Our History Timeline

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 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

Received 501(c)(3) tax exempt status from the IRS. Achieved annual partner status with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

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 and partnered with United Way of NYC. Qualified for the USDOH Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program. Moved operations from a garage in South Ozone Park to a larger facility in Richmond Hill. 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 and Angels on the Bay of Howard Beach to support our “Healthy-Happy Kids Program.”

2003

Built on-site Pantry warehouse and purchased a van for our Mobile Hunger Relief Programs with funds from Phillip Morris/Kraft Foods. Established partnership with Herr’s Chips for weekly snack foods. Elevated by the IRS to permanent public charity status. Partnered with Campagna & Sons for Thanksgiving Turkeys and other food supplies.

2004

Awarded Certificate of Honor by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall for our “Rounds Program” serving mentally/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 Nourish 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 the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, COSTCO, State Farm Insurance, IEat Green and Young Men’s & Women’s Real Estate Association for supporting our existing “Thanksgiving Dinner Kit” and “Holiday Gift-Giving” Programs. Launched our annual “Back to School Program”—supplying backpacks and school supplies to children. Partnered with Yoga for Life donating Easter Baskets.

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. Connected with M•A•C Cosmetics’ AIDS Fund for operational grants.

2007

Received the Volunteer Group of the Year Award from the Terrence Cardinal Cook Center for our work with those living with 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. Received support from the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots for our annual “Holiday Gift-Giving Program.”

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. Connected with Whole Foods of Jericho and Manhasset, Long Island, for fundraising and operations materials. Partnered with A.S.A.P. Logistics, Ltd. for bulk transportation and high-value food supplies. Partnered with the NYC Coalition Against Hunger for annual Americorps*VISTA volunteer support. Collaborated with Queens Center Mall for backpacks and supplies for our “Back-to-School Program.”

2009

Upgraded our 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. Connected with City Harvest for fresh foods and Feed the Children for special commodities. 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. Qualified for annual grants from the FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Program. Connected with Payless ShoeSource Foundation for children’s winter footwear.

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. Linked with Continental Lift Truck, Inc. for forklifts, pallet-trucks and storage. 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. Connected with Cornel University for “EatSmart” cooking demonstrations.

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. Partnered with the Food Bank for NYC for the “Community CookShop” nutrition education initiative sponsored by the Mario Batali Foundation. Formed a youth basketball team, “The River Fund Cobras,” for boys ages 16 to 18. Launched our “Kids’ Summer Organic Gardening Program.” Partnered with Baby Buggy for infant supplies. Our site is now a Food Stamp Processing “hub center” serving 10 sub-locations throughout Queens.