Photo courtesy of Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Foundation

The Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Private Foundation announced $150,000 in emergency funding to 19 western Queens nonprofits that provide a frontline response to the COVID-19 crisis, whether it’s via food access, financial relief and support for high-risk residents and workers during this time.

To date, $130,000 has been disbursed, with organizations receiving $5,000 or $10,000 grants to provide stability, security and support as they adapt to challenges created by COVID-19. Some of the recipients include long-term grantees of the Foundation, but the majority of them are new recipients.

All the recipients are organizations offering frontline and emergency COVID-19 support to their communities, and are working in the foundation’s priority areas such as workforce development, job training, education and support for immigrant communities.

The foundation has been committed to Astoria and Long Island City in western Queens, where founders Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi grew up and remained a part of the community throughout their lives, for more than two decades. They concentrate on assisting residents in poverty, mainly 20,000 low-income citizens within three public housing developments with western Queens’ greatest social and economic need.

The foundation’s mission is to encourage and support programs that directly provide assistance to individuals who — due to either environment or circumstance — have not had the opportunity or ability to live independent and productive lives.

“We are overwhelmed by the need in our community and will continue to monitor for other areas of need that emerge both within our current funding priority areas such as jobs, education, immigrant populations, and beyond,” the foundation’s Executive Director Pooja Joshi O’Hanlon said, adding that the foundation will continue to support these neighborhoods as the pandemic impacts them.

The foundation issued the grants based on the principles of Trust Based Philanthropy Project to decrease the burden on the recipients.

“It was incredible how quickly we were able to make the grants, the need far surpasses our resources, we will continue to explore what else we can do for the community,” said Board Chair Jose Rivero.

The list of grant recipients includes:

  1. Zone 126 – To contribute to the purchase of technology and equipment to support students with remote learning
  2. SNLP – To provide emergency support to constituents via the Founder’s Fund and to purchase technology for the virtual Queens program
  3. Hour Children – To support the food pantry during the COVID-19 crisis
  4. Queens Library – To support the Library’s expanding technology and virtual resources in response to COVID-19
  5. Floating Hospital – To support their healthcare work for the homeless population in Western Queens in response to COVID-19
  6. LIC Relief COVID-19 Response – To support LIC Relief’s emergency food pantry and other related emergency services within the LIC/Astoria communities
  7. Urban Upbound – To provide Emergency Relief to Western Queens NYCHA developments in response to COVID-19
  8. Make the Road – To support MRNY’s COVID-19 Emergency Food Program, Support and Services for individuals and families in Western Queens
  9. Frontline Foods Queens/World Central Kitchen – To support Frontline Foods Queens for Covid-19 relief at Mount Sinai Queens and Elmhurst Hospitals
  10. ACE Programs for the Homeless – To support COVID-19 relief efforts for graduates of ACE’s programs from Western Queens
  11. NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation – To support essential workers and healthcare staff in response to Covid-19
  12. Socrates Sculpture Park – To support the organization’s response for a vulnerable community in response to Covid-19
  13. Museum of the Moving Image – To support MOMI’s work in the community in response to COVID-19
  14. HANAC- To support Child and Family Counseling as well as Substance Treatment in Western Queens in response to Covid-19
  15. Sanctuary for Families Fund for Vulnerable Families – To support Sanctuary’s COVID-19 emergency response for its constituents in Queens
  16. Safe Horizon – To support COVID-19 emergency response at the Queens Child Advocacy Center and Queens Domestic Violence Shelters
  17. Phoenix House Queens- Parkside – To support the organization’s work in response to Covid-19 at its Long Island City headquarters
  18. Reality House Inc. – To support the organization’s work in response to COVID-19 at its treatment center
  19. NYC Kids Rise – To provide emergency relief to families in Astoria Houses in response to the COVID-19 crisis


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