October 11, 2016
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito announced that, starting today, employees of the City of New York will be able to directly donate a portion of their paychecks to Hurricane Matthew relief efforts. The funds will be distributed to reputable relief organizations already working on the ground in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, the Bahamas and throughout the Caribbean, as well as Colombia and the United States.
"Many at home and abroad have lost their homes and their loved ones in Hurricane Matthew's devastating wake, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time. As the extent of damage continues to be assessed, we want to make it as easy as possible to donate. Starting today, City employees will be able to set aside a portion of their paycheck to support reputable humanitarian organizations already working on the ground in the hardest hit areas. Any New Yorker can make a contribution and show solidarity with our brothers and sisters in their time of need by visiting the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City's website," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
First Lady Chirlane McCray, Chair of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, said, "One of the most dependable characteristics of New Yorkers is their compassion. In times of need, our indomitable and charitable spirit can truly shine. I ask all those who are able, to donate to the organizations that are providing critical resources to children and families, and working to rebuild."
"We need to do everything we can to help the people of Haiti and this is a good step for New York City workers," said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. "New Yorkers are at our best in times of need. Now is the time to come together to help the people impacted by Hurricane Matthew."
On Tuesday morning, City employees will receive an email informing them of the option to donate directly from their paychecks to Hurricane Matthew relief efforts. The funds will be directed via the Mayor's Fund to Advance NYC, and distributed to organizations working on the ground – such as UNICEF, the Red Cross, International Medical Corps, and Global Giving – to provide critical relief to individuals, families, and communities that have faced the brunt of this terrible storm. One hundred percent of all donations will be dispersed to support relief efforts and organizations.
Surveys are currently underway and the number reported dead or missing has steadily increased, with hundreds reported dead in Haiti alone and over 30 reported dead within the United States. Throughout the impacted countries in the Caribbean, thousands of people have lost their homes, their crops, their livestock and their livelihoods – and they will need the generosity of their global neighbors to reset and rebuild. As the extent of damage continues to be assessed in the U.S. and beyond, the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit is working with members of the affected communities in New York City and beyond to coordinate resources and relief efforts.
"New Yorkers have a long tradition of generously supporting those in need," said Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Mayor's Office of Strategic Partnerships. "We are proud to do our part by channeling the good will of the City's employees and residents during the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which has deeply impacted communities here in New York, in parts of the United States, and overseas."
"Our hearts go out to the Caribbean community that has been devastated by Hurricane Matthew, both here in New York City and abroad," said Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. "As New Yorkers do, this is a time to show our resilience and support by donating to the urgent relief efforts at this critical time."
"The loss of life and displacement caused by Hurricane Matthew has been devastating. Haiti has been especially hard hit, with hundreds of thousands of people now in need of emergency assistance. Providing the option for City employees who choose to donate to do so directly from their paychecks makes it easier to support Hurricane Matthew impacted communities. In the coming months we will continue to stand in solidarity with all those impacted by this hurricane," said Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of International Affairs Penny Abeywardena.
Darren Bloch, Executive Director of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, said, "The Mayor's Fund can be a critical tool for channeling the charity of New Yorkers during disasters like Hurricane Matthew. Time and again we are humbled by the generosity of New Yorkers, and are proud to help direct relief funds to those who need it most in these crucial early days of recovery."
City workers can determine the portion of their paycheck they'd like to donate, and can make a one-time, tax-deductible contribution or have the donation repeat over the next two months. Employees can opt-in from today through Friday, October 14 for the upcoming pay period, or any time over the next two months for future paychecks, and they can do so by using the online payroll service NYCAPS Employee Self Service or asking for help from their payroll advisor.
The Department of Education will have a separate but similar portal for their employees to sign up. DOE employees will receive an email this week notifying them of their option to contribute. City employees and any New Yorker that wishes to contribute can also visit www.nyc.gov/fund for a list of reputable organizations already working on the ground to support relief efforts.
As part of FEMA's Urban Search and Rescue New York Task Force 1, members of the NYPD, FDNY and NYC Emergency Management deployed to North Carolina to assist with Hurricane Matthew relief efforts on October 6, 2016. The NYC team assisted the Fayetteville Fire Department with swift water rescues over the weekend and is currently assisting with water rescues and evacuations in Lumberton, North Carolina.
"Our city has a deep and personal appreciation for the power of charity in the hours of greatest need. We have felt that power in recovering from the tragedy of 9/11 and the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. Time and again, New Yorkers come together for our brothers and sisters in humanity when they are facing the most dire of circumstances, and I know so many are ready and willing to summon this force of good now for the people suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. I thank in advance all of the City employees who choose to donate directly from their paychecks to this critical relief effort," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
"Through every hardship New Yorkers have faced in recent years, there have been people around our country and around the entire world who have stepped up to help us," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "As Haiti faces the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, many New Yorkers will want to step up for the people of Haiti. I thank the Mayor for making it a little bit easier for our City's workforce to do just that and to know their contributions will be doing the most good.
"I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio, and First Lady Chirlane McCray for their commitment to the people of Haiti," said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte. "Haiti has been through so much, especially in the last 10 years, and I am devastated that yet another natural disaster has further destabilized my parent's home country. I would like to thank in advance all the City employees who choose to exercise this option. Every little bit will help."
"The hurricane that struck the Caribbean, Columbia and the United States resulted in devastation that claimed the lives of many people and left many others homeless. It is now critical that New Yorkers – who have always been known for their compassion and generosity – provide financial assistance to those who are living in despair and in need of our help. I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for their deep concern and outstanding efforts on behalf of all of the people whose livelihood has been adversely by this horrible natural disaster," said Council Member Mathieu Eugene.
"While prayers are powerful, they must be supported with works. Kudos to Mayor de Blasio for giving City workers an easy opportunity to put words into action. Haiti needs our support. And if past experience is a guide, New Yorkers will rise to the challenge," said Council Member Jumaane Williams.