For more than 100 years, Children’s Aid has partnered with the New York Times to provide direct funding to New Yorkers in need.
The New York Times Neediest Cases campaign began in 1911 after Adolf S. Ochs, the paper’s publisher, assigned a reporter to collect stories from welfare agencies serving low-income New Yorkers. Ochs thought telling their stories would inspire readers to give back to their communities. In its first year, the campaign generated 100 stories and collected $3,600 from 117 readers.
Children’s Aid has been one of the partner agencies since the beginning of the campaign, and through this fund, New York Times readers have helped our clients pay their rent, stock their pantries, purchase clothes and supplies, pay for college tuition and career training, and so much more.
The fund has been especially helpful during the last two years, when COVID-19 has upended the lives of many of our clients. Through these stories, we are able to share the resilience of our clients and the love they have for their families and communities.
This year, the New York Times featured the work of Children’s Aid in 10 outstanding stories. You can read more about those Children’s Aid kids and families, and how they used these funds to move forward in a challenging year, below:
- Catherine Fils, a mother of three from Staten Island, received gift cards to purchase back-to-school clothing for her teenage children. After a year of remote learning, her children were ready to see their friends and teachers in a physical classroom. In the same piece, you will read about Alyssa Tucker, a mother who used her gift card to purchase Halloween supplies and a Christmas gift for her 5-year-old daughter, Autumn.
- For Nadirra Hakeem, balancing her undergrad studies and a full-time job at Amazon became too much. To get her finances in order, she took a break from school. But she was stuck with a hefty tuition bill and needed help paying it off before she could resume her studies. The Neediest Cases Fund allowed her to get back on track and continue toward her degree.
- Our Early Childhood team noticed that our young learners were struggling with language and literacy after not being in the classroom for many months. They stepped up their efforts with a campaign that included purchasing books for every child participating in the annual Reading on the Rug series. The authors and characters reflected the diversity of our clients, and the books were purchased from local bookstores.
- Cordale Manning was first introduced to Children’s Aid as a youth in foster care. Years later, his time at our youth center in the Bronx allowed him to nurture his passion for music production. After receiving his associate’s degree, he wanted to continue his education, but could not afford tuition at The City College of New York. With help from the fund, he was able to fulfill his dream.
- Frank DeSimone, a volunteer at the Next Generation Center, helps our young people earn their high school equivalency diplomas. After retiring from his career in commercial banking in 2015, he decided to give back to his community. His commitment wasn’t deterred by the pandemic, as he switched to teaching his classes remotely.
- Demetria Mack, a junior at Howard University, dreams of working in tech. A computer science major, she recently interned with Microsoft and realized she wants to become a product manager. Through the fund, she was able to pay for rent while she works toward her dream job.
- For years, Children’s Aid has partnered with the New York Marriott Marquis to provide holiday gifts to our youth in medical foster care. Last year, the partnership was suspended due to COVID. This year, a combination of donations from hotel employees and money from the Neediest Cases Fund has allowed foster parents to provide holiday cheer.
- We know that our clients are busy and finding time to get COVID vaccines and testing can be difficult. We partnered with NYC Health + Hospitals to provide pop-up vaccine and test distributions at our sites across the city.
- Damian Dominguez, 11, has worn glasses since kindergarten. The pandemic prevented him from getting his annual checkup and a new pair of glasses. Through our partnership with Helen Keller International, Damian was able to receive his checkup and free pair of glasses when he attended a Children’s Aid summer program at our community school in Washington Heights. The fund allowed us to provide 1,332 vision screenings and 402 glasses to students this year.