Highlights From Our First Year With the Robin Hood Foundation

The River Fund was invited at the beginning of summer 2012 to submit a grant proposal to The Robin Hood Foundation. That invitation opened the door for us to upgrade our operations from being a volunteer-only organization, to one that partially compensates some of our key team members. The change allowed us to (1) expand our Benefits Access Center operations to six days per week, and (2) establish a formal logistics team to handle the average volume of 100 tons per month that typically goes through our tiny facility.

Following the acceptance of our proposal, The River Fund began operating as a Robin Hood grantee on October 1, 2012.  Among the provisions of the grant, we were given both Emergency Food and Benefits Assistance targets for the year. We also began using special software called “BEN” provided by SingleStopUSA—an organization that had been created by Robin Hood to pioneer the concept of one-stop prescreening, prequalification and enrollment locations for benefits and services—thus saving needy families the expense and frustration of visiting dozens of different offices all over the city and waiting for hours in each place, just to see if they might possibly qualify for some help.

One month after the start of the grant period, New York City was hit by Hyperstorm Sandy. Since our site was not severely affected, and as the operators of the only Mobile Pantry at the time within the City’s HPNAP-funded EFRO system, The River Fund immediately jumped into action and responded to the need in the Flood Zones. As a result of this dramatic increase in activity, our Emergency Food numbers are much higher than they would otherwise have been. Our Benefits Assistance activity remained in line with expected levels.

Here are the goals that were set for us and our accomplishments in the first nine months of the grant-cycle:—

Food/Nutrition
Nine Month Target:   Provide 3,375 unique households with 525,000 meals
Nine Month Achievement:  

Served 28,367 unique households with 3,750,000 meals

Benefits Assistance
Nine Month Target:   Add 750 new families to The River Fund’s client base
Nine Month Achievement:   

Added 1,012 new families to The River Fund’s client base

Using BEN: Screening
Nine Month Target:   Screen 675 households using BEN Software
Nine Month Achievement:  

Screened 958 households using BEN Software

Using BEN: Benefits Access Recording
Nine Month Target:   Connect 338 households to core cash/non-cash benefits listed in BEN
Nine Month Achievement:  

Connected 624 households to core cash/non-cash benefits listed in BEN

Using BEN: Monitor POS Food Stamp Enrollment Quality
Target for the Year:   Achieve an 80% application acceptance rate.
Current Status:  

We currently have an 81% acceptance rate for Food Stamp POS Enrollment.

Using BEN: Monitor POS Medicaid Enrollment Quality
Target for the Year:   Achieve a 65% application acceptance rate.
Current Status:  

We currently have a 73% acceptance rate for Medicaid Enrollment.

Organizational Structure
Target for the Year:   Build an organizational model with six partially compensated staffers.
Current Status:  

We have built an organizational model that includes six partially compensated staffers.

Fundraising
Target for the Year:   Increase non-government funding by $150,000.
Current Status:   We raised $229,230 in new, private, non-earmarked donations since October 1, 2012, of which $38,714 was donated by individuals in specific support of our Sandy Response, and $152,476 was raised in a single event—our From Hunger to Hope Spring Fundraiser on June 4.

 
On July 23, 2013, The River Fund submitted our 105-page Final Report for 2012/2013 to Robin Hood, and requested funding for the upcoming grant cycle from October 2013 through September 2014. Having achieved the goals and expectations that were set for us, The River Fund New York fully expects to be a Robin Hood grantee once again.

The Robin Hood FoundationThe River Fund New York began operating as a Robin Hood Grantee on October 1, 2012—less than a month before Hyperstorm Sandy hit our City. The grant allowed us to transition upward from being a volunteer-only organization. It also gave us the foundation we needed to improve operations in many areas. We honor this transformation by inserting "Robin Hood Sightings" into the photographic record of our work. Below are some examples.

Robin Hood at The Fresh Air Fund's Camp ReservationRobin Hood was spotted at The Fresh Air Fund's Sharpe Reservation—home to their five award-winning camps, where The River Fund sent dozens of children for FREE sleep-away vacations this summer.

Robin Hood with The River Fund CobrasRobin Hood with our youth basketball team, The River Fund Cobras—one of our summer programs designed to keep at-risk youth off the street during the long summer school break.

Robin Hood with one of our Robin-Hood-funded printersRobin Hood rushing past one of our two state-of-the-art Robin-Hood-funded printers at our offices in Richmond Hill. This ultra-new technology has cut our printing costs by 70%.

Robin Hood at our Saturday Client Choice PantryRobin Hood observed at one of our weekly Saturday Client Choice Pantry Days. In the background, a client chooses produce with help from our Data Manager, Irene York, who handles data-transfer from Robin Hood's BEN-system to ours.

Robin Hood at our Child Poverty Awareness Day EventRobin Hood entertaining a child at America's very first "Child Poverty Awareness Day," launched by The River Fund on the second Sunday in August this year. For more about that initiative, click here.

Help us keep our Robin Hood funding— Support our Fundraising Target Areas:
 Be a Monthly Donor
 Mobile Operations & Logistics
 Tax-Return Help for Working Poor
 Child Poverty Amelioration
 Kids' Summer Getaways
 Kids' Back-to-School Program

 


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