LISC National

Rooted Responders: A LISC NYC Report on Community Based Organizations Coping with COVID-19


Dear LISC NYC partner,

I hope this message finds you and your families safe and well.

With the outbreak of COVID-19, thousands of small businesses have shut down, record numbers of people have filed for unemployment, and too many are grieving the loss of loved ones. The crisis has put into stark relief the deep inequality and lasting impacts of systemic racism and unequal access to health care and economic opportunity in New York City. The black, brown and immigrant communities where LISC NYC has worked for decades have been disproportionately impacted, experiencing higher rates of death and financial hardship in the midst of this pandemic. This is unacceptable.

Over these past weeks, I’ve spoken with dozens of leaders of community based organizations on the front lines, and I’ve been consistently inspired by how they are responding. These organizations are doing what it takes to help their neighborhoods through the crisis, whether it’s helping local businesses deliver meals to those in need, or completely re-tooling their work to provide remote services and help residents apply for unemployment or SNAP benefits, regardless of their ability to speak English or immigration status. 

In very difficult circumstances with inadequate resources, these “rooted responders” are not only meeting urgent food and shelter needs in their communities, but are also starting to plan for recovery and resiliency. LISC NYC is committed, as ever, to supporting these community based champions to carry out the critical work they do. To that end, we want to share with you Rooted Responders: A LISC NYC Report on Community Based Organizations Coping with COVID-19, our report based on over 20 in-depth conversations with community organizations across New York City.

To address needs identified in the report, we are:

We are committed to making sure that our partners not only weather this initial storm, but also remain resilient, so that they continue to serve as “rooted responders” trusted by their communities throughout the recovery period. We also know that circumstances and needs are rapidly evolving so we invite you, and all our partners, to stay in touch and share what you are learning so that we can collectively adapt our strategies and responses to this unfolding crisis.

Please stay safe and be well.

Warmest regards,

Eva Neubauer Alligood
Interim Executive Director