In December, AAFE received a generous grant from the Citi Foundation to increase economic progress in Flushing, Queens as part of the Partners in Progress (PIP) initiative. The initiative, backed by the Citi Foundation and the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), aims to advance the “quarterback” model of community development by building the capacity of trusted organizations that align objectives, resources, and efforts among local stakeholders to create strong, resilient neighborhoods and paths to economic opportunity.
AAFE Strategic Development Officer Thomas Yu recently composed a blog post for the initiative’s Ideas Blog, reflecting on how AAFE was able to assist so many devastated families in need after Superstorm Sandy. An excerpt from the post is below:
It’s not every day New Yorkers wake up in darkness to wade through thigh-deep floodwaters on the streets of bustling Lower Manhattan. But on October 30th, the day after Superstorm Sandy walloped the city, millions did just that. The storm knocked out electrical power to vast swaths of homes and flooded tunnels, streets, and neighborhoods. As a Community Development Corporation (CDC) serving 1 million city residents of Asian descent, Asian Americans For Equality (AAFE) struggled to restore services in lower Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn while its central offices were out of power and inaccessible by public transportation. The executive team had to muster all available resources towards recovery, despite a majority of its staff being directly impacted by the storm. In the end, AAFE was able to assist 500 households in its own portfolio and thousands of others in neighboring buildings. Like many other non-profit CDCs in the area, local organizations stepped up and succeeded where governmental and large relief agencies could not. Why?