What began at the start of 2020 as a grant program to recognize local nonprofit organizations and engage employees in celebrating New York Life’s 175th anniversary, quickly became an opportunity to recognize individuals and organizations making a positive impact in the midst of COVID-19.

“While many of us put our everyday routines on pause when the pandemic hit, some incredible individuals leveraged their skills and mobilized their resources to help vulnerable or underserved populations in their community when they needed it the most,” said Marlyn Torres, senior program officer, New York Life Foundation. “New York Life employees and financial professionals recognized these individuals through the Love Takes Action award program and enabled award winners to ‘pay it forward’ with a $50,000 grant from the Foundation. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our 175th anniversary than to honor those selfless individuals and nonprofits helping communities across the country.”

“While many of us put our everyday routines on pause when the pandemic hit, some incredible individuals leveraged their skills and mobilized their resources to help vulnerable or underserved populations in their community when they needed it the most,” - Marlyn Torres, senior program officer, New York Life Foundation. 

Some of the remarkable individuals who were honored for their exemplary community service include:

  •  Jeanmarie Deliso, a financial professional with New York Life’s Connecticut Valley General Office, nominated Reverend Ute Schmidt, a hospital chaplain whose mission is to ensure that “no one dies alone.” Reverend Schmidt continued to provide in-person service, compassion and spiritual care to the ill and dying, inclusive of all faiths. Reverend Schmidt chose Baystate Health Foundation to receive a $50,000 grant.
  •  Aziz Kanjiani of New York Life’s Dallas Fort Worth General Office recognized community member Ram Mehta, an immigrant pizzeria owner who provided free food to those experiencing food and housing insecurity. The restaurant owner’s actions were grounded in his own experience with homelessness and his Sikh faith. Mr. Mehta chose Penny Appeal USA to receive a $50,000 grant.  (see above photo)
  • Recognizing that the pandemic would present new challenges for grieving children and families, Jennifer Frush, an executive director of a bereavement center, led efforts to move support groups online. Notably, she created a new support group specific to frontline workers experiencing loss and trauma and partnered with her local school district to deliver a “Parenting through a Pandemic” workshop to the broader community.  Ms. Frush was nominated by Stephen K. Rowley III of New York Life’s Greater Detroit General Office and chose New Hope Center for Grief Support as the recipient of a $50,000 grant.

The Love Takes Action awards program was administered by the New York Community Trust and enabled New York Life employees and financial professionals to nominate extraordinary individuals serving their communities in response to the pandemic. The New York Community Trust along with the New York Life Foundation staff narrowed the 130 applications that documented the critical work happening in local communities to 35 local heroes. These 35 award winners then nominated 35 local nonprofits to receive $50,000 in one-year general support grants totaling $1.75M. 

 


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Media contact
Lacey Siegel
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-7937
Lacey_S_Siegel@newyorklife.com

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