New York City, and we are grateful for his service,” said Ruggeri. “We will miss his leadership, but we wish him all the best in his retirement and future ventures.”

As the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, Citizens Committee, under Harris’ leadership, has developed a survey to better understand its grantees’ challenges and needs during this time of uncertainty. The survey can be found at linktr.ee/citizenscommittee, and Citizens Committee is urging all grantees to respond as soon as possible. The organization plans to analyze the results of the survey and share key insights with elected officials and donors. In addition, Citizens Committee has compiled a list of key COVID-19 resources for New Yorkers.

About Citizens Committee for New York City
Citizens Committee for New York City’s mission is to help New Yorkers – especially those in low-income areas – come together and improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods. Residents are uniquely situated to define and act on the issues affecting their communities. When provided with modest support, neighborhood and school groups can effectively mobilize with the assistance of grants, skills-building workshops, project planning assistance and an equipment share library. In 2019, we provided 596 projects with $2.3 million in grants and services, impacting more than 130,000 residents in 164 different neighborhoods across the five boroughs. Since 1975, we have promoted the spirit of volunteerism, local engagement, and social justice that drives our work. Go to citizensnyc.org to learn more.

Citizens Committee for New York City Names Dr. Rahsaan Harris as New CEO Amid COVID-19 Crisis
March 22, 2020

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