Organizations Resources

NYCHA 11-Year-Old Inspires Bone Marrow Givers

Tiffany Glasgow Bone Marrow
IMG: via

Tiffany Glasgow is just eleven years old, but she lives in constant pain. She has sickle cell disease, as do her three brothers. Her older sister died of it when she was just a baby. Red blood cells assume an abnormal and rigid sickle shape in those who suffer from the disease, causing reduced cell flexibility and myriad complications.

But SCD is not without a cure—bone marrow transplants can be especially effective in children, and those that receive successful transplants can live a healthy and normal life. Potential donors need only complete a painleSss cheek swabbing to see if they are a match.

Tiffany’s story inspired NYCHA tenant leaders to set up a citywide bone marrow donor search. In a thriving city of eight million people, there’s a chance that someone there could be Tiffany’s perfect match—or someone else’s.

“It’s important,” Tiffany said of the drive. “They’ll give people a chance to live and feel better and do more stuff. It’s not just for me. It’s for other people that need marrow.”

The drives are slated to take place on May 4th at Melrose Classic Center (1-4 p.m.) and May 18th at Wyckoff Gardens (1-4 p.m.). Additional drives in Manhattan and Staten Island are currently being organized.

The initiative shown by residents is synonymous with NYCHA Chairman Rhea’s call for leadership from within. “Together we have accomplished so much to enhance our communities and support NYCHA’s families,” he said in a statement on the PlanNYCHA website. It looks like residents are taking that to heart.

Organizations Resources

Young Philanthropy in New York

chelsea clinton
IMG: mistydawnphoto /

It seems like younger generations are getting more generous every year. Famous or not, rich or poor, young Americans are lending their time, money, and effort to a variety of philanthropic ventures. In New York City, the same is true, and this year the popular New York Observer will be honoring twenty philanthropists under 40 at a gala designed to raise philanthropic awareness.

The event, called “Young Philanthropy,” will honor a number of well-known names and faces in the NYC philanthropy scene. Let’s take a look at a few of the well-to-do winners:

Chelsea Clinton: The daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Senator Hilary Clinton, nearly all of Chelsea’s life has been lived under the spotlight—and unlike so many of the young and famous, her image is pristine. Her charity work includes support for the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the Walkabout Foundation.

Amanda Hearst: As heiress to her father’s media conglomerate, the Hearst Corporation, Amanda has a lot to live up to. She is a socialite, activist, model, and most recently is the associate market editor for Marie Claire. Amanda also founded Friends of Finn, which is a charity that fights inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills, and is an active member of Riverkeeper, an environmental nonprofit organization.

Alejandro Santo Domingo: Like Hearst (whom he coincidentally dated for several years), Alejandro is an heir. He and his two brothers, Andres Santo Domingo and Julio Mario Santo Domingo, Jr., are heirs the majority stake in SABMiller, a South American beer company. While his career revolves around managing the conglomerate, he is also a member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Board of Trustees; is on the board for the international nonprofit group, Endeavor; is on the Latin American Conservation Council for The Nature Conservancy; and is on the Board of Directors for DKMS Americas.

Other honorees of the night include Lauren Bush, Jesse Cole, Alexis Feldman, Michelle Harper, Lydia Hearst, Eric Trump, and many more.

Organizations Profiles

Mayor Bloomberg Performs Final Inner Circle Charity Dinner

Inner Circle Charity Dinner
IMG: James Keivom/New York Daily News

On Saturday, March 23rd, Mayor Michael Bloomberg performed his final rebuttal during the annual Inner Circle charity dinner. The show, which began in 1923, is a yearly roast of City Hall journalists and politicians put on by 100 of the top New York reporters (retired and active). It began as a five-act musical parody, and though these day’s it’s down to two acts, it’s still just as wild.

In a 2005 article, Shelly Strickler described it as “an elaborate musical parody written, produced and performed by members of the media—otherwise serious characters who get to let their hair down just once each year… It is a major charity event and a must-see production for New York’s political players.”

At the end of every show, the Hizzoner—an irreverent translation of the title “His Honor,” given to mayors of large cities and NYC in particular—has his/her say, too, though. The mayor appears, generally in an outlandish costume, and gives a “self-deprecating rebuttal.”

This year was Mayor Bloomberg’s twelfth and final performance in his three-term run as Mayor of New York City. He appeared on stage with four separate Broadway show casts: “Rock of Ages,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” “Annie,” and “Phantom of the Opera.” For the show, Bloomberg put aside his suit and tie in favor of various costumes that included jeans, sneakers, a blue zip-up hoodie, an embellished leather jacket, and an electric guitar.

The charity dinner raises money for over one hundred New York City-based charities. This year’s show was titled “Last Gulp” and featured the character Mayor Mike, who time travels through history to meet important figures looking for the right successor for him. Check out some pictures from the NY Daily News here!


Carl Mattone Profile

Carl Mattone
IMG: via

Carle Mattone was born and raised in New York. In 1977, he graduated from Holy Cross High School in Queens and then went on to attend Iona College in New Rochelle, New York. In 1981, Mattone formed his own business, which specialized in maintenance and contracting development projects in Brooklyn and Queens. Mattone was acting construction supervisor, a role that eventually led him to join his father’s business, Mattone Group Ltd., as Vice President of Project Development.

He has been with the Mattone Group ever since. In 1990, Carl Mattone became Chief Operating Officer of the real estate company, and just five years after that he became President. He now oversees large construction projects like shopping centers and movie theaters, negotiates leases, makes sure all properties are properly maintained, and more. He is one of the most influential businessmen in Queens.

Besides his slough of duties as President, Carl Mattone also helps develop things other than real estate. He is a board member for the Battery Park City Authority, which has been a leader in planned community development. Its mission is “to plan, create, co-ordinate and maintain a balanced community of commercial, residential, retail, and park space within its designated 92-acre site on the lower west side of Manhattan.”

Carl Mattone has also supported his alma mater, donating money to Holy Cross High School in the past.  He’s also worked school carnivals to support other area schools like Saint Anastasia’s Church. Raised with a spirit of giving, he and his company have donated to a number of other causes over the years: U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade fund, the Queens Library Foundation, and a number of Catholic charities throughout Brooklyn and Queens.

Organizations Resources

Turnaround for Children: Annual Impact Awards Dinner

Turn Around for Children
IMG: vai

Turnaround for Children is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 2002 to help poverty-stricken children and schools succeed. Turnaround for Children partners with some of the most impoverished schools in New York and Washington, DC, and works to transform them into “calm, effective learning environment[s].” In a time when one in four children in the United States is being raised in poverty, the need for effective and innovative programs is greater than ever before.

The organization is currently partnered with 20 and is exploring expansion options in Baltimore and Newark. Its partnerships are determined through a mutual selection process, and selected schools agree to hire and pay a full-time social worker to work with students and staff. Turnaround partners with local mental health providers and deploys a team to work intensively with the schools for between 3 and 5 years.

This team consists of a Social Work Consultant, and Instructional Coach, and a Program Director. Together, they help the school build a student support system to help children in need; train teachers in classroom management and instructional strategies to combat poverty-specific challenges like disruption and engagement; and strengthen the school’s leadership and achievement expectations.

“Some people believe we must fix poverty in order to fix public schools,” Turnaround writes. “We do not. We believe poverty presents profound but predictable and recurring challenges to students, teachers, and schools. This enables us to design a targeted, precise intervention to address them.”

Now Turnaround is preparing for its “Turnaround Impact Awards Dinner,” which will honor Goldman Sachs Gives for its generous giving spirit. The Goldman Sachs has a vast array of projects that it gives money to, features on its website, and encourages community members to get involved with. Past award recipients include Goldie Hawn, Joel Klein, John Legend and Merryl Tisch, among others.

This year’s gala will be held on Tuesday, April 30th. John Legend will give a special guest performance, along with some of the children involved with Turnaround. Speakers will include Joel Klein, Katherine Bradley, and Pamela Cantor. Chairs for the event include notable New Yorkers such as Cristina & Chris Cuomo, Lauren & Andres Santo Domingo, and Stephanie & David Wolkoff.

As of Monday, March 18th, Turnaround had already raised $835,650 of its $1.2 million or more goal. Tickets to the event are still available for purchase, ranging in price from $1,000-$2,500 per person. Full 10-person tables can also be purchased for $10,000-$50,000 each. Those interested in supporting Turnaround for Children can also make individual donations online.

Organizations Profiles Resources

NYCHA Uses Land Leases to Preserve Public Housing

The New York City Housing Authority, NYCHA, is the largest public housing authority in the country. NYCHA provides housing for over 600,000 residents in the city of 8 million, and every day more add their names to the waiting list. Housing prices in New York have skyrocketed, making it one of the most expensive places in the country to live. But despite a growing public need, the federal government has underfunded NYCHA for the past decade, amounting to a loss of $750 million for operations and $875 million for upkeep.

“Our buildings are 79 years old. They need care,” said Margarita Lopez, NYCHA Environmental Coordinator. “We need to figure out how to find the money to fix them. If we don’t fix them we will lose them.”

Though the current financial situation is still bleak, NYCHA has found a promising new way to raise extra revenue for maintaining and improving its buildings—most of which are more than 40 years old. The housing authority is proposing a plan that would lease 14 separate pieces of land owned by NYCHA to private developers.

These developers would then finance, construct and operate new residential buildings—with at least 20% of the apartments being designated as affordable public housing. That’s somewhere around 800 permanently low-income housing units, to which NYCHA residents would receive preference.

NYCHA estimates that through these leasing contracts, which would be 99-year ground leases, they could raise between $30 million and $50 million each year. Additionally, construction and permanent job opportunities would be generated with the developments, potentially helping to improve the lives of many NYCHA residents.

This seems like a great opportunity for New Yorkers, NYCHA, and NYCHA residents—especially considering the government doesn’t seem to be getting out of its financial rut anytime soon. The housing authority has vowed that no families would be displaced nor buildings destroyed, land would be leased and not sold (no privatization), job opportunities would open up, rent would not increase because of the new developments, NYCHA residents would have access to new security enhancements and features, and that money would go straight back into maintaining and preserving current developments.

“We are not going to lose in this equation in any way, shape or form,” said NYCHA’s Margarita Lopez.

“Not a single unit of public housing is going to disappear.”

Click here to read our full profile on Margarita Lopez, NYCHA’s Environmental Coordinator.


Organizations Resources

Sandy Relief Foundation Facing Scrutiny

Nearly four months after Superstorm Sandy hit the east coast, one major charity is having its operations and motives questioned. The Sandy Relief Foundation raised about $1 million in the wake of the storm, but according to an investigation by the Asbury Park Press, few of those funds have been released. It’s also not a tax-exempt organization, as its website claims.

The Sandy Relief Foundation is run by John Sandberg and his girlfriend, Christina Terraccino. Sandberg says he began planning for the foundation just before Sandy hit New Jersey and records indicate that the two filed paperwork to incorporate the foundation as a nonprofit corporation in New Jersey on October 30, 2012.

Though it’s not officially tax exempt, the two founders claim that tax exemptions can be filed retroactively once they gain official nonprofit status. The couple is getting help on their IRS application from Melanie Swift, who is a nonprofit expert. She said she had told the two to take down the “tax-exempt” status claim previously.

According to Sandberg, the delay in funds distribution is due to a large backlog of applicants. He says those on the waiting list should receive gift cards within 30 days if they qualify for aid.

There are some who have already received aid from the Foundation, such as Michael Armstrong, who says he was given two gift cards to Lowe’s totaling $500.
They were gracious enough to stop in the Highlands and they checked everything out and they gave us gift cards,” he said.

But because the foundation isn’t officially registered in New Jersey—or any other state—it technically isn’t supposed to be allowed to fund raise there. Many are beginning to question the operations of the organization as a whole. A few other details uncovered by the Asbury Park Press make Sandberg seem less than trustworthy. He never received a degree from Steton Hall University (as the resume claims he did) and two of the foundations corporate sponsors say they’re not affiliated with the charity at all.

The Sandy Relief Foundation’s website claims that it was founded “by the victoms for the victims” of the storm. “We decided to take it upon ourselves to bring attention to our neighbors in need of immediate relief. With no funding, and limited resources we started our journey to raise donation to bring necessary supplies to local shelters, restore power, clean up debris, and rebuild communities,” it reads. “With an anticipated 6-8 year recovery and 2 year clean up this will not be a sprint, it will be a marathon.”

Organizations Resources

NYCHA Invests $18 M in Capital Improvements

From January to March this year, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) will be making the most of the $18 million provided by grants from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). With the capital, NYCHA plans to improve eleven of its housing developments in NYC.

“NYCHA continues to make improvements to its building structures and systems by spending its money wisely, and in the best interests of residents,” Chairman John Rhea of NYCHA said in a press release. “These major upgrades are needed regularly to ensure the preservation of our aging building stock, with 70 percent of our buildings more than 40 years old.”

The improvements to NYCHA that John Rhea is speaking of include brickwork, re-pointing, roof replacements, kitchen upgrades, installations of security cameras and intercom systems, bathroom renovations, basketball court renovations, and lighting fixture and spray shower upgrades.

Scheduled to be completed by March 2013, the repairs and upgrades will take place at Red Hook West, East New York City Line, Whitman Houses, Ingersoll Houses, Murphy Houses, Jackson Houses, Isaacs Houses, Glenwood Houses, Taft Rehab, and South Jamaica Houses.

The upgrades and repairs to NYCHA developments will affect about 22,000 residents, and will be an aggressive move to preserve what John Rhea calls “aging building stock.” In the past three years alone, NYCHA has invested more than $1.5 billion in capital investments to this end, with about $423 million coming from federal Stimulus funding. The ongoing effort keeps buildings structurally sound, economically friendly, and in a good state of repair for the more than 600,000 residents.


NYCHA Addresses Quinn’s Proposal Demands

Last week, City Council speaker Christine C. Quinn and Public Housing Committee Chair Rosie Mendez presented a proposal for improving operations in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).  Quinn’s and Mendez’s proposal includes recommendations that would increase transparency by making public records easily accessible and the tracking of critical infrastructure statuses available to residents.

According to NYCHA Resident Board Member Victor Gonzalez, improving and preserving NYCHA as an organization is an imperative. “I am sure it’s all over the country but in the New York City area we have a housing issue,” he says. “Why not work with what I consider the best of affordable housing and keep it and preserve it for the future? That is now more important than ever due to the fact that we have a crisis in housing.”

NYCHA is constantly evolving and changing, which can make it easy to lose sight of ultimate goals. But Plan NYCHA, which has been dubbed the organization’s “Roadmap for Preservation,” has set out a list of ten “Core Imperatives.” These imperatives communicate long-term goals for NYCHA as a whole.

Looking at the ten core imperatives, it becomes evident that NYCHA is already working toward addressing some of Speaker Quinn’s suggestions. The fifth imperative. “Strengthen the frontline,” details how NYCHA will serve all properties and incorporate the “best practices from property management companies to provide excellent service and high quality management.”

The ninth imperative states that NYCHA will “excel in customer service,” improving communications between residents and the organization and streamlining services. In doing so, NYCHA will become more customer-focused.

Making public information more available and implementing a status tracking system for critical infrastructures are small goals that fit easily into the overarching imperatives already set out. With enough funding and support, Speaker Quinn’s proposal could certainly come to pass.


New York Combat Sambo Blood Drive for Sandy

donate blood
IMG: via Shutterstock

In the month and a half since Sandy hit New York City, residents of New York, Long Island, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey went through 6,000 units of blood provided by the New York Blood Center (NYBC). Stores are low, but the need for blood has not abated, and NYBC desperately needs more donors to replenish their supply.

“We anticipated some of the potential effects of Hurricane Sandy and delivered blood in advance to our 200 partner hospitals,” Vice President of NYBC Rob Purvis said. “Our first priority remains getting them whatever they need for the care of patients, including surgeries that had to be delayed. Plus—with the holiday season right around the corner—we’re in a tough spot. We need the help of our communities to recover and replenish the supply.”

And where NYBC has asked, New York Combat Sambo has responded wholeheartedly. Appealing to martial artists in the NYC area, New York Combat Sambo is asking them to do the honorable thing and donate blood to help others. The group has decided to hold a blood drive on December 27th, 2012, from 3 PM to 9 PM.

New York Combat Sambo has a goal of thirty donors, a modest amount for a community that’s surely much larger in NYC. They are calling on those with or without fighting training, anyone with a desire to help their community. Donors will also be offered a free simple medical examination, as well as small tokens of appreciation for donors on a first-come-first-served basis.

For those that want to help, this is a great way to do so. And for those of those that, for whatever reason, cannot donate, New York Combat Sambo simply asks that the message be passed on to other New Yorkers by word of mouth or social media.