Dear Friends,

This year, United Way of New York City (UWNYC) set out to understand what it would truly take to make ends meet in this city—to become “self-sufficient.” Federal poverty measures define a single mother earning $16,000 a year as “poor.” We believe that the alleviation of poverty is not enough, rather that becoming self-sufficient is the more appropriate aim, and will be the focus of our efforts going forward.

In order to clearly define and understand what it takes to be “self-sufficient” in New York City, UWNYC convened economists, anti-poverty advocates, food-policy experts, researchers, and social service leaders to precisely measure the amount of income required to cover those basic living expenses. That effort culminated in a report titled, Overlooked and Undercounted: The Struggle to Make Ends Meet in New York City, published in September 2014. We now know that 1 in 3 of our neighbors are not self-sufficient—that’s almost 2.7 million New Yorkers—who cannot cover the basics: food, healthcare, childcare, transportation, taxes, and housing.

In order to address these issues UWNYC adopted a “bold goal” that by 2025, we will help 50,000 New Yorkers in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty make meaningful and measurable progress toward the pivotal milestone of self-sufficiency. We call this a bold goal, but we know it’s one that we can achieve together!

We have reorganized our work into several initiatives that are outlined in this report and have further evolved our approach by fully embracing collective impact and becoming a “backbone” entity where we will help communities diagnose the root causes of the challenges they face, design actionable plans to overcome those challenges and achieve their goals, deploy financial and human capital against those plans, and study and measure the impact of those plans to ultimately drive policy and systems change.

This year, we have laid a strong foundation for efforts going forward. We are excited about this innovative approach, and the tangible gains realized through our programmatic initiatives are encouraging—just take a look at the results of ReadNYC on page 8. Browse through, learn about the impact we are making on the lives of our most-vulnerable neighbors, and we invite you to join us in our efforts.

Together, we can build a City of possibility for all New Yorkers.

Robert Kueppers
Chair
United Way of New York City Board
Sheena Wright
President & CEO
United Way of New York City

Lives Changed

  • BETH

    Beth has a love for theater and passion for sharing the arts with her community. When looking for a way to get involved, she came across United Way of New York City’s BoardServeNYC—a key aspect of StrengthenNYC.

    StrengthenNYC is UWNYC’s capacity building strategy, providing internal and external resources and expertise to the New York City nonprofit community. As a key aspect of StrengthenNYC, BoardServeNYC extends crucial infrastructure support and strategic guidance to fellow nonprofits by connecting them with talented and committed individuals who are eager to share their skills and expertise as board members.

    “I took the BoardServeNYC training this past summer and I thought the training and the matching process were wonderful. I wanted to work in the theater industry and my search came back with hundreds of matches,” said Beth.

    Since her BoardServeNYC experience, Beth has gone on to serve as a board member for a prestigious musical theater festival.

  • DEYSI

    At age three, Deysi emigrated from Mexico with her family. As an English as a Second Language student, she struggled in school and didn’t have a strong support network to help her. Today, Deysi is the mother of two boys and is working to create a better life for her children.

    To better her sons’ educations, she and her family joined UWNYC’s ReadNYC initiative in the Bronx. Her eldest son is a second grader at a ReadNYC partner school and completed the Once Upon a Summer (OUS) pilot program that reduces summer learning loss. Ninety-five percent of the students who participated in this program improved their overall reading-level.

    While her son attended OUS, Deysi went to the supplemental parent program, Read and Rise, which empowers parents to be their children’s most important teacher. “ReadNYC helps my son and me. Every day we do his reading homework together. He’s learning, and I’m coming out of my shell.”

  • Ms. ANDREWS

    Ms. Andrews is a teacher. She works at a community school in the Bronx as part of United Way of New York City’s EducateNYC initiative. EducateNYC is UWNYC’s community schools initiative that’s creating lasting change in New York City. Community schools offer the supports and services needed to remove barriers and help students succeed in school.

    Ms. Andrews says of the positive impact from working with EducateNYC, “As a classroom teacher, I am so appreciative of the initiatives that the organization [East Side House Settlement—UWNYC’s anchor partner in the Bronx] has brought to the staff, the families, and the students themselves.”

    She continues about the effectiveness of our partnership: “our partnership] does not just have an immediate impact; it will positively affect our students for years to come.”

  • JOE

    Two years ago, Joe was homeless. An Army veteran, Joe served his country in Vietnam but his return home didn’t play-out as anyone would have hoped. He speaks about his four years of homelessness with a refreshing disregard for the unfortunate events that got him where he was, saying simply that the circumstances don’t matter.

    Although Joe didn’t have a home to call his own, he found comfort and much-needed support at one of United Way of New York City’s WorkNYC partner organizations.

    “I was treated with the utmost respect that aided me in keeping my dignity intact,” says Joe of his experience. “I was offered and given food, I was asked gently what my conditions were and how they could help,” continues Joe, offering that support came without any added outside pressure.

    WorkNYC is designed to connect families and individuals, like Joe, with critical resources essential to self-sufficiency, including benefits access, financial empowerment, and workforce development opportunities.

  • RENAE

    Renae was looking for information and resources to help support her community.work. Working with United Way of New York City Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP)—a part of UWNYC’s FeedNYC initiative, Renae came together with staff from other community partners around NYC to learn about best practices and how to better the standards of their services.

    “[HPNAP] provided a lot of information that will not only assist me in providing excellent service to our residents but also enhance my safety practices while doing it.” said Renae.

    FeedNYC is helping to strengthen the capacity of emergency food providers to distribute healthy food to underserved neighborhoods in New York City. Since 1984, UWNYC has served as a local administrator for the New York State Department of Health’s HPNAP. HPNAP provides funding for 400 food pantries and soup kitchens annually, and offers training and technical assistance to improve program operations and the nutritional quality of distributed food.

DEYSI

At age three, Deysi emigrated from Mexico with her family. As an English as a Second Language student, she struggled in school and didn’t have a strong support network to help her. Today, Deysi is the mother of two boys and is working to create a better life for her children.

To better her sons’ educations, she and her family joined UWNYC’s ReadNYC initiative in the Bronx. Her eldest son is a second grader at a ReadNYC partner school and completed the Once Upon a Summer (OUS) pilot program that reduces summer learning loss. Ninety-five percent of the students who participated in this program improved their overall reading-level.

While her son attended OUS, Deysi went to the supplemental parent program, Read and Rise,which empowers parents to be their children’s most important teacher. “ReadNYC helps my son and me. Every day we do his reading homework together. He’s learning, and I’m coming out of my shell.”

Ms. ANDREWS

Ms. Andrews is a teacher. She works at a community school in the Bronx as part of United Way of New York City’s EducateNYC initiative. EducateNYC is UWNYC’s community schools initiative that’s creating lasting change in New York City. Community schools offer the supports and services needed to remove barriers and help students succeed in school.

Ms. Andrews says of the positive impact from working with EducateNYC, “As a classroom teacher, I am so appreciative of the initiatives that the organization [East Side House Settlement—UWNYC’s anchor partner in the Bronx] has brought to the staff, the families, and the students themselves.”

She continues about the effectiveness of our partnership:“our partnership] does not just have an immediate impact; it will positively affect our students for years to come.”

JOE

Two years ago, Joe was homeless. An Army veteran, Joe served his country in Vietnam but his return home didn’t playout as anyone would have hoped. He speaks about his four years of homelessness with a refreshing disregard for the unfortunate events that got him where he was, saying simply that the circumstances don’t matter.

Although Joe didn’t have a home to call his own, he found comfort and much-needed support at one of United Way of New York City’s WorkNYC partner organizations.

“I was treated with the utmost respect that aided me in keeping my dignity intact,” says Joe of his experience. “I was offered and given food, I was asked gently what my conditions were and how they could help,” continues Joe, offering that support came without any added outside pressure.

WorkNYC is designed to connect families and individuals, like Joe, with critical resources essential to self-sufficiency, including benefits access, financial empowerment, and workforce development opportunities.

RENAE

Renae was looking for information and resources to help support her community.work. Working with United Way of New York City Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP)—a part of UWNYC’s FeedNYC initiative, Renae came together with staff from other community partners around NYC to learn about best practices and how to better the standards of their services.

“[HPNAP] provided a lot of information that will not only assist me in providing excellent service to our residents but also enhance my safety practices while doing it.” said Renae.

FeedNYC is helping to strengthen the capacity of emergency food providers to distribute healthy food to underserved neighborhoods in New York City. Since 1984, UWNYC has served as a local administrator for the New York State Department of Health’s HPNAP. HPNAP provides funding for 400 food pantries and soup kitchens annually, and offers training and technical assistance to improve program operations and the nutritional quality of distributed food.

BETH

Beth has a love for theater and passion for sharing the arts with her community. When looking for a way to get involved, she came across United Way of New York City’s BoardServeNYC—a key aspect of StrengthenNYC.

StrengthenNYC is UWNYC’s capacity building strategy, providing internal and external resources and expertise to the New York City nonprofit community. As a key aspect of StrengthenNYC, BoardServeNYC extends crucial infrastructure support and strategic guidance to fellow nonprofits by connecting them with talented and committed individuals who are eager to share their skills and expertise as board members.

“I took the BoardServeNYC training this past summer and I thought the training and the matching process were wonderful. I wanted to work in the theater industry and my search came back with hundreds of matches,” said Beth.

Since her BoardServeNYC experience, Beth has gone on to join The New York Musical Theater Festival as a proud member of their Board.