Upcoming nonprofit Emorys Annex hopes to bolster women’s services in Queens

Photo by Gibran Gafur

Mary Beth Sivak and several board members are in the early stages of establishing their own nonprofit, Emorys Annex, which will provide assistance to women across Queens.

As of early April, they are almost finished creating their own website, and in the process of filing for a 501(c)(3) status, with the expectation of receiving the status by this summer.

(Left to right) Lauren Devins, Sara Rivas-Gafur, Mary Beth Sivak and Shevonne Bascom (Photo by Gibran Gafur)

According to Sivak, the idea for the nonprofit came from her divorce. Sivak said she had a surreal moment when she thought about how fortunate she was to have the support of her family and friends. That support, she noted, helped her feel confident enough to pursue her doctorate.

Sivak eventually ended up talking with a friend who went through a similar experience of moving back home after a divorce, and related on how crucial the love and support from friends and family was.

(Photo by Gibran Gafur)

“We had this sort of chat and this idea that it would be amazing to have this nonprofit for women that were not as fortunate as we are,” Sivak said. “Imagine not having the resources to financially support yourself, not having the education, not having the support. You definitely feel stuck.”

While Sivak noted that she and her friend didn’t really have any experience when it came to establishing a non-profit, they have learned quite a bit as they continue putting work into it. She also said that social media has become a regular tool for contacting and meeting people who have been willing to help in establishing this nonprofit.

The entire executive board for Emorys, which includes Sivak and her friend, is made up of women. Some are friends of Sivak who were on board with the idea, while others saw potential in this organization and had connections within the community.

Sivak noted that Far Rockaway is one potential focus area for the organization. She noted there were very little mental health and women services available there.

Assuming all the paperwork is submitted and the organization is officially established by the summer, Sivak hopes to hold a fundraiser in the fall for back-to-school mothers. She also hopes that the organization will make a donation to a local hospital as a way of improving the resources at its women’s in-patient unit.

“I think our main focus right now is really establishing ourselves,” Sivak said. “Getting our website [up and running] and establishing our 501(c)(3) status. Then we’ll be able to do bigger things from there.”

Sivak already has some long-term goals in mind for the nonprofit, one of which includes establishing a brick-and-mortar location in Far Rockaway. This would also aid in a big goal of building relationships with the women of Far Rockaway.

Another long-term goal that Sivak brought up was aligning with community colleges and other similar programs to help women go back to school and pursue an education. She brought up supporting women who seek higher education or take part in certificate programs.

“Emorys is really focused on the mental health needs for women,” Sivak said. “We’re really focused on individual therapy and group therapy. We want to be able to provide psychiatry for women and we would love to, as a part of our long-term goal, not only serve women, but also women’s daughters.”