Nov 29, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
A local community-based non-profit is making an urgent appeal for donations so it can take advantage of a $10,000 challenge matching grant and help local residents in need.
Sunnyside Community Services (SCS), which puts on a wide range of essential programming for individuals of all ages, needs to raise the cash since a public charity will match all donations made to the group.
The grant is being offered by FJC: A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds, a Manhattan-based philanthropy management charity. The charity also offered SCS a $10,000 matching grant 12 months ago and the non-profit raised the required funds within 24 hours, such was the outpouring of support from the community.
SCS is calling on Sunnyside/Woodside community to dig deep again this year so it can maintain vital services at its 43-31 39th St. center and continue to impact the lives of 16,000 people in Queens and beyond.
The funds raised will be used to pay for the group’s core programs such as youth after-school programs, senior programs, English speaking classes, immigration legal services and home caregiver support.
“Last year people responded in an incredible way. People who had never previously given to us stepped up and we hope that they will return again with a donation,” said Judy Zangwill, Executive Director at SCS.
The non-profit raised and disseminated around $710,000 since the onset of the pandemic to help more than 900 residents suffering economic hardship. Its temporary pantry also distributed more than 20,000 packages of food.
“Last year the community really rallied but the pandemic isn’t over and the need is still there,” Zangwill said.
“The issues still remain and this recovery is going to be a long process.”
The call for funds also coincides with Tuesday’s National Day of Giving which encourages people to donate to organizations which support people who have fallen on hard times or are in need of support.
A portion of the funds raised by SCS will go towards home care and counseling for seniors who have not returned to the center since the beginning of the pandemic – despite popular services such as the Center for Active Older Adults coming back to an in-person format. The program offers recreational, fitness, and educational activities to people aged 60 or over as well as nutritious meals.
The funds will support all of SCS’s senior programs including the Social Adult Day program which provides memory exercises and activities for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive impairments.
Additionally, the money will be used to maintain SCS’s regular pre-K and after-school programs as well as jump-starting its new 3-K program.
“If someone donates right now, there’s an added benefit – their gift will be doubled, thanks to the $10,000 FJC challenge grant. That’s twice the funds going to much-needed services,” Zangwill said.
“These services have a direct impact on people in Queens – people you may pass on the street or stand next to on the subway platform. I can’t think of a better way to participate in Giving Tuesday and the giving season than by helping people in your local community.”