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Forest Hills nonprofit receives $450K grant for direct cash assistance to low-income families in Queens

TCNY Corona Queens Cohort (1)
Participants in the Corona Cohort of the Child Center of NY’s Cash+Community Works program. (Photo courtesy of TCCNY)

The Child Center of NY (TCCNY), the Forest Hills-based nonprofit, received a $450,000 gift from the William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation directed toward its pioneering Cash+Community Works Initiative.

The program invests in under-resourced families with capital, trusts them with power and connects them with peers. The initiative, which launched in the spring, will involve 300 families in Queens and Manhattan over the course of its three-year pilot phase.

The foundation’s Deep Impact Grantmaking (DIG) Program, through which TCCNY received the funding, supports organizations and communities committed to two-generation, or “2Gen,” approaches that aim to disrupt the cycle of multigenerational family poverty. Cash+Community Works allows TCCNY to directly invest in the strengths and ingenuity of the families they’re dedicated to serving, predicated on the belief that families know what’s best for themselves. The program, which aligns with the DIG Program’s multigenerational approach, is designed to support the financial, wellness and life goals of the families receiving assistance.

Families participate in cohorts where they receive peer support, and TCCNY will track the trajectory of participants throughout the course of the program. Families will also be able to apply for discretionary microgrants to establish new businesses or pursue higher education goals.

“The foundation was struck by the potential of this model to accelerate family economic mobility,” said David Donahey, chair of the foundation’s DIG Committee. “It is an interesting departure from traditional family support programs because it is entirely community driven and connects families to networks and financial capital that others take for granted. We have successfully partnered with the high-performing Child Center in the past and we are excited to deepen the foundation’s partnership through this multiyear initiative for even greater impact.”

Founded in 1953 as a children’s counseling center in Queens, TCCNY has become a powerful community presence throughout the city with its mission to strengthen children and families with skills, opportunities and emotional support to build healthy, successful lives. Cash+Community Works is specifically designed to accommodate low-income families, and eligible participants must live in or close to the neighborhoods of Elmhurst, Corona, Far Rockaway or East Harlem.

“Cash+Community Works is about changing the narrative that low-income people are takers rather than makers of society. The program puts resources for low-income families where it belongs — in their hands — and creates a community of peers who will support each other as they build pathways out of poverty,” TCCNY CEO Traci Donnelly said. “We believe in the power of peer-driven change as a highly effective, scalable and economically viable way of engineering social change and allowing more people to live healthier, happier lives. The innovative work of Cash+Community Works is only possible with the investment of forward-thinking funders like the William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation, and we are grateful for their support.”

TCCNY works in six main program areas: early childhood education; behavioral health; residential treatment; prevention and family support; health homes and integrated care; and youth development. TCCNY is based primarily in Queens but also serves children and families in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan, as well as Long Island.

For more information visit childcenterny.org.

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