COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund

Launched by the Mayor’s Fund in March 2020, the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund raised by July more than $53.5 million, including $5.4 million in in-kind donations, to support equitable relief and recovery efforts for the communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. By the end of the year, that figure would grow to approximately $60 million.

The expansive fundraising efforts have included large-scale public-private partnerships, as well as a grassroots campaign that have together garnered more than 9,500 donors from all around the country.

“As our city unites to build a future that is fairer and more equitable, it is essential that New Yorkers in the hardest-hit neighborhoods can access the resources they need to support themselves and their families,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “Thank you to our generous partners who have answered the call to provide this critical relief for frontline workers and communities of color during this unprecedented crisis.”

Priority areas for the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund include support for healthcare workers and essential staff; local small businesses; displaced hourly workers, including immigrant workers; and families, youth, and other vulnerable New Yorkers.

Support for Frontline Workers

To ensure that New York City’s healthcare professionals and essential workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic stay nourished, supported, and protected, the Mayor’s Fund:

  • Partnered with the Debra and Leon Black Family, Aramark, Robin Hood, and the American Red Cross to launch NYC Healthcare Heroes. The program provided more than 400,000 packages of shelf-stable food, fresh produce, and household cleaning and personal care products to staff at hospitals across the five boroughs. These deliveries alleviated the burden on workers who often did not have access to supplies or time to shop after working back-to-back shifts caring for COVID-19 patients in hospitals and facilities across the city.
  • Developed and launched Food for Heroes, which delivered 170,000 nutritious meals to healthcare workers at NYC Health + Hospitals Elmhurst, staff at the NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, medical workers who chose to stay in hotels to protect vulnerable family members, as well as healthcare workers who traveled from out-of-state to serve on the front lines, staff at non-profit nursing homes, and workers at New York City Sanitation Department garages.
  • Supported NYC Health + Hospitals with a $400,000 donation to purchase personal protective equipment. The donation was made possible through Peg’s Cure, an initiative created by Cedar Mills LLC and the family of Peg Broadbent, the former CFO of Jefferies Group LLC who passed away due to complications from COVID-19.

Aid for Restaurants in Hardest-Hit Communities

To support the owners and employees of restaurants in neighborhoods that have suffered disproportionately during the pandemic, the Mayor’s Fund:

  • Collaborated with the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity, One Fair Wage, NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, and the NYC Human Resources Administration to launch the Restaurant Revitalization Program. The program aims to provide short-term payroll support to about 100 restaurants committed to paying full minimum wage with tips on top, in addition to providing hardest-hit communities with approximately 53,000 meals.

Services for Immigrant Communities

To support New York City’s immigrant communities, many of whom are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, the Mayor’s Fund:

  • Partnered with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Open Society Foundations to create the Immigrant Emergency Relief Program. The program worked with community-based organizations to provide direct, one-time emergency relief payments to approximately 20,000 immigrant New York City families who were hardest hit financially by the crisis, yet excluded from the reach of the federal relief program.
  • Launched the Immigrant COVID-19 Burial Assistance Program with funding support from SOMOS Community Care, Trinity Church Wall Street, Amalgamated Bank, and Robin Hood. The program provides financial support toward burial expenses for immigrant families—regardless of immigration status—who are unable to pay for the funeral expenses of relatives who died during the pandemic.

Protections and support for other Vulnerable New Yorkers

To ensure that families and youth are safe and supported, the Mayor’s Fund:

  • Collaborated with Enterprise Community Partners, the Real Estate Board of New York, the New York State Association for Affordable Housing, and seven community-based partners to raise $11.6 million for Project Parachute, which is providing rental assistance and other resources to 3,000 New Yorkers to help them stay in their homes.
  • Raised $6.8 million in philanthropic support for SYEP Summer Bridge 2020, a public-private partnership that leveraged an additional $40 million in public dollars to provide constructive engagement and enrichment activities to keep 35,000 New York City youth active and productive throughout the summer.
  • Partnered with the NYC Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence and Sanctuary for Families to launch a pilot program to deliver micro-grants to survivors. The first-of-its-kind initiative helped mitigate safety, economic, and housing challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.