1991 The River Fund New York, Inc. was founded—incorporating the philosophies of Ma Jaya. We initiated our very first outreach initiative, called the “Rounds Program” that involved providing baked goods and gifts to residents of the Terence Cardinal Cooke Center in Manhattan—a long-term care facility for the terminally ill with mental and physical challenges.
1992 Expanded our “Rounds Program” to include the Incarnation Children’s Center in Manhattan—a long-term care facility for infants and children living with HIV/AIDS.
1994 Extended our “Rounds Program” to more long-term care organizations for the terminally ill and challenged—including the Housing Works HIV/AIDS facility in Manhattan and The Fineson Residence Centers in Queens for the physically/mentally impaired.
1995 Initiated our “Street Relief” Mobile Food Outreach program at Rufus King Park, Jamaica, Queens.
1996 Started “Mobile Holiday Feast” program to provide special-event banquets to soup kitchens in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.
1997 Established our “Holiday Gift Giving Program”—offering year-end toys, personal care items and clothing to needy families.
1998 Granted 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS.
Funded by Broadway Cares/Equity Fight AIDS. Relationship remains active.
1999 Initiated our “Under the Boardwalk” Mobile Hunger Relief Food Outreach to the homeless in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
2000 Expansion of “Under the Boardwalk” to include Oceanview Adult Home in Brooklyn—a special care facility for the aged.
2001 Celebrated our 10th Anniversary, and initiated a search for a new facility to accommodate desperately needed expansion.
2002 Became a permanent target-charity for monthly contributions from the Verrazano Rotary Club, Brooklyn. Became a member of The Food Bank for New York City. Moved operations from a garage in South Ozone Park to a larger facility in Richmond Hill with room to build a small warehouse. Partnered with John Thiessen’s Toys for Sick Children to enhance our existing Holiday Gift-Giving program. Launched a two-way interactive relationship with Gold’s Gym of Howard Beach to support our “Healthy-Happy Kids” programs through their annual Robothlon.
2003 Built on-site Pantry warehouse and purchased a van for our mobile hunger relief programs with funds from Phillip Morris. Established partnership with Herr’s Chips for weekly snack foods. Elevated by the IRS to permanent public charity status.
2004 Awarded Certificate of Honor by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall for services provided through our “Rounds Program” to the mentally and physically challenged long-term residents at end-of-life care facilities. Established connection with World Vision to launch our “Toiletries/Personal Hygiene” and “New Clothing Giveaway” programs. Connected with NourNourish America for the monthly distribution of children’s vitamins. Developed relationship with New York Cares and Hope on Wheels to enhance our “Wintercoat Outreach” program. Gained approval as an authorized Food Pantry in NYC with the federal Emergency Food Assistance Program.
2005 Started a partnership with State Farm Insurance of Long Island for supporting our existing “Holiday Gift-Giving” and “Thanksgiving Dinner Kit” programs. Launched our annual “Back to School” program—supplying backpacks and school supplies to children of needy families.
2006 Integrated with the Penny Harvest/Common Cents student leadership project to support charitable giving initiatives at neighborhood schools. Partnered with Care to Knit for distribution of winterwear accessories for children and seniors.
2007 Received the Volunteer Group of the Year Award from the Terrence Cardinal Cook Center for our work with victims of HIV/AIDS. Established a Partnership with Trader Joe’s in Rego Park, Queens to enrich our food programs. Expanded our monthly “Vitamin Outreach” from a children’s initiative to a family program by adding adult vitamins and supplements.
2008 Created a Partnership with St. John’s Bread & Life, which enabled us to deliver in our neighborhood the Single-Stop program funded by The Robin Hood Foundation. Under this program, we implemented ETO (Efforts-to-Outcomes) technology at our site to pre-qualify, counsel and refer clients on a wide range of available public-sector social service programs.
2009 Upgraded our emergency food assistance program from the Pantry-Bag Distribution model to Client Choice—which allows beneficiaries to choose from our shelves the products they actually use. We expanded our office space from 150 square feet to 500 square feet—giving us room to go beyond referrals and actually implement various advisory and income support services to our clients on site within our own offices.
2010 The Food Bank for New York City bestowed on us the Community Service Excellence Award, identifying us as the top food pantry in the borough of Queens—simultaneously appointing our Executive Director, Swami Durga Das, to the Food Bank’s Advisory Board. We established at our site a Food Stamp Application Processing Center—linked directly into the Paperless Operating System (POS) of the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA); launched our weekly “Fresh Produce Distribution Initiative” established a partnership with Macy’s to support our monthly clothing giveaway; and, with help for Tiederman Investment Group of NYC, we implemented a Client Photo ID creation and control system, allowing us to collect valuable statistical and management data to optimize our programs.
2011 Received Citywide Beyond Food Award from The Food Bank for New York City; purchased a new forklift with funding from the Howard E. Stark Foundation; established our “Self-Help Tax Prep and E-filing Clinic.” Started distribution of Prescription Discount Cards—which provide up to 75% off prescription drugs. Formed a youth basketball team, The River Fund Cobras, for boys ages 16 to 18. Our site is now a Food Stamp Processing “hub center” serving 10 sub-locations throughout Queens.
To see the River Fund Presentation, click here.