Last year, Tyhran Khosrovian and Olena Holeha survived the siege of Mariupol. They fled Ukraine, like millions of others since the start of the war, and became refugees in the United States. After arriving in Brooklyn, they slept on a leaking air mattress in an apartment they shared with Khosrovian’s family.
A grant from Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, a recipient of the New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, helped them purchase furniture, including bed frames and mattresses for the entire house.
For more than a century, The Times has encouraged readers to donate to charities in New York and beyond through its charitable fund, called Neediest Cases. The company combines journalism and a spirit of generosity to tell the stories of families in need.
Recently, however, the name “Most Needy” had begun to seem outdated. Times reporters complained. One humanitarian organization avoided using the name, instead calling it “The New York Times Fund.”
So when my colleague Nicholas Kristof recently proposed that the fund’s journalism move out of the newsroom and into the opinion pages, the new headquarters offered the opportunity to change its name: the New York Times Communities Fund.
Nick, who has written a “giving” column for 15 years to connect readers with various charities, said his recommendations initially raised questions in the Times, which was concerned about whether the spotlight of specific charitable organizations was appropriate.
“The readers really appreciated it because they want to help but they don’t always really know how to do it,” Nick told me. “Journalism is evolving. Hopefully we get better at what we do. The Community Fund is another step in this evolution.
The program began in 1912, when Times publisher Adolph Ochs sent a reporter to cover New York’s “neediest cases” and connect readers with the stories of the poor. Soon it expanded to collect reader donations and distribute the money to aid groups, including Catholic Charities, which have benefited from the fund for more than a century.
Every year, journalists like my colleague John Otis, the fund’s former senior reporter, interviewed people supported by the fund.
“I really wanted to help tell these kinds of stories, about ordinary people struggling to stay afloat despite daunting, sometimes unimaginable circumstances,” John told me. “The subjects put themselves in very vulnerable positions. They gave their whole hearts. »
Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, and if you’re looking for a place to donate, the Community Fund has started its holiday campaign. Nick’s giving column also has recommendations for specific charities.
If you can donate, thank you.
For more: Read Vox’s explanation of the Giving Tuesday story.
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