Resources for Advocacy During COVID-19

During these unprecedented times, the Advocacy Institute remains committed to supporting and amplifying the advocacy and organizing work of our partners to the best of our ability. This crisis has truly brought to the forefront how many of the systems, policies, and structures in our society are not designed with our communities’ best interests in mind. In these desperate times, the fight continues more than ever and we are here to support you as much as we can.

Below we have compiled some resources for organizing, advocacy and mutual aid efforts related to COVID-19 that we hope you find useful.

Advocacy Institute Resources

Interactive Maps

Directly connected to our Legislative Directory, our interactive maps show a snapshot of ten legislative bodies (NY Senate, NY Assembly, NYC Council, Dutchess County, Orange County, Ulster County, Putnam County, Westchester County, Suffolk County, and Nassau County).  The Interactive Maps allow you to sort easily the legislators as well as see geographic maps of the districts.

Strategic Campaign Support

Dedicated support to assess the status and strategy of campaigns and coaching to develop and reach 3, 6 and 12 month milestones. Team onboarding, and ongoing consulting on shifting strategies round out AI’s role as a trusted collaborator on campaign work for organizations with a range of experience. Contact

Emergency Relief

Speaker Johnson proposes $12 Billion Relief Plan: Includes Temporary Basic Income, Extra help for impacted NYers, Cover fixed costs for businesses (defer sales, rent, and business taxes; penalty free deferment; expand eligibility of small business loans). Read the CPC response.

The coronavirus relief package being considered in the House would increase funding to NY State’s Medicaid program on the condition that Cuomo allow the state to step up funding for Medicaid, instead of his typical strategy of passing the buck to cash-strapped local governments. This has Cuomo fuming and insisting he can’t balance the state budget. In response, advocates are calling on Cuomo to increase taxes on the rich.

North Star Fund has a page of resources and Giving to Direct Assistance/Mutual Aid.

Philanthropy Resources

As Foundations plan for action in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Engage New York is tracking local, regional, state, and national resources to assist stakeholders across the State. Check back for updates and share information to be included on this page by emailing

Philanthropy New York has created a resource page and convened a webinar on March 12th New York based funders on responding to COVID-19.

The Brooklyn Community Foundation has established a Brooklyn COVID-19 Response Fund.

The NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund was created to aid nonprofit service providers struggling with the health and economic effects of the coronavirus. It will give grants and loans to NYC-based nonprofits that are trying to meet the new and urgent needs that are hitting the city.

The Council on Foundations has compiled a list of response funds and funding opportunities.

The Bridgespan Group has developed COVID-19 Online Resources for Nonprofits and Funders.

Rochester Area Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Rochester: Their Community Crisis Fund will prioritize funding for human services nonprofits in the Greater Rochester area and will not require a formal application process. “We anticipate multiple phases of funding to address both the acute needs from the outbreak and the longer-term impacts of recovery,” reads the webpage dedicated to the fund.

Trinity Church Wall Street: The parish will be providing one-time grants of up to $25,000 for current grantees in New York City who are seeing growing need or disruptions to service as a result of COVID-19. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis through March 26.

No Kid Hungry: Community-based organizations and school districts can submit inquiries for emergency grants to support local nutrition programs.

Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region and the United Way of the Greater Capital Region: Their fund will provide one-time operating grants to human services organizations in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady counties, and possibly those in surrounding counties. Funding will be awarded on a rolling basis with the initial round of grants to be moved within the next few weeks.

Center for Disaster Philanthropy: Its response fund is dedicated to nonprofits in regions with a large number of people affected by COVID-19 who work with vulnerable populations, such as seniors, people with disabilities, immigrants, and hourly workers. The organization also plans on working with non-governmental organizations to support health care workers, quarantined and vulnerable people as well as promoting best hygiene practices.

Robin Hood Relief Fund now accepting applications from all 501(c)(3) organizations in NYC:

Nonprofit Finance Fund announced they will provide no-interest loans to human services and arts organizations in New York as a part of the Response & Impact Fund efforts.

Issue Updates

Social Services

What Advocates are Doing

Asian American Federation created a website for their member and partner agencies.

Human Services Council Rapid Response Page and FAQ’s. HSC works closely with our government partners to connect human services organizations with information and access related to disaster preparedness. We will work hard during this period to provide you with up-to-date resources for human service providers from reliable sources.

What the State is Doing

April 7, 2020 The State released guidance for contracted nonprofit human services providers. The guidance outlines performance requirements for funding during COVID-19.

Governor Cuomo issued guidance on essential services which includes many social service providers.

What the City is Doing

City Takes Steps to Stabilize Human Services Nonprofits

Mayor’s Guidance for Health and Human Service Contracts, which includes payment on contracts, increased cash advances, reimbursements.

Mayor’s Office FAQ for Contracted Health and Human Service Providers

Comptroller’s letter to Deputy Mayor Fuleihan

Economic Justice

What Advocates are Doing

Laundromat workers are often left out of NYC’s paid sick leave law, which doesn’t apply to businesses with less than five workers. Join Laundry Workers Centerin demanding paid sick leave for laundry workers. Sign the petition here!

80,000 people are homeless in NYC. People need housing, food and sanitation. Not policing or jails. Read the open letter from VOCAL-NY to Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo.

Home care workers are working 24-hour shifts without proper protective equipment, endangering their health and the health of the people they are caring for. Join Chinese Staff & Workers Association in calling on Governor Cuomo to end 24-hour shifts. Sign the petition here!

New Economy Project is calling for a statewide moratorium on debt collection. Sign the petition here!

Worker Justice Project of New York calls on the Governor and state legislators to swift action to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of New York’s farmworkers. Learn more and sign the petition here!

To show the widespread support for domestic workers, Hand in Hand has created a Pledge for domestic employers who are able to commit to paying workers they employ throughout this crisis. Taking this powerful stance to care for the workers who care for us, will concretely make a difference in domestic workers’ lives, and will contribute to building a movement that values and recognizes care.We know that taking the pledge isn’t possible for all of us right now. As many businesses slow down or close, some of our members are facing difficult financial realities. For many of us, our incomes have not changed, and continuing to pay the cleaner, nanny or caregiver through the crisis is one easy and powerful action to take. Sign this pledge and urge your friends, neighbors and family to sign it.

Invest in Skills NY – helping the workforce development community survive and embed workforce community in the heart of the recovery effort.  Read their letter to Mayor de Blasio and his DM’s about the impact on NYC’s workforce.

What the State is Doing

Cuomo seeks federal unemployment relief for gig workers

What the City is Doing

Small business COVID-19 assistance

Environmental Justice

What Advocates are Doing

The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced a dramatic relaxing of environmental rules, citing the decision as a response to the COVID pandemic. The agency will now allow power plants, factories and other facilities to determine for themselves if they are able to meet legal requirements on reporting air and water pollution. The Clean Air Coalition is calling on New York State Attorney General, Letitia James, to respond to the EPA’s order. You can find out more and support the effort here. Want to Take Action on these Cuts To Enforcement? Register and Join a Zoom Call on Tuesday, April 7th at 5:30pm. (We will be joined by Judith Enck, former Regional Administrator of Region 2 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To discuss this memo and its impacts to our community.)

Housing Justice

What Advocates are Doing

Cancel the rent! Upstate Downstate Housing Alliance calls for statewide rent suspension and emergency housing (not shelters) for homeless New Yorkers. Join this effort!

The Upstate Downstate Housing Alliance along with allies won an 90-day statewide moratorium on evictions, so that no one loses their housing or small business during this public health crisis. Check out the FAQ for tenants here.

What the State is Doing

A new bill before the state Senate, sponsored by Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris, would cancel rent for tenants across the state. The basic idea is that any person who faces a financial hardship because of the coronavirus would not have to pay their landlords, who could write off that amount from the mortgages they owe.

What the City is Doing

Moratorium on evictions

Criminal Justice

What Advocates are Doing

COVID-19 has come to NY jails and prisons. Join Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP) and allies in calling on Governor Cuomo to release elders and other vulnerable individuals from prison. Sign the petition here! And join the virtual vigil outside Sing Sing at noon today!

Advocates who are opposed to efforts to amend newly-implemented criminal justice reforms are say “New York State’s leadership should be laser-focused on coming together to protect our state from a pandemic,” Katie Schaffer of the Center for Community Alternatives said in a March 23 statement. “Changing the bail law to put more legally innocent people in jail before a trial is simply a non-starter.”

Criminal justice advocates demand a comprehensive plan to protect the state’s criminal justice system against the coronavirus pandemic.

What the City is Doing

Immigrants' Rights

What Advocates are Doing

The New York Immigration Coalition has launched the New York United Campaign. They are calling for free COVID-19 testing and treatment for all New Yorkers, regardless of status; multilingual COVID-19 hotlines and resources to make sure everyone knows the latest updates; the suspension of ALL immigration enforcement activities; and emergency economic support for all workers—including immigrants impacted by the virus—among others. Read more about their demands here.

The New York State Youth Leadership Council is compiling a live document of resources in NYC around COVID19 support efforts. They are prioritizing resources open to undocumented people. Follow them on social media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and email them at to add resources.


What Advocates are Doing

March 30, 2020 The Campaign for New York Health launches its #NoMedicaidCuts digital campaign opposing cuts to healthcare funding in the NY State budget during the COVID-19 crisis. This campaign is part of a larger Budget Justice coalition effort to demand that Cuomo offset cuts to essential services by increasing taxes on NY’s wealthy.

What the State is Doing

The Medicaid Redesign Team put together by Cuomo has recommended $400M in cuts to hospitals in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

$40 million to address the COVID-19 public health crisis

What the City is Doing

Here’s a full list of City Agency Suspensions and Reductions.

NYC Health provides guidance for NYers and Providers

Civic Engagement

What Advocates are Doing

The New York Civic Engagement Table is supporting its members and partners with the transition from in-person organizing and outreach to remote and digital. Here are some tools and resources that they have shared.

What the State is Doing

Democratic Leader has floated canceling the Presidential Primary.

New York Officials Weigh Delaying April Primary Election

New York Republican Primary cancelled

What the City is Doing

Schools and Educational Access

What the City is Doing

Beginning March 27, 2020, the NYC Department of Education (DOE) Regional Enrichment Centers(RECs) will now also serve grocery, food and pharmacy workers. For community members who are serving in these vital roles and have no other means of childcare, the DOE is setting up Regional Enrichment Centers (RECs). RECs are open and operate from 7:30am to 6:00pm (Monday-Friday), and will ensure that students have access to remote learning as well as various art, music, and other activities. If your child is a New York City resident and you would like to enroll in one of these centers, please complete this REC Enrollment Form. Please complete this form for each child you are seeking to enroll. You will then receive an email confirming your child’s center assignment.

What Advocates are Doing

Call for postponement of district voting on school budgets and school board candidates. Currently being reviewed by the State Education Department.

Albany Updates

Albany Power Dynamics

April 6, 2020 Albany’s balance of power tilts back to the governor.

Budget Updates

Legislators are still meeting. There is no precedent for the situation the legislators are in, can’t hold committee meetings in person without putting people at risk.  Full legislative bodies aren’t meeting in person, just key leadership.

Worry that Cuomo will muscle decisions into the budget. Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) — the chairmen of Legislature’s health committees — called for “protecting bail reform” as a matter of “racial justice and public health,” in a letter to their colleagues Tuesday.

Cuomo says NY will try to pass a budget ahead of the March 31st deadline amid the virus outbreak and still wants to include legislation.

What About the Rest of Session?

Local Updates

NYC Budget Updates

April 6, 2020 10 Ways the New State Budget Impacts New York City.

March 23, 2020 De Blasio Discusses His Call for City Agencies to Cut Spending

Predictions of a $5B loss in revenue to the city from the Citizens Budget Commission.

Comptroller Stringer predicted a $3.2 B hit to the budget. Tax revenues are down in real estate, retail, hotels.

City Council Budget hearings are shut down-hearings were put on hold and members were told they didn’t need to submit budget proposals.  Can still pass legislation and have meetings via teleconference. Speaker Johnson is committed to secure a budget. While hearings are on hold, advocates can always submit testimony to

Federal Updates

Senator Gillibrand released a Guide to COVID-19 Disaster Funding.