New York City cityscape

COVID-19 resources for those in need and ways to help others

During this time, New Yorkers are facing unique challenges.

Women.nyc will be using our platform and leveraging our public, nonprofit and private partnerships to identify and develop helpful resources, information and volunteer or donation opportunities for New Yorkers in need, or those looking to lend a helping hand. If you have resources or information you’d like to add to this list, please submit them to [email protected].

  1. Latest info on COVID-19
  2. For Small Business Owners
  3. For Non-profits
  4. For Freelancers and Creatives
  5. Mental Health and Wellness
  6. Food Assistance
  7. For Volunteers
  8. Combating Discrimination and Violence
  9. For Parents and Families
  10. Online Learning and Professional Resources

The latest information on COVID-19

The situation around COVID-19 is changing every day. Stay up to date on the city and state response to the pandemic and get info on how to remain safe:

NYC.gov: Watch Mayor de Blasio’s daily COVID-19 updates at nyc.gov and visit nyc.gov/coronavirus for the latest guidance on public health best practices, the latest data on COVID-19 in NYC, and more. Some recent updates include:

  • Guidance on face coverings: The NYC Department of Health  recommends that all New Yorkers wear a face covering when outside of their home to help stop the spread of COVID-19. For more info see this face covering FAQ.
  • Free meals: Any New Yorker who wants one can get three free meals a day at more than 400 meal hubs across the city, operated by the NYC Department of Education. Learn more.
  • Notify NYC: Get live updates from Notify NYC by texting “COVID” to 692-692. For updates in Spanish text “COVIDESP” to 692-692.

NY.gov: Keep up with the latest on the state’s COVID-19 response with Governor Cuomo’s daily briefings. Recent updates include:

  • NYS on PAUSE Order: The Governor’s order requiring all non-essential workers to stay at home and non-essential businesses to close has been extended through May 28. Visit the NYS Dept.of Health for more.

For small business owners

New York Forward Loan Fund: This $100 million fund, created by New York State, will provide flexible and affordable loans to help small businesses, focusing on minority and women owned small businesses, that did not receive federal COVID-19 assistance. Pre-applications for the fund are now open, with priority given to industries and regions that have been reopened.

NYC emergency supply sourcing: There is a shortage of personal protective equipment products for healthcare workers in New York’s hospitals, including gloves, masks and gowns. New York City is sourcing companies, vendors and individuals who can assist in manufacturing these items. Click here to fill out the response form. New York State is asking all personal protective equipment product providers to sell to the state any products that are not essential or not currently being used. Click here to offer your services.

Forbes Small Business Relief Tracker: Forbes is tracking funding, grants and resources for business owners grappling with COVID-19-related closures.

Inc. Financial Assistance Tracker for Businesses: Inc. is tracking governmental financial assistance for small businesses in a variety of states, including New York.

Alice COVID-19 Business Center: This free digital platform for entrepreneurs has created a central resource hub to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding, tech and informational resources are being created and shared daily. Alice also has a $200,000 business grant fund for business owners.

Downtown Alliance Small Business Rental Assistance Grants: To help confront the massive impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, the Downtown Alliance is providing rental assistance grants of $10,000 each to help offset monthly rental costs for 80 small businesses that are currently providing “essential services” as defined by New York State. Applications open on May 1, 2020.

NYC Department of Small Business Services: For guidelines for business owners to address changes in customer behavior and for financial assistance and city programs for small businesses impacted by COVID-19; see below for grant programs and funding:

  • Virtual Business Services: SBS’ Business Centers are now offering virtual webinars for early stage businesses on topics including marketing, cashflow planning, and more:
  • Free Business Courses: SBS offers free, online courses for NYC entrepreneurs or business owners looking for guidance. Topics include business planning, sales and marketing, financing and growth.

U.S. Small Business Administration:  Small-business relief programs are available through the federal CARE Act, offering forgivable grants, loans and loan deferral. These SBA programs also apply to nonprofits that meet the necessary size requirements.

  • Paycheck Protection Program: Offers forgivable loans up to $10 million to help businesses cover costs for payroll, rent, mortgage and utility.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program: Get loans up to $2 million with a 3.75% interest rate on a 10-year term. A $10,000 advance is also available to businesses that applies for the EIDL;  these funds can be issued quickly within three days while the EIDL loan application processes.* With the additional funding provided by the new COVID-19 relief package, SBA will resume processing EIDL Loan and Advance applications that are already in the queue on a first come, first-served basis.*
  • Express Bridge Loans: Small businesses currently working with an SBA Express Lender can access up to $25,000 quickly through this bridge program.
  • SBA Debt Relief: The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facebook Small Business Grants Program: Facebook will be offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Google Ad credits: To help alleviate some of the cost for small and medium-sized businesses attempting to stay in touch with their customers during this time, Google is offering $340 million in ad credits to small businesses using Google Ads worldwide.

Goldman Sachs U.S. Small Business Resource Center: Goldman has created a new resource center for small businesses and entrepreneurs navigating the fallout from COVID-19. Resources include policy explainers, loan application instructions and related Goldman Sachs programs, such as free access to their Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Online courses.

iFundWomen: startup funding platform iFundWomen helps women entrepreneurs obtain capital through crowdfunding and grants. Recently, IFW launched a universal grant application to be considered for all IFW grants; fill out the application by April 30 to be considered for current grants and more to come.

Kiva: This nonprofit is supporting small businesses impacted by COVID-19 by expanding loan eligibility and amounts for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation: This nonprofit has created a COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund to provide direct relief to restaurant workers and zero-interest loans to help restaurants get up and running.

Restaurant Strong Fund: The Restaurant Strong Fund from Samuel Adams and The Greg Hill Foundation is providing aid to restaurant workers impacted by the COVID-19 closures in 20 states, including New York.

Rethink Food.NYC: This nonprofit organization has launched the Restaurant Response Program to assist 30 New York City restaurants with funding of up to $40,000 to maintain their operations.

The Red Backpack Fund:  Spanx founder Sara Blakely has donated $5 million to support female entrepreneurs in the wake of COVID-19, in partnership with GlobalGiving. The fund will make 1,000 grants of $5,000 each to female entrepreneurs in the U.S. to help alleviate immediate needs and support long-term recovery.

 Salesforce Care Small Business Grants: Salesforce is providing grants of  up to $10,000 to provide capital to help businesses as they work to replenish materials, pay salaries, or adapt their business models. For New York, the deadline to apply is May 1, 2020.

SheaMoisture: SheaMoisture has created a $1M community commence fund to support women and minority owned small businesses. Starting April 8, businesses can apply for relief funding under different initiatives, such as their Women of Color Entrepreneur E-Lab and the Black Business Relief Fund, in partnership with ‘We Buy Black’. 

For nonprofits

Robin Hood Relief Fund: Robin Hood has activated its relief fund to support the work of New York’s top social service organizations who are on the front lines, serving under-resourced and vulnerable communities that are being hit the hardest. Donate or apply for funding here.

The New York Women’s Foundation: The Foundation launched the 2020 Resilience-NYC: COVID-19 Response Fund to support community-led solutions to meet the immediate needs of women, girls, and transgender, gender nonconforming and gender nonbinary people and their families. The fund provides a six month grant for up to $25,000 in general operating support or program-specific support to organizations aligned with the Foundations mission. Donate or apply for funding via email: [email protected].

The New York Community Trust: NYCT, in partnership with the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Corporation and other institutions, has created the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund to provide grants and loans to NYC-based nonprofits that are trying to meet the new and urgent needs that are hitting the city.

Brooklyn Community Foundation: This community foundation’s Brooklyn COVID-19 Response Fund will issue grants to front-line service organizations providing lifelines for vulnerable populations like meal delivery, support for low-wage workers and other emerging needs.

For freelancers and creatives

Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment: Take this survey if you’re a commercial business in media and entertainment (film, TV, music, theater, advertising, gaming, or publishing) impacted by COVID-19; it will help inform the City’s response and relief efforts.

New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA): Visit this nonprofit service organization’s site for information on emergency grant funding for creatives.

Made in NY Media Center: The Media Center is a city-supported hub for information on ways to help artists and creatives, from resource guides to available funding and remote work opportunities.

The Actors Fund: This national organization is providing emergency assistance to professionals in the creative industries, such as film, theater, TV and music.

Freelancers Union: This membership organization for independent workers has launched the Freelancers Relief Fund to offer financial assistance of up to $1,000 per freelance household to cover lost income and essential expenses not covered by government relief programs. They have also compiled a guide to COVID-19 resources for freelancers.

Foundation for Contemporary Arts: This artist funded non-profit has launched an Artist Relief Fund for U.S.-based artists who’ve fallen on hard times because of the COVID-19 outbreak. If you’ve had a performance or show canceled because of COVID-19, apply for a grant of up to $1,000.

PEN America: The organization is expanding its Writers’ Emergency Fund to support members of the literary community impacted by COVID-19 job layoffs and closures.

Mental health and wellness

ThriveNYC: The City’s mental health initiative provides support for those experiencing anxiety, depression and stress. Reach out for assistance via NYC Well, a confidential 24/7 helpline staffed by trained counselors. They can provide brief counseling and referrals to care in over 200 languages. Call 888-NYC-WELL (888-692-9355), text “WELL” to 65173 or chat at NYC.gov/nycwell.

Food assistance

NYC COVID-19 Food Assistance Resources: During the COVID-19 public health crisis, New York City is taking steps to make sure every New Yorker has access to the food they need with a variety of programs:
  • FoodHelp NYC: provides a map of free food resources across the city, including food pantries and free meals at NYC Schools, available for all children or adults in need. Find a location near you by texting ‘NYC FOOD’ or ‘NYC COMIDA’ to 877-877 or click here.
  • ACCESS HRA: Click here to apply for SNAP benefits or cash assistance from home.
  • Help Now NYC: Visit this hub for more information on how to give and get COVID-19 relief.
  • NYC Food Delivery Assistance: If you cannot go out to get food, no one can bring you food, and you are not able to use private delivery options, NYC will deliver emergency meals to you. Check your eligibility and sign up.

Food Bank NYC: This nonprofit provides volunteer opportunities and a map for locations of soup kitchens, pantries or other public assistance.

HungerFree NYC: Publishes a“Neighborhood Guides to Food and Assistance” that cover all NYC neighborhoods by zip code and are available in multiple languages.

Hot Bread Kitchen: is supporting relief efforts by providing meals made by local food businesses to frontline healthcare workers as well as emergency stipends and funding for workers and businesses.

For volunteers

Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City: Donate to the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to support health care workers, local businesses, displaced hourly workers, families, youth and vulnerable New Yorkers experiencing the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19.

NYC Service: This city agency leads the Volunteer Coordination Taskforce (VCTF) in partnership with NYC Emergency Management, New York Cares and other partners to centralize and coordinate volunteer efforts during emergencies. Click here for resources and information on how community-based organizations and individuals can safely support COVID-19 response efforts.

NYC Department for the Aging: Volunteer to help aging New Yorkers in your neighborhood. Seniors can call 212-244-6469 to find out about assistance during recommended social distancing.

GiveDirectly: This global nonprofit is localizing it’s reach nationally and partnering with FreshEBT to provide an emergency cash response in the form of grants of up to $1,000 per household for those most in need. You can click here to donate to the effort.

United Way NYC: United Way of New York City has established the COVID-19 Community Fund, a dedicated resource to support the COVID-19 public health emergency; you can also donate to their national relief effort here. UWNYC also offers Plentiful, a free app that connects the city’s food pantries with people in need.

Combating discrimination and violence

Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence: While NYC’s Family Justice Centers are temporarily closed, services remain available by phone, such as immediate safety planning, shelter assistance and other resources.

New York City Commission for Human Rights: If you believe you may have been discriminated against, be it racial or housing discrimination, contact NYCCHR to report it. Additionally, Attorney General James recently announced the launch of a hotline for New Yorkers to report hate crimes and bias-based incidents. Call 1-800-771-7755, or email [email protected]

The Center for Anti-Violence Education: CAENY is offering an online workshop titled “Responding to Xenophobia during the spread of Coronavirus” until March 31st. In these sessions, individuals will learn about strategies to respond to bias and xenophobia against Asian communities.

For parents and families

NYC Department of Education: For student activities and resources and guidance for teachers, and for up to date information about how New York City public schools are adapting to COVID-19, such as the grab-and-go meals program, remote learning, device rentals and regional enrichment centers for the children of first responders, health care and transit workers and the most vulnerable student populations.

Public Libraries: While all branches in the city’s three library systems are closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Public Library have expanded their online resources and collections for book lovers, parents and students.

  • New York Public Library: NYPL is offering free one-on-one online tutoring for students grades K-12, in English and Spanish. The library also has remote learning resources for older kids and teens.
  • Brooklyn Public Library: BPL has a creative selection of virtual activities for kids and families.
  • Queens Public Library: QPL has sourced a virtual library for kids and parents, including access to online learning databases, virtual storytime and mental health resources to help kids cope.

Virtual NYC from NYC GO: Check out ways to explore the five boroughs while socially distancing with NYC GO’s online resources from museums, galleries, comedy clubs, theaters and other venues so that you can experience the best of New York City virtually.

Fun at Home: This mobile-first city resource for teens and young adults has released a resource page of virtual activities and support services, from free access to NBA League Pass and SAT prep to virtual workouts and emotional support resources. Fun at Home is a partnership between the Children’s Cabinet’s Generation NYC, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, NYC Opportunity, NYC Service and Young Men’s Initiative.

Coursera: This e-learning company is offering free courses for high school students, from calculus to guitar for beginners.

“Learn From Home” from Scholastic: Scholastic is releasing daily free courses for kids at home due to COVID-19 school closures.

Online learning and professional resources

New York State Department of Labor website: Visit the NYS DOL website for info on unemployment assistance:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: The NYS DOL has launched a new streamlined application for New Yorkers to apply for pandemic unemployment assistance without having to first apply for unemployment insurance.
  • The state has also waived the 7-day waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to COVID-19 closures.

NYC Department of Consumer Affairs: DCA’s Financial Empowerment Centers provide free one-on-one professional, financial counseling and coaching to help New Yorkers reduce debt, understand student loans, strengthen credit scores, balance a budget , open a bank account and more. Book an appointment online.

Workforce1 Career Centers: While physical centers are closed, the NYC Department of Small Business Services’ Workforce1 Career Centers are now operating remotely; if you need assistance identifying job opportunities, preparing for interviews, or accessing training, visit the virtual system.

ACCESSNYC: A portal for NYC residents to determine their eligibility for over 30 economic opportunity programs and benefits. It also includes a regularly updated list of COVID-19 response resources and info on unemployment benefits and insurance, workers rights, food assistance and health insurance.

Public Libraries: While all branches in the city’s three library systems are closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Public Library have expanded their online resources and collections for book lovers, parents and students and job seekers:

LinkedIn Learning: LinkedIn is offering 16 of its learning courses for free, which include tips on how to stay productive, build relationships when you’re not face-to-face, use virtual meeting tools and balance family and work dynamics in a healthy way.

National Cyber Security Alliance: NCSA’s Stay Safe Online initiative has compiled a COVID-19 Security Resource Library with tips and recommendations on ways for both employees and businesses to stay safe online and avoid cyber threats and scams during this pandemic.

If you have resources or information you’d like to add to this list, please submit them to [email protected]

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