August Notes from NMIC

Hi there,

We hope this edition of Notes from NMIC brings you hope. Sometimes the current state of the world may seem overwhelming, but know that NMIC is working hard to support you and our community during these trying times.

In this newsletter: 

  • An 86-year-old community member didn’t let a little thing like technology stop her from getting the health care she needed.
  • 14 NMIC students graduated with their High School Equivalency amid a global pandemic.
  • Our Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, tackles racism in the philanthropic community.

Elders during COVID-19: Meet Carolina 

For our elderly community, this pandemic has been a profoundly confusing and traumatic time. Our Community Health Worker (CHW) team is there to help guide them, and today we’re so excited to share Carolina’s* story!

Carolina is an 86-year-old participant in our CHW program and receives outreach calls for individual emotional and health care support. During one of these calls, Carolina shared that she had multiple upcoming doctor appointments she was afraid would be canceled or postponed. Despite having a smartphone, she wasn’t sure how to use it to resolve this problem. Our Community health worker encouraged her to use the tools already at her disposal: her family. Together, they got on a three-way call with Carolina’s daughter, who lives in Georgia, and completed her MyChart enrollment. Carolina now knows to access medical information from her phone and that she can rely on her daughter and us to help her through technical difficulties. She’s scheduled a few virtual doctor visits with the added security of knowing she has the tools to manage her health care through these turbulent times.

 *Name changed to protect privacy.  

Join us in congratulating our graduates

We are proud to announce the graduation of fourteen of our students from our High School Equivalency program. Our Director of Education & Career Services, Sara Chapman, drove home the incredible victory that graduating amid a global pandemic represents. Our keynote speaker, Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa, further highlighted our students’ resilience and congratulated our grads for prioritizing their education amidst this crisis.   

As students received their diplomas, they took a moment to express their gratitude and thank their support networks. Ivanna Diaz’s acceptance speech truly captured the mood of not just our graduates, but all of us living through this pandemic: “There were up and down moments. Crying moments. Give up moments. But you never gave up on me.” Our graduates are entering a difficult job market better equipped to compete. Our students’ courage inspires us, and just like giving up in the face of all this uncertainty wasn’t an option for them, it wasn’t one for us either. Together, we fought to ensure theirs would not become dreams deferred or forgotten. NMIC and our Education & Career Services team will continue to support our students by providing Professional Development and Career Placement services. You can support them on their journey to self-sufficiency by making a donation today. 

How we’re fighting for equity in philanthropy

Our commitment to racial justice spans all areas of our work. From our staffing to our board, we ensure that our community is fully represented in everything we do. Our very own Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, was a panelist on the webinar hosted by LAPA Fundraising titled Racism, Philanthropy, and the Nonprofit Sector. Maria highlighted the need to remove implicit biases from philanthropic practices. Often, community-based organizations do not have the privilege, resources, or connections to network with foundations for charitable funds. This creates a financial disadvantage. Maria called for equitable distribution of funds and urged all to look at the racial and cultural composition of their boards and staff. She had this to say: “For us, it’s really essential to have our community voices at our table. We can’t empower communities if they’re not at the table telling us what they need and how they want things done.” This level of community embedment is a critical part of building trust. At NMIC, we pride ourselves in being an organization that involves and serves our community members.

We’re thrilled to share a bit of our joy in your inbox today. If you’d like to continue to help us spread that, consider joining our Be the Light Campaign. Your donations enable us to provide services and funds to our community members as they strive to survive and thrive through this crisis.

Yours in Solidarity,

May Notes from NMIC

Hi there,

We’re hoping this email finds you safe. If you missed our last newsletter, please make sure you read our statement in support of our Black community, here. Today, we’re sharing how NMIC is providing services to our clients, who represent both essential workers forced to brave COVID-19 to provide for their families, and those affected most by recent waves of lay-offs and unemployment. They are immigrants, domestic violence survivors, single parents raising children while dealing with housing insecurity, and home health aides caring for our community’s elders amid a pandemic. Their resilient spirits have carried them through many obstacles, and we’re here to make sure they don’t have to do it alone!

In this update, learn how:

  • You’ve helped us raise over $20,000 to provide emergency assistance
  • We’re providing remote services to our clients and larger community
  • We’re ensuring the future safety of our community with Census advocacy

Bringing change through emergency funds

Because of your support, we’ve raised over $20,000 for our COVID-19 Emergency Fund. On #GivingTuesdayNow alone, we raised over $2,500, which was matched by our generous Board of Directors! These funds are reserved for direct client assistance such as helping community members cover burial costs and assisting those left out of governmental financial relief plans. In case you missed it and still want to give, you can do so by clicking the button below!

Distant, but together!

Though our offices remain closed, in record time, we’ve launched a hotline to provide those who live in Upper Manhattan and the Southwest Bronx with assistance and advice related to their housing, immigration, and unemployment benefits needs. We’ve also used our social media to hold frequent live videos covering everything from information on the Census to housing rights and benefits access during this pandemic. Make sure you follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see!

Getting counted keeps us all safe in the future.

The Census is a source of confusion and anxiety for many of our community members, particularly those who are undocumented and unsure of how the captured information will affect their immigration status. Enter coronavirus, and it’s even more frightening. If there’s anything this pandemic has taught us, it is that without getting counted, we can’t hope to get the services we need. The current lack of hospital beds and facilities can’t be fixed without a concrete idea of how many people live in specific neighborhoods. So, we’ve continued our text and phone banking and social media advocacy.

We also want to express our gratitude for your unwavering support of our organization and community. You’ve allowed us to to reach those who are most vulnerable living on the margins, and we are eternally grateful.

Yours in Solidarity,


Dear Friends,

This #GivingTuesdayNow, our Board of Directors has pledged to match all donations (of up to $5,000) for NMIC’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. If you donate now, your gift will have double the impact!    

Over the last eight weeks, we have worked tirelessly to bring forth a remote service model. Our mission, to serve as a catalyst for positive change in the lives of the people in our community on their paths to secure and prosperous futures, could not ring truer during these very challenging times.  

We need your support! 

Your donation today will help our community members access financial relief, understand and access unemployment benefits available to them, and enhance advocacy efforts for extended rebuilding plans.  

If it’s within your reach, please consider donating today to support NMIC’s Emergency Response Fund.

In solidarity,

Maria Lizardo, LMSW
Executive Director

P.S. Let’s make it count, donate today.

Double Your Impact

Dear Friends,

As our community continues to deal with a global health and economic crisis, #GivingTuesday, the groundbreaking global generosity movement, announced they are hosting a day of global giving. #GivingTuesdayNow is an emergency response to the enormous need caused by COVID-19. We are asking you to join us in extending kindness to those who need it most, in a way accessible to you, like calling your neighbors, Zoom-ing with your family, and supporting a local nonprofit. 

NMIC is responding to this pandemic the only way we know how – by continuing to serve clients in the areas they need us most. And, over the last four decades, NMIC has met the changing needs of our community. 

Our staff has continued to provide many of our essential services remotely through our newly developed hotlines in the areas of immigration, housing, unemployment benefits, and benefits assistance. We are servicing students via remote learning and providing support to those experiencing inter-partner violence. 

We are advocating and coordinating efforts for the need to fill the gaps in existing financial relief plans, like for immigrants left out of the federal stimulus support. We are needed in more ways than we can count. And with your support, we can extend our reach

Our generous Board of Directors has responded by pledging to match all donations dollar for dollar (of up to $5,000). That means your donation will have DOUBLE the impact!

Your support will ensure that NMIC has programmatic flexibility to deliver critical services that meet our community’s immediate crisis.

We need your help now more than ever. 

In gratitude always,

Maria Lizardo, LMSW
Executive Director

P.S. We need your help to match every donation. Give now.

Let’s Build Together

Dear Friends,

Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, we at NMIC have found ourselves having to quickly create new structures to support our clients in these troubling times. Our clients already live well below the poverty line, and now they are facing one of the largest disruption of their lives.


Despite not being able to provide services from our offices, NMIC staff members are addressing immediate crisis. We’re helping clients access unemployment benefits, providing immigration and housing advice, and connecting them to benefits and finance resources to address food and resource insecurity. We’re also providing services to address increased mental health needs. We even launched a hotline for community members living in Upper Manhattan and the Southwest Bronx to address many of the issues we named above. 

It is critical for us, that in this time of chaos, to represent stability, hope, and a path forward for our community members. That’s where you come in.


Our COVID-19 Emergency Fund gives us the flexibility to adapt our approach to our community’s needs. Donations made to the emergency fund will be used to address unexpected needs relating to COVID-19. Most recently it has been in the form of alleviating the heartbreak of losing loved ones by helping with burial expenses. With your support, whatever the need is, we’ll be able to address it. 

We are still here. We are our clients’ link to the resources they need. Hearing a friendly voice during times of social distancing makes a big difference. Undoubtedly, we will experience loss together, but we will build together like we have done so many times before. Trust is the intangible force that bind us together. 

Support us now, we are all counting on each other to make it through. Give to connect. Donate now. 


In Community,

Maria Lizardo, LMSW
Executive Director

Make an online gift today.

COVID Update

Dear Members of the NMIC Community,

NMIC remains committed to our mission and communities while following all guidance given to us from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the New York State Department of Health. We are in communication with City and State agencies as we continue to monitor public health and safety conditions. 

Like you, we are concerned about keeping our community and ourselves safe from the spread of the novel COVID-19 (coronavirus). As of Monday, March 16, 2020, we are taking the precaution of suspending on-site programming and implementing a remote work model of modified service delivery.

I want to reassure you that we have developed safety plans for our staff and created safety nets for our clients experiencing immediate service needs. If the City suspends individual services, we will follow instructions while helping our clients navigate the process. This is unprecedented for us, you, and our community partners. 

We will maintain immediate and open communication with our staff, clients, funders, supporters, and elected officials. 

I want to encourage you all to take good care of your health and well-being, to stay informed of the latest facts, and to seek and give support to others around you and in our community.

For up to date information, please visit our website,, follow us on social media @NMICnyc, email us at, or call us at 212-822-8300. 

Yours in solidarity,

Maria Lizardo, MSW
Executive Director

Event Cancellation

Dear Members of the NMIC Community,

I write today to let you know that the New York Celebrates Women event to be held on Sunday, March 15, 2020 from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM at the Harmonie Club has been cancelled out of an abundance of precaution for our community’s wellbeing. New York is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and guidance/updates issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the New York State Department of Health. NMIC is taking preventative measures to ensure the safety of our attendees.

Here at NMIC, we celebrate women and our accomplishments all year. We hope to get the opportunity to celebrate with you at a future event. You will receive a full refund for the value of the ticket purchased.

Many thanks for your understanding and support. If you need immediate assistance, please email Rosanna Montilla-Payano at

Yours in Solidarity,

Maria Lizardo, MSW
Executive Director

What Rihanna, Cardi B, and NMIC all have in common.

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What Rihanna, Cardi B, and NMIC Have in Common

(besides being fabulous)

Hi There,

The New Year is a great time to take stock of our lives, dream of all the possibilities a new year can bring, and make resolutions. Today is the International Day of Education, and we’re sharing today’s education-related success story with the hopes that it will inspire you to donate towards our $1,000 goal. Funds go to helping support the services that help our clients’ dreams, resolutions, and action plans come to fruition. Clients like Joseph Morales. If you’d rather skip the story and just donate, you can do so here,  but—spoiler alert—Rihanna, the royal family of Saudi Arabia, and Cardi B make an appearance, so you should probably keep reading!

Joseph was always interested in the performing arts, so he went to school to study them. When he realized he didn’t like his program, he started looking into other options. In 2017, he saw one of our flyers around his building, where he learned of YAIP (our Young Adult Internship Program, renamed Intern & Earn). His internship with us began with our very own Maria Guzman! His contributions were incredibly helpful both to him and to us as he improved his communication and professional skills while helping better organize our recordkeeping and outreach efforts for emails like these!

When he finished that up, ever the over-achiever, Joseph enrolled in our security program. In May 2019, he finished that program and immediate began work with Heightened Security. From there, he’s posted as a fireguard at Cipriani on Wall Street, and he also does security for special events. He’s worked with Rihanna, 2 Chainz, Cardi B, Pharrell Williams, the royal family of Saudi Arabia, and even the United States Secret Service doing security for the president.

Joseph’s trajectory has been interstellar, but he doesn’t seem to be slowing down. He is currently working on an advanced fireguard certificate, complementing the one he earned in our program. With it, he will be able to use fire control systems in buildings, which will put him in line for a promotion.

While Joseph is still interested in performing arts, he looks forward to advancing his career and seeing where his talents take him.

Now, if you’ll indulge us for a moment, this is where we’ll toot our own horn. We genuinely believe that NMIC is a community staple. It’s evident in the number of folks who have been working for us for  decades. It’s also apparent in the quantity of organizations we partner with, who trust us with their  communities. And it’s clearest to us in the way our vast network of services supports our clients on their paths toward making their dreams come true. As they move through our diverse programing, they gain new skills, address urgent crises, and get the assistance they need.

We’re helping our clients reach their full potential on their way to self-sufficient and prosperous futures. But we need you to be able to accomplish it. We have a goal of raising $1,000 this month. We’d be grateful if you could donate today.

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Yours in Solidarity,

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