Philanthropy in Phocus

Friday, March 1, 2024
Facebook Live Video from 2024/03/01 - Rising Strong: Empowering NYCHA Communities

Facebook Live Video from 2024/03/01 - Rising Strong: Empowering NYCHA Communities


2024/03/01 - Rising Strong: Empowering NYCHA Communities

[NEW EPISODE] Rising Strong: Empowering NYCHA Communities

Fridays 10:00am - 11:00am (EDT)


1. A better understanding of the population we serve.

2. The need that 1 in every 17 New Yorkers -- over 525,000 -- have in New York City

3. How we raise funds to invest in high-impact programs, evaluate them, and scale them across NYCHA


Alex Zablocki is a veteran public servant with nearly two decades of experience working with nonprofit organizations and government agencies at all levels. Before joining the Fund, Alex served for five years as Executive Director of the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy. The public-private partnership supports 10,000 acres of City, State, and federal parkland in Brooklyn and Queens. Before leading the Conservancy, Alex served as Senior Program Manager at the New York State Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery and also previously served as Director of Community Relations for the New York City Department of Homeless Services and has held various roles with the New York State Senate and New

York City Council. Alex received a Bachelor of Arts degree in finance and investments from Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business and earned a Master of Arts degree in community and economic development from SUNY Empire State College. Alex joined the Fund as its Executive Director in June 2022.





#CommunityCompass #NYCHA #PublicHousing #CommunityInvestment

Tune in for this sensible conversation at

Show Notes

Segment 1

Tommy D opens the segment by introducing himself as the nonprofit sector connector and briefly mentioning some of his business ventures. He then introduces his guest, Alex Zablocki, and provides an overview of Alex's organization. Alex shares insights into his journey and the path that led him to his current position. Tommy D underscores the significance of Alex's work, and Alex elaborates on the importance of nature and its influence on his organization's mission.    

Segment 2

Tommy D kicks off the second segment by acknowledging the singer and band behind the show's introduction song. Alex takes the opportunity to promote his social media handles and website. He elaborates on his partnerships with various organizations and shares his passion for them. Meanwhile, Tommy D delves into his aspirations for additional business ventures. Alex then highlights a particularly significant organization for him and articulates his deep-seated passion for its cause, emphasizing how his work supports individuals through this organization.  

Segment 3

Tommy D initiates the segment by highlighting Alex's website for listeners to explore. Alex proceeds to outline some of the key programs offered by his organization, emphasizing their focus and intended impact on the community. He elaborates on how these programs are designed to engage the community and discusses their effectiveness in facilitating access to good, high-paying jobs for those they assist. Alex underscores the significance of their efforts in creating meaningful opportunities for individuals seeking employment.

Segment 4

Tommy D kicks off the segment by introducing the lightning round, during which Alex highlights the top four programs offered by his organization. Alex elaborates on the integration of art within their initiatives, emphasizing its role in fostering community culture. He shares details about upcoming art events and acknowledges the donors who have supported their organization. Alex concludes by promoting his organization and social media channels. Tommy D expresses gratitude to Alex for joining the show, wrapping up the episode on a positive note.


00:00:45.380 --> 00:00:49.980 Tommy DiMisa: Your voice back your boy philanthropy and focus your boy, the nonprofit sector. Wait for it.

00:00:50.200 --> 00:00:54.079 Tommy DiMisa: Connector your boy, Tommy D. At the top of my house.

00:00:54.230 --> 00:01:12.619 Tommy DiMisa: If you look above me, that's the roof right there. Gang, cause we're in my attic 2 flights up from the kitchen, where I get my coffee, and if you could tell if you've been here before I get plenty of coffee, I drink plenty of coffee. I like the caffeine. It keeps me going alright. Listen. I'm fired up because, you know it's it's just great when kind of your worlds come together. And

00:01:12.780 --> 00:01:24.170 Tommy DiMisa: many, many years ago, probably 7 years ago, before way, before philanthropy and focus was the thing way before I call myself the nonprofit sector connector, although I did call myself Tommy D. Back then, because I've been doing that for a long time, like

00:01:24.250 --> 00:01:31.159 Tommy DiMisa: I don't know 45 years or something like that, you know, from when I was about to, and I could say anything I was calling myself Tommy D. Anyway.

00:01:31.280 --> 00:01:48.289 Tommy DiMisa: way back when we decided at vanguard benefits, that we were to have a focus and working with the nonprofit sector and vanguard benefits as an employee benefits agency, as you know, and that is kind of part of what set me on this work into the nonprofit sector. I made a post on Linkedin the other day. It's also

00:01:48.330 --> 00:02:13.280 Tommy DiMisa: my my cousin Linda passed away a number of years ago, and the Liddy Lou Foundation was created, and that sort of set me on this path of what nonprofit was. And you know, maybe we'll get into more of that kind of that, like the the origin story of the nonprofit sector connector. Maybe we'll talk about that one day, but it's with vanguard it. It gives us this opportunity to connect with the nonprofit sector, you know, both on the full on philanthropic side of things. But I like to do, but also on the professional side of things.

00:02:13.410 --> 00:02:23.939 Tommy DiMisa: You know my guest today we've never kind of networked. We've never kinda had that, you know. Hey, man, tell me more about the organization question at and at the same time Alex Sabaki has been a client of ours

00:02:23.940 --> 00:02:48.849 Tommy DiMisa: Public Housing Community Fund has been a client of vanguard benefits for a few years now. So first of all, Alex, before I get into my rant, and you know, just you know it looks like I forgot about you for 4 min. Let me say hello to you. If you say, how are you, sir? What's going on? Good morning, great Tommy! It's it's a good day. Happy Friday morning good to see you, and thanks for connecting us and and bringing us on air today.

00:02:48.850 --> 00:02:56.889 Mission is to do 5,000 episodes of something that used to be an idea. 5,000 episodes of philanthropy and focus. We're right in that 160 mark.

00:02:56.890 --> 00:03:01.790 Tommy DiMisa: I I've I've told people this. I don't know if I've seen it much live on the show here. But I will.

00:03:01.950 --> 00:03:14.989 Tommy DiMisa: II wanna do the show every morning Monday through Friday. I wanna do the show every single morning because it what better way to start your day than being inspired by connecting with and learning about the great work that the nonprofit sector and its leaders are doing. So.

00:03:15.320 --> 00:03:41.009 Tommy DiMisa: you know, at the end of Willy Wonka, the original Willy Wonka, he says the little Charlie Bucket, he says, you know, Charlie, don't forget what happened to the little boy who got everything he ever wanted, and he says what happened, Willie? He goes. He lived happily ever after, and that will make me live happily ever after. Every single Monday through Friday I get to do this show, because what a way, as I say, to help these nonprofits tell their story and amplify their message. And I gotta be honest, which I'm gonna lean in and let tell you a little secret.

00:03:41.010 --> 00:04:06.629 Tommy DiMisa: It's a little bit selfish because it makes me feel really freaking good when I do this. So I like feeling good. Most people probably do. So. That's that's the story there. So, Alex, we were originally connected because your organization was getting to a point where you were looking to implement benefits and had implemented, been paid role. And there was some transition in the organization. And in a positive way, maybe we'll talk some of that today. Really. What I wanna do is I always do on the show, and I'll kinda set it up for some folks who've never been here before.

00:04:06.630 --> 00:04:31.700 Tommy DiMisa: But every week we learn about the leader of the organization what the organization does the programs, the impact? Right? Why is this organization in existence? Then we learn about what's upcoming for the organization. There's a pretty cool program. Alex and I were talking about. And it's kinda what reminded me about 3 weeks ago that God, I gotta get Alex on the show so we could talk about that new program that they have right? And then it's, how can we help, how can we get involved? How can we make an impact?

00:04:31.700 --> 00:04:39.719 Tommy DiMisa: And I say we? Because gang, we're creating community man. That's what this is all about. I know a lot of people pay attention to what I'm doing. I know a lot of people are following what I'm doing.

00:04:39.720 --> 00:05:08.079 Tommy DiMisa: You know, it was around 40 45,000 people at somehow got access to this show somewhere along the line in 23, 2,023. That's kind of a big deal for something. That was just an idea I had in my head. So what do I say? Alright! Here comes the soapbox moment gang. If you want to do something, do it. I saw a Jesse it'sler video the other day. If you don't know Jesse. So Google him or send me an email, I'll tell you who he is. But I saw a video the other day, and he was talking about how he did a cross country bike ride. I think he's 52 or 54 years old.

00:05:08.080 --> 00:05:31.879 Tommy DiMisa: and he's like yo 2,024. It's gotta be the year you have to do it now, because you don't know we're guaranteed nothing. I'm not gonna get like morbid or whatever on y'all. But we're guaranteed nothing, man, this moment is what we have. If you wanna do something, try it out. I promise you this the way you thought it was gonna work. It's not gonna happen that way. There's gonna be change is gonna be gonna be flows. But at least you freaking move the ball right? I beat myself up a little bit about this, but I did go around telling everybody

00:05:31.880 --> 00:05:58.430 Tommy DiMisa: for 2 years that I was gonna do a show called Philanthropy and focus before there ever was a show philanthropy and focus. So it's good to have a vision. But it's also good to jump in with with at least one foot, you know. My, I don't know if that would be jumping in or hopping in jump, in hop in whatever you want, get something started. So really, without further ado, the organization, Public Housing Community Fund. The leader is Alex is a blocky, Alex. This is probably not lost on you. But as I was writing notes about 10 min ago. I was like, you know, Alex should do a show

00:05:58.430 --> 00:06:15.699 Tommy DiMisa: called from A to Z with Alex a blocky. I was just thinking it out, man, or like you should have a newsletter from A to Z, or you should. Maybe you have these things already, and I just didn't know about it, but I'm glad you hear III had to make the A to z joke, cause I thought it was cute and funny it was like A/C do see, I don't know what it was. It just keeps coming off for me.

00:06:15.790 --> 00:06:25.810 Tommy DiMisa: Look you've been in when I look at the notes and stuff like that. You're a veteran public servant, right? So that's that to me speaks volumes. So I wanted you to expand on that thought.

00:06:25.840 --> 00:06:30.029 Tommy DiMisa: because I want to know what that means by being a public servant from your perspective.

00:06:30.520 --> 00:06:43.500 Tommy DiMisa: What drew you to this work? I mean, you go back for over 20 years in this space, working with the Jamaica Bay, Rockaway Park Conservancy, down on the Peninsula down there, right? That also worked with New York city department of homeless services.

00:06:43.510 --> 00:07:03.690 Tommy DiMisa: You received your bachelor's degree in finance from Baruch College, Zickland School, shout out to Baruch, and then you you continued on to get your community and economic degree, your masters from Suny Empire State College. Why, man, what was it that drew you to this work like, I feel like, there's there's always a story. Why, someone gets brought into what they're doing.

00:07:04.490 --> 00:07:31.859 Alex Zablocki: Tommy. Thank you. And and first off we're here at the fund. We're always optimistic and positive about the future. We manifest a lot of things. We wake up every day to execute and get things done. So love the energy. I didn't know you had a deal with the universe like I did. Who knew Alex, who knew? We bring those dreams alive, and and we make vision become reality. So that's we're doing here at the fund, but hard to believe.

00:07:31.860 --> 00:07:52.859 Alex Zablocki: 21 years ago this June, I started in government as an intern at my local Council Members office. So I was at Brew College, where I graduated from Proud Cuny grad. Here in New York City, got my finance degree. I was headed to Wall Street. But at the time second year in college, 9 11 happened. And kind of changed my career, path and view and perspective on life wound up.

00:07:52.860 --> 00:08:16.550 Alex Zablocki: interning for my local council member, who at eventually, years later, became a State Senator, so went along with him at the State Senate. I served this land use. Director, Chief of staff, worked on land, use matters and really had a bug for public service and giving back. I guess it's in my blood. I'm an Eagle Scout from Staten Island. So

00:08:16.790 --> 00:08:34.420 Tommy DiMisa: last week, and we were out at Stony Brook University yesterday, and we were talking about Eagle Scouts because she used to be the chief operating officer of Boy Scouts out here on Long Island, and I was saying, like that story about the Eagle Scout man that that is a big honor, and it is a big commitment when when those folks go out and do that Eagle Scout project right?

00:08:34.580 --> 00:08:54.329 Alex Zablocki: Oh, yeah, thank you. And I remember it well before turning age 1718, around that time when you have to obtain your eagle. The project that I did was to support folks with disabilities on Staten Island. I made their parking lot and communal areas safer but worked on many eagle projects with my friends, and still some of my best friends today are

00:08:54.330 --> 00:09:07.670 Alex Zablocki: groups that I grew up with that are now Eagle Scouts. Which is, which is great New Yorker. Yeah, I'm from Island. So it started 21 years ago in government and you mentioned some of

00:09:07.670 --> 00:09:31.459 Alex Zablocki: my career journey. I did serve as director community relations for the New York City Department homeless services under the Bloomberg administration. For 3 years I was the project manager of the city's hope, count. That's a street survey for those living on the street annually that tell the New York City and major cities around the country. It's the largest street survey of homeless in in the in the United States.

00:09:31.460 --> 00:09:54.779 Alex Zablocki: So as project manager for that for 3 years. And while I served in that role at homeless services superstorm. Sandy hit New York City, and I wound up joining our Commissioner at the time Seth Diamond, who went on to run the Governor's office of Storm Recovery. I was a New York City Regional Lead Supporting Storm Recovery Efforts from the State in Staten Island, Lower Manhattan, Red Hook, East Bronx and the Coney Island Peninsula

00:09:54.780 --> 00:10:11.570 wound up, managing at that office over a hundred 1 million dollars in storm recovery projects, including, this really exciting project off the south Shore Statin, called living breakwaters. They uses oysters and artificial reefs to combat the effects of climate change and sea level rise.

00:10:11.570 --> 00:10:39.689 Alex Zablocki: and then from there after serving 4 years at the Governor's office of Storm recovery, I found my way to Jamaica Bay and Rockaway parks, and served as executive director for nearly 6 years at the Jamaica Bay, Rockaway Parks Conservancy, where we supported 10,000 acres of city, state, and Federal Parkland, across Brooklyn and Queens many of your viewers might know Rockaway Beach, famous Surfing Beach in New York City, also one of the songs from the Ramones and

00:10:39.690 --> 00:11:04.960 Alex Zablocki: and Floyd, Bennett Field, Jacob Rees Park. So real national treasures and and important places in terms of our cities, open spaces, but also recreational areas. And after doing that for 6 years, we got a lot accomplished through the organization from just a single staff member to 6 full time staff members, multi 1 million dollar budget engaging 10 thio thousands of school students, I should say. Through our education programs. We had just built

00:11:05.030 --> 00:11:30.919 Alex Zablocki: a brand new living shoreline at the Jamaica Bay. Wildlife refuge created 9 new acres of habitat right before I had left the Conservancy, and I felt that I had gotten the Conservancy to a good place, and anyone that's in the nonprofit sector knows when it's your time to kind of pass the baton on to someone else to continue growing the organization and fulfilling its mission. It's maybe time to move on. And I was very inspired in the work

00:11:31.040 --> 00:11:34.919 Alex Zablocki: that I did at the Conservancy, not just in Parkland, but working with people.

00:11:34.980 --> 00:11:52.709 Alex Zablocki: And, as you can see through my career journey, really starting 20 years ago, it has always been around engaging and and serving the public and an opportunity rose to come and serve as the executive director of the Public Housing Community Fund, then known as the fund for public housing went through name, change.

00:11:52.870 --> 00:12:14.459 Alex Zablocki: and I could talk more about the organization in a few moments, but that's how I wound up here today, and it's and been an honor and a privilege to serve at the fund since June of 2022 recently, and and

00:12:14.460 --> 00:12:35.549 Tommy DiMisa: I think it was like oh, you know what it was! It was Jennifer Lopez. Somebody was like a quick sound. Bite right! Shout out to J. Lo, Jenny from the block. I understand, Jenny, I'm just Tommy from the block at the end of the day, too. I totally get it. So. I make myself laugh, Alex. You know she was being asked like, you know, how can you describe your body of work? And she was like.

00:12:35.640 --> 00:13:04.069 Tommy DiMisa: I'm still doing it, like, you know, like she's gonna be doing this another 30 some odd years right? Performing. So like I'm still in it. So she was kinda like it was like a cute little quip like I'm still doing the bodywork. But you, when I talk about what you've accomplished, you know, as a public servant to me. These are the people I like to spend my time with, like, even if I think professionally, from Vanguard's perspective vanguard benefits. You know, we we thought we wanted to work in the nonprofit sector, and I'll tell you the truth. I don't know if I knew what that meant 7 years ago, and you know.

00:13:04.280 --> 00:13:10.619 Tommy DiMisa: realizing it every single day is I get to hang out with people like you, who are changing the world every day, who are making the world a better place.

00:13:10.620 --> 00:13:35.409 Tommy DiMisa: People like that are on your team. People like you said you. You brought the organization Jamaica Bay, Rockaway Parks conservancy to a certain point growth. From one to 6 people grew the budget of the organization, and it was time to move on and let somebody else take it over. But game, changing things, just changing the opportunities that are out there for the world. And it's people like you. And again, I know as a nonprofit leader, everybody's like, hey, man, it's not

00:13:35.410 --> 00:13:48.780 me. It's about the team. Of course it's about the team, but I can't interview 9 people at a time, because I wouldn't be able to keep the conversation going. So the point is, thank you for what you do. I do have some questions. We are going to go to break in a sec. But I do have questions about, like.

00:13:48.820 --> 00:13:54.699 Tommy DiMisa: you know, just the the the Jamaica Bay the the Rockaway parks piece there like

00:13:55.190 --> 00:14:11.339 Tommy DiMisa: getting involved in nature. How important was that to you? We're gonna hold off on a break. We're gonna keep going for a second. But what what was the importance there. Yes, we're gonna talk about people 525,000 people that your organization now serves. But what what was it for you, nature wise. Was that also a big part of him, maybe back to the Eagle Scout days?

00:14:11.390 --> 00:14:35.590 Alex Zablocki: Yeah. Well, I've it's in my blood first off. Yes, always love being outdoors and supporting our parks, especially New York City. Which relies so heavily on our parks. We saw this after Covid, but something I realized early on that parks provide a great opportunity to improve physical and mental health, especially in lower income communities around Jamaica Bay and Rockaway. The allure there is that you have very historic parks created by Robert Moses.

00:14:35.590 --> 00:14:56.859 Alex Zablocki: Right? Many of them form military installations, and then areas that were heavily impacted by superstorm sandy. But the resilience that the Rockaway community of Howard Beach and other areas of Brooklyn showed after superstorm. Sandy is that they would determine to build back and build back better. So I came to the Conservancy at a time in 2017,

00:14:56.860 --> 00:15:07.450 Alex Zablocki: when the organization was still growing. It was very much a startup, and the opportunity was endless, and the work that we did was not just around nature and exposing

00:15:07.490 --> 00:15:32.570 Alex Zablocki: folks and visitors to all the wonderful places that Jamaica Bay and Rockaway parks offer. But it was also about supporting people, and especially young people from communities that often didn't have programs or services to expose them to nature, like I had as a kid, had been exposed to, and then also providing educational opportunities to young people while we build really innovative, cool things in our parks bring amazing art

00:15:32.570 --> 00:15:51.679 Alex Zablocki: to our park. So it was just an exciting moment in time that had the opportunity to participate in it had a really great team and a wonderful and dedicated board and share, and Tommy to your point earlier, really great partners in government, also on all 3 levels. We worked through public private partnership with the National Park Service.

00:15:51.680 --> 00:16:07.049 Alex Zablocki: with New York State parks, with New York City parks, with the mayor's office and with the New York City Department, environmental protection and all of those groups along with community based organizations that will really leading the charge. We're able to work together to do great things

00:16:07.050 --> 00:16:36.249 Tommy DiMisa: for Jamaica Bay and Rockaway parks, especially after the impacts of superstorm Sandy. And and that doesn't change. Now, either, we're still seeing the effects of climate change. So that's what brought me to the role, and certainly is something that I experienced. Yes, as a kid, and as an Eagle scout running through the woods and exploring nature. But I just think it's so important to support open space in our city get to nature, you know. There's for those of us who live kind of stressed out lives, you know, like human beings, like all of us.

00:16:36.250 --> 00:17:05.199 Tommy DiMisa: you know those of us who lead, you know. It's sometimes man. You just gotta get away from the machines. Get out into nature. See the birds. I didn't know this. I'm 46 years old. I never thought I'd be a birder. I don't know if I'm exactly a birder, but I do. When I see a bird I like to go. That's a beautiful bird. I wonder what kind of bird that is, and then I get, you know, into the looking. Then I gotta go look it up and see what kind of bird it is, but there's so much beauty around you. Gang pick your head up out of the device and look around. He's ranting. He's raving again, I know.

00:17:05.200 --> 00:17:21.610 Tommy DiMisa: But look, pick your head up, look around. I you know I want to go and visit. You know the things down in Jamaica Bay that I've never visited before. Gang. Just wherever you are. There's so much to see. Make a point of seeing it. We gotta take a quick break. We're gonna come back, Alex Seblaky, Tommy D. The shows, philanthropy and focus. We'll be right back.

00:19:09.100 --> 00:19:10.340 and

00:19:30.740 --> 00:19:52.369 Tommy DiMisa: you know. That's my friend my buddy, my PAL. I spoke to him early this morning. Business development Manager at the Queen's Chamber of Commerce, Brendan Levy, lead singer of damaged goods. I will be out tomorrow night seeing damaged goods. Not just any damaged goods I might, but the band damaged goods. So send me a note. If you're interested. Gang, I'll be out seeing Brendan's band tomorrow night.

00:19:52.370 --> 00:20:02.860 Tommy DiMisa: Tommy. D dot Nyc. On the Instagram. You can always check me out on there. Send me a little note. I'm not really sure how I'm figuring out how to use the messaging feature on there. I used to think it was just like post pictures and hope people like them.

00:20:02.860 --> 00:20:15.129 Tommy DiMisa: But now I realize, like people. You know, it's funny. I was like, I used to think Facebook was like a way like you and I would connect. And then we'd actually just move off of Facebook and have a phone call. I didn't realize, like the whole world, not the whole world, but a lot of the world like

00:20:15.130 --> 00:20:38.590 Alex Zablocki: they actually, that's their communication, like Alex and Tommy might keep in touch on Facebook all the time and never talk. I always thought it was just like leading towards the phone conversation. So my, I'm I'm old, I guess, but I'm realizing I don't know if you can relate to that. But I'm really it's a new way to communicate. Yeah, I mean, people will get find me on Linkedin and have a conversation. Every now and then you get an Instagram message, Facebook text message. I guess there's many different ways

00:20:38.590 --> 00:21:06.499 Alex Zablocki: that people communicate. But of course, the other, finding finding myself on Instagram or or organization and always messaging us, especially residents of public. How can they follow you and get connected to the to the fund? Yeah, we're Instagram at Community Fund and yc, so all of our social handles are community fund and yc, except for Twitter or X now known as X, it's community Fund and Y on X, because of the character limit. But you can find us on all the social media platforms, including Tiktok.

00:21:06.500 --> 00:21:12.740 Tommy DiMisa: Love it. Yeah, we're actually streaming right now. I got to look at my notes. We're streaming on Linkedin. We're streaming on Facebook. We're streaming on twitch.

00:21:12.740 --> 00:21:25.109 Tommy DiMisa: We're streaming on, formally known as Twitter. It's like Prince, the artist formerly known as Twitter, you know, and and then also on Youtube. And I mean, we're all over the place. I there's a couple of people like that check in

00:21:25.110 --> 00:21:47.109 Tommy DiMisa: playing games like they're gamers. And they're like listening to philanthropy and focus on twitch. Who knew I would have that that sort of appeal. You know people are like playing fortnite or whatever, and listening. Listen to the kid talk about nonprofits. II just love it. Isn't that just great how the reaches. So I was check. I was kinda chatting with you because I was on the intrepid couple last week when the kids were off for school. We took

00:21:47.110 --> 00:21:50.839 Tommy DiMisa: gang the intrepid museum, you know, in New York City.

00:21:51.140 --> 00:22:10.229 Tommy DiMisa: former, you know, aircraft carrier. It was still an aircraft carrier, but it's not being used anymore. I guess the right word is decommissioned. But I took the kids in, my wife and I went on a trip, and it happened to be like kids week because the kids were off for school, and one of the nonprofits that was there. I just hit you in the chat is

00:22:10.580 --> 00:22:38.799 Tommy DiMisa: the 1 billion oyster project, and it's something you brought up in that last segment there where I promise gang we're gonna get into the fund. But I also wanna hear Alex just sort of some of that stuff, cause you said you've worked with them for years, and you sort of also mentioned some of the experience you had in the past, you know, with the Conservancy. So let's talk about that a little bit, because with the oysters and stuff. They're not. They're not just for eating, apparently, I guess. Huh? No, II love oysters, but we don't eat oysters from New York City waters. Maybe out in Long Island, where you are from the Sound.

00:22:38.800 --> 00:23:01.249 Alex Zablocki: They're safe. But the 1 billion oyster project is a incredible organization nonprofit, based here in New York city that I've been working with since 2023 so nearly a decade. Now. I can speak more highly about their work. They really are incredible doing a lot of work in New York city schools and along the waterfront with the goal of restoring a billion oysters in New York city's waters

00:23:01.250 --> 00:23:27.909 Alex Zablocki: over the next few decades, but I got to know them at my work at the Governor's office. Storm recovery. We were partners on the live that living break waters project off the south shore of Staten Island. So it's seeded with oysters. And not only is it about providing resilience and attenuating wave action along the shoreline, using natural feast or features like oysters in the water. And of course they will do a lot for the environment. But what's great about the 1 billion oyster projects? They have such a robust

00:23:27.910 --> 00:23:52.020 Alex Zablocki: on the ground education program. So they have these systems set up with schools across New York City waterfront, and students are learning how oysters grow and what it means in terms of the ecosystem but then they're learning science skills. They work on art. They're working on mathematics. So all of the steam based curriculum. And they have a really cool place on Governor's Island. Tommy, you should go there with your family one day.

00:23:52.020 --> 00:24:16.870 Alex Zablocki: They have the Harvard School, and they grow oysters there. And they're doing this work. Now, expanding all over the 5 boroughs can again. I can't speak more about them other than just how great they are, and and they're really good partner. I love it. And so gang. Here's what I want you all to do is check out Billy oyster

00:24:16.870 --> 00:24:41.839 Tommy DiMisa: And Alex, I'm gonna ask you the first ask of the show. I'd love it if you could hook me up with some leadership over there and have them come on here on philanthropy and focus. I'm I have a quote of 5,000 shows. I told you at the upfront man I got a lot of got a lot of shows to do so be awesome, and if so, let's do this. And if Jay, because I know it's like a music theme going on with your show, if J. Lo is listening on Billy and oyster project will get you.

00:24:41.840 --> 00:25:01.630 Tommy DiMisa: Alex, and then we get into.

00:25:01.630 --> 00:25:21.789 Tommy DiMisa: But I have this whole idea of taking what philanthropy and focus is but doing it as a TV show. You remember the show? You ever see that show? Dirty jobs with that guy? I can't think of his name micro. So like I just, I have a camera guy. He's a film student guy named Samir is going to city college. And II was out on the other night, and I

00:25:21.790 --> 00:25:40.769 Tommy DiMisa: I I'm gonna go on the road and just do these shows. Maybe I could do something with the fund. Maybe I just come on. We you know, he records whatever antics we get into, whatever. And it you know, whatever cause to me, I wanna just continue to show what these organizations they're doing in real life in real time. Let's move on from Billy Oyster. Let's go back to Alex and the fund.

00:25:40.770 --> 00:26:06.439 Tommy DiMisa: When you made this move to this organization. That is an organization that the this is an organization in tandem with Nietzsche, which you all explained to me in a second but one in 17 New Yorkers lives in Nigel housing. Correct me if I'm wrong at 525,000 New Yorkers. So if I'm off on any statistics. Please correct me. But what exactly. W. When you came over to this organization, how familiar were you with the work that that the organization is doing.

00:26:06.790 --> 00:26:35.960 Alex Zablocki: And what was it that drew you over and and kind of? Give me a day in the life of what you all are doing. Sure, I was familiar with with the work familiar with the authority. My family had lived in public housing for 11 years way back, when in the fiftys and sixtys in Brooklyn. So had that connection, but understood what Nietzsche meant to the city. How important the housing that nitro provides in all 5 boroughs of New York City. The importance that played, and then also the great contribution public housing residents were already making to the city. And now being

00:26:35.960 --> 00:26:56.520 Alex Zablocki: in this role, I understand that even better. But you are right. The New York City housing authority supports over half a million residents over 525,000, to be exact. one in every 17 New Yorkers living in public housing across the 5 boroughs and the New York City housing authority in Niger is the largest and oldest public housing authority in North America. So the first

00:26:56.520 --> 00:27:08.220 Alex Zablocki: public housing development that was built in North America was built right here in Manhattan, on the lower East Side, called First Houses, Eleanor Roosevelt, Joy, Mayor Laguardia, to break ground over 90 years ago

00:27:08.220 --> 00:27:36.209 Alex Zablocki: on that development, and since then it has grown, and now is a city within a city larger than the city of Orlando. In terms of size, or Boston within New York City. But what we're seeing in nitro communities is really the economic engine of our city, the heart of our city. Folks that have lived in public housing for sometimes generations, or it could be transitional in many respects where they're moving into public housing and eventually transition out when they find economic mobility.

00:27:36.210 --> 00:27:55.680 Alex Zablocki: But Nietzsche is also supporting a community that's making on average income of $25,000 a year roughly per family so very low income. And a lot of these communities are in environmental justice areas. They're facing a lot of health issues. So we're here at the fund to respond to a lot of

00:27:55.680 --> 00:28:18.879 Alex Zablocki: the issues that residents are facing in community, but also provide opportunity in terms of programming, to lift up these communities and give them the opportunity to find economic mobility, explore new career paths as an example, build leadership skills and also get the financial tools they need to be successful. And we invest in public housing residents and their communities.

00:28:18.880 --> 00:28:30.110 Tommy DiMisa: So that's that's the piece that stands out for me. You invest in the residents and the communities. So you know, if I'm understanding correctly, you're advocating on behalf of

00:28:30.110 --> 00:28:56.009 Tommy DiMisa: the health of these individuals, the economic growth of these individuals, education of these individual 525,000 constituents, right that are, that are people that your organization advocates on behalf of is that that might. It's advocate the right word support. What? Yeah, we we support them. Look, our. Our vision is to build a stronger, more equitable New York City by investing in public housing communities. And that means the dollars that we raise go towards programs that support the residents

00:28:56.040 --> 00:29:03.470 Alex Zablocki: of public housing. And we do that through 4 key areas. Tommy. So you're right. We invest in programs focused on community health

00:29:03.820 --> 00:29:26.239 Alex Zablocki: workforce training that also includes supporting niches entrepreneurs. There are thousands of them leadership development programs which I can get to in more detail. And then financial empowerment programs. So those are the 4 main pillars. And we're out there each and every day, getting foundations, corporations to donate funds to support these programs. And then we launch

00:29:26.320 --> 00:29:49.380 Alex Zablocki: high impact programs. We always like to say that we sometimes pilot things, and we like to scale them nitrous so large that we can't possibly serve all half a million residents at once. So we invest in programs. We? We launch them, we evaluate them, and then we scale them up hopefully to all 335 nicer developments across the 5 boroughs. So that's that's really what we're driven by here at the fund.

00:29:49.380 --> 00:30:13.700 Tommy DiMisa: So a couple of things we're gonna take a break in a second. But couple of things that are gonna come up for us in the next segment is collaboration. I mean, you're you are a smaller organization. So you must have co collaboration and partners in in these you said 335 properties. Is that what you said? Yes, 335 developments across all 5 boroughs? Okay, all 5 boroughs covered it. Alright. So we have a lot to unpack, certainly about these 4 pillars

00:30:13.700 --> 00:30:24.970 Tommy DiMisa: workforce development leadership development and then also economic empowerment. So there's there's so much here, we're gonna take quick break. It's got to be a quick break gang. Don't give me too many commercials on this break, but

00:30:24.970 --> 00:30:28.810 Tommy DiMisa: quick! Break right back. Alex and Tommy, do you feel ever being focused? See you in a minute.

00:32:23.360 --> 00:32:37.399 Tommy DiMisa: The organization is Public Housing Community Fund. The leader is Alex Zablocki, and the nonprofit sector connector is your board, Tommy Dee. 4 things community health

00:32:37.400 --> 00:33:06.939 Tommy DiMisa: financial empowerment gang. By the way, I'm sharing the website. If you're watching and streaming, you see that if you don't go to community fund, Nyc. Community fund, Nyc, but those 4 pillars that Alex and I are, gonna jump into our community health, financial empowerment, leadership development and workforce training check that out, check out their website, reach out to me. Alex will send you, you know Alex will share his contact information again later in the show how to file them on social. All that type of stuff we need to dive into these pieces.

00:33:06.940 --> 00:33:20.819 Tommy DiMisa: So impacting these individuals, really, III you know, let me read it. Say, the the I wanna read it again. We're building a strong, more equitable New York City right on, Alex. So take it away. Tell us about these programs, please, sir.

00:33:20.820 --> 00:33:52.859 Alex Zablocki: Yeah. And as I said earlier, we are building a strong and more equitable city by investing in public housing communities. And that's what we're here to do. So you know, Nietzsche, right now, is doing a lot of work to invest in its infrastructure. There's a 78 billion dollar need that the New York City Housing authority has to keep up with its buildings and the deferred maintenance over the years. And a lot of this is due to decades of Federal disinvestment. So, as Nietzsche has been disinvested or lack of invested in in types of in terms of its

00:33:52.860 --> 00:34:13.370 Alex Zablocki: development needs. They have been not able to raise the funds necessary for program activity. So that's why we were created in 2016 and as I mentioned, we focus on community health leadership, development workforce training and financial empowerment as the main 4 main key pillars

00:34:13.370 --> 00:34:32.850 Alex Zablocki: for program development. And one of the things that we're focusing the most on right now and have a 10 year plan around to impact the most number of nature residents to improve community health, both physical mental health also, the community sustainability and resilience is investing in nitrous open spaces, mart

00:34:32.940 --> 00:34:40.689 Alex Zablocki: and community centers. And that comes under our community health pillar. So we have a real innovative program called green space connections.

00:34:40.730 --> 00:34:59.299 Alex Zablocki: We're we're engaging residents in participatory design in 4 communities, 2 in the Bronx and 2 in Brooklyn to meet the needs of current residents and then invest millions of dollars in their open spaces. And in those 4 communities alone, just terms of impact. It's 14,000 residents

00:34:59.300 --> 00:35:10.799 Alex Zablocki: that live in those 4 communities. But we've done other work and open space. We transform when you say open spaces. Can you give you a little definition around that so we can grab that one.

00:35:10.860 --> 00:35:33.959 Alex Zablocki: Yeah, the way that Nietzsche is built, it's it's this tower in the park model. So a lot of nicer developments across the 5 boroughs. Have a lot of density through a building. Let's say it's a mid rise or high rise, and then a lot of open space around it. So these campuses act as lungs of our city providing green space in areas that do that don't have that much parkland so Nietzsche itself is home

00:35:33.960 --> 00:36:02.349 Alex Zablocki: to ball parks basketball courts, playgrounds just places for community to gather in but through decades of disinvestment. By way of the Federal government. A lot of these spaces have not been well maintained, and also the populations have changed in public housing. So with a top playground might have been relevant in a community 20 years ago we now have an aging population and public housing. The need might be different. So we do. Is we raise money

00:36:02.350 --> 00:36:09.469 Alex Zablocki: to invest in these spaces, but we do it through a participatory process that's led by the residents themselves.

00:36:09.470 --> 00:36:19.509 Alex Zablocki: So everything that we do is focused around residents. So they lead the design process and then we invest in the outcomes of that process in partnership

00:36:19.510 --> 00:36:40.079 Alex Zablocki: with the New York City housing authority, and we believe that these projects will transform community obviously bring about pride and improve quality life, but also improve community health in terms of mental physical health again, resilient sustainability and a place to and way to bring community together and improve community safety.

00:36:40.270 --> 00:37:10.190 Tommy DiMisa: Yeah, you know, II get what better way to have the community be a part and parcel of building the community. I mean, it sounds like a silly statement, but the whole thing is like the community built the community. Tommy. Yeah, well, this is who lives there. These are the people who have the, the, the relatively speaking ownership of the of where they live, they should want to support it. You know whether they don't actually own the the physical building where they live in, but the ownership, in the sense of belonging. And you know.

00:37:10.520 --> 00:37:19.609 Tommy DiMisa: See that in my mind's eye the participatory nature of what you're talking about. You know people getting out there doing the work. And also, you know, II

00:37:19.610 --> 00:37:40.739 Alex Zablocki: an an agency, doesn't always know what the community needs. Right? So you must react to what they need and then bring resources. Isn't that the best way to do it? Yeah, the residents know best. And what's great about the authorities? Transformation plan is that they've really embedded resident engagement and the role of residents and all of the things that the authority is now doing. So on the policy side.

00:37:40.740 --> 00:37:49.400 Alex Zablocki: and the bigger picture restoring buildings, maintaining things like elevators, building mechanical things that we don't focus on right. The buildings themselves.

00:37:49.400 --> 00:38:13.449 Alex Zablocki: Nietzsche is working with residents across the 5 boroughs and working on innovative ways to bring those investments into community at the Public Housing Community Fund, we take those same concepts and ideals and even take it a step further, and ensure that residents are not only the focus, but the centerpiece of all the work we do. So, as you look at not only work in terms of investing in Nietzsche's open spaces through community led process.

00:38:13.460 --> 00:38:28.190 Alex Zablocki: But even our leadership development programs are all around engaging residents in in leadership skills, exposing them to new or existing career pathways that they might want to be exposed to higher education opportunities

00:38:28.190 --> 00:38:52.950 Alex Zablocki: providing scholarships to residents on the workforce side. We're really responding to the needs of residents in terms of what types of careers they would want to explore. So we're not making that decision for them. We're saying, this is a sector that's growing nicer. Residents have shown interest in this space, and we respond with program. So everything we do is centered around that and our board. Tommy also includes residents of Nica.

00:38:52.970 --> 00:39:17.960 Tommy DiMisa: That help guide us as well along with. With. Sorry to interrupt you. I noticed that the other day when I was looking on the website. And how critically important is that? Because, again, this is the community that can inform the change that's needed right? It's well, it's not look. Many nonprofit organizations get the big wig from a Xyz bank or Xyz multinational right? Because maybe they can bring funds and whatnot, and probably they can bring funds.

00:39:18.260 --> 00:39:37.309 Tommy DiMisa: And what's important is the the you know I have Ver very good friends at an organization which is a Fqhc. A federally qualified Health Center out here on Long Island called Harmony Healthcare, and they serve populations that they don't turn anybody away from medical services, and often they're serving populations of people who are uninsured under insured. Just don't have access.

00:39:37.310 --> 00:39:48.509 Tommy DiMisa: and nobody gets turned away, and their board is also made up of the people that they serve. What part of part of the board is made up of the people that they're serving, which, because again, we.

00:39:48.510 --> 00:39:58.970 Tommy DiMisa: We still need the people to bring some money sometimes to these nonprofit boards. We know that as well. Ii just think it's you know the way you go about this work seems

00:39:59.210 --> 00:40:05.730 Tommy DiMisa: the like. It's the right way to me, Alex. I mean, nothing's perfect, but this is to me is it's very informed to

00:40:05.780 --> 00:40:28.280 Tommy DiMisa: to the way things should be. What do you say? Kind of about? I mean, you're you're running the organization. Look, it's not perfect, but it gets better every day. And you mentioned earlier about partnership. You know, we not only partner with organizations to do this work because we are a very lean team. And we partner, of course, with government agencies and the authority itself. But our greatest partners are nitro residents.

00:40:28.280 --> 00:40:43.590 Alex Zablocki: So when we talk about the work we do. We really are their champion and they're helping lead this effort. So you're right in the nonprofit space. And your viewers know this. You have to have a board that's going to raise money. We are here to raise funds right to

00:40:43.590 --> 00:41:10.869 Alex Zablocki: to go forth with our mission of serving public housing residents. We can't do that without funding but nitro residents not only on our board, but our supporters in the community participants in our program, and those advisors that we lean heavily on and speak to every single day that live in nitro communities and know the community best are really our greatest spokespeople and quite frankly, are why we get to bring in the funding because nitro communities are worth investing in.

00:41:11.110 --> 00:41:34.420 Alex Zablocki: There's such a great need that communities have a public housing communities have in New York City. That we need to bring more resources to and fill those gaps. And you can see that out of this small city, within a city, these 525,000 residents, they really are leading the way. In terms of the city's economic engine, especially during Covid. They were going to work.

00:41:34.440 --> 00:41:50.579 Alex Zablocki: These are wonderful New Yorkers who, as I said, with many generations, have lived in these communities for for some time now, and we wanna support that and make sure that public housing is a resource that New York City has for generations to come.

00:41:50.670 --> 00:42:04.980 Tommy DiMisa: II want you to talk to me, Alex. Thank you for all that. I want you to talk to me about this whole piece on I wrote it down. But around workforce and the entrepreneurship of of people living in in Niger housing. And and you know, people that you guys are connected to please.

00:42:05.160 --> 00:42:32.680 Alex Zablocki: Yeah, well, look, it's it's exciting. Right now. There's there's a lot going on in the technology space, especially around AI and what we're focused on is is not just careers in tech, or those those opportunities that could really find someone. Economic mobility, not just a minimum wage job, but right, a real career path towards a high paying job with great wages and benefits. But we're mostly focused on the clean energy sector, those green jobs

00:42:32.680 --> 00:42:51.120 Tommy DiMisa: that are growing at a rapid pace in New York City, and niche is actually leading the way in terms of decarbonizing its buildings. Yeah, there. I would say, the innovation that's coming out of Nietzsche right now is unprecedented, and the public sector through Nietzsche, is leading the private sector in many respects

00:42:51.120 --> 00:43:14.079 Alex Zablocki: in terms of decarbonizing. We're working with nitro right now on this electrified heating system called heat pumps that are being installed. And we're training through our nitro clean Energy Academy nitro residents to be the workforce that will install these heat pumps and also make our buildings energy efficient. Installing solar at scale across nitro developments. So that's just on the workforce side. So we like to offer

00:43:14.080 --> 00:43:19.660 Alex Zablocki: programs and opportunities that aren't minimum wage jobs. They're they're not going to be entry level. But these are great

00:43:19.660 --> 00:43:44.509 Alex Zablocki: high paying maybe even union jobs with benefits. And you know, but not everyone wants to pursue a career in technology or the clean energy space. So we do support also nitrous entrepreneurs. And there are thousands of them. Our 3 main programs that we support along with Nica

00:43:44.580 --> 00:43:49.620 Alex Zablocki: is child care, food and construction business pathways.

00:43:49.620 --> 00:44:18.999 Alex Zablocki: These are programs that if you have a side hustle you, you have been baking cookies in your apartment and selling them to your neighbors. And you wanna formalize that business? Or maybe you have a home based childcare program. We've been taking care of a few kids in a development. And you wanna formalize that and get license for that work, or you have a side hustle. You're a painter or carpenter, maybe done some plumbing work like, I wanna make a business out of this. II should be able to compete for contracts that night, just putting out so I can benefit

00:44:19.000 --> 00:44:24.209 Alex Zablocki: from all of this investment as well. So these 3 programs work through a cohort model

00:44:24.210 --> 00:44:46.840 Alex Zablocki: to support entrepreneurs living in public housing that will wanna formalize their business and hundreds of residents, not thousands, have gone through these programs. And in that ecosystem we do, Tommy is when we have a need for like food for a meeting, or we need to reach out someone. We're also purchasing from our graduates. So we're keeping within the family and supporting those businesses.

00:44:46.840 --> 00:45:04.010 Tommy DiMisa: So it's really exciting with workforce side. And we're also supporting our entrepreneurs and niche in those 3 tracks. I don't know if you've ever connected with my good friend Michael parties. Michael is runs executive Director Red Hook initiative. But prior to that Michael and I knew each other. We studied together at the Institute for nonprofit practice

00:45:04.130 --> 00:45:31.810 Tommy DiMisa: and he would when we were together there. He was running Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative, BC. Di, in South Bronx. And there was this whole focus on the cohort programs as well as you know, the the community involvement and really propping folks up and giving them opportunities from an entrepreneurial perspective. So if you don't know Michael, we need to get you connected to Michael, he's he's been on the show. Actually, he's on the show when he was with Pcd. I so got him on the show for the Red Hook initiative.

00:45:31.810 --> 00:45:56.709 Tommy DiMisa: But just he's just an incredible community leader. I grew up in the Bronx, and if I'm not mistaken, grew up in Niger housing and has a very strong focus on service work. Have you ever met? Do you know the name? I know we we love Rhi. We're in Red Hook all the time. Karen Blondell shoutout is the Niger resident leader from Red Hook West and is on our board. And, Tommy, we're gonna be installing an incredible mural at that time

00:45:56.710 --> 00:46:09.210 Alex Zablocki: community from April to May of this year, and there's a technology piece to it. I won't give it away on your show, but we'll love to have you come out with your videographer.

00:46:09.210 --> 00:46:17.460 Tommy DiMisa: and, you know, shout out to the spirit of Huntington Art Center, which is an organization I sit on the board of I wanted to tell you about. I don't know if we'll get into today. That's why we always have to have the meeting after the meeting.

00:46:17.460 --> 00:46:40.179 Tommy DiMisa: but I'd love to be involved with the to see the mural, to witness what's going on out there, and you know we gotta take a quick break, so we'll be back when we come back. I we I mean there's so much here, Alex, this is. But this is the story of my show. We always run out of time before we run out of words. Let's come back. We'll finish off. We're gonna talk about what's upcoming. I wanna talk about this arts program that you have, that you, you and I. You did share with me.

00:46:40.180 --> 00:46:48.890 Tommy DiMisa: Kind of offline the shows philanthropy and focus Alex and Tommy in the attic, virtually in the attic. He's not really in my attic over here, but you know what I mean. Gang. Alright, we'll be right back.

00:48:49.740 --> 00:49:14.200 Tommy DiMisa: Yeah, it's funny. My producer just drops a note in a chat and says, Get ready for the lightning round. This is the lightning round. There's a lightning round gang. This is when I've known that I have so many more things I wanna talk about. And I got about 8 min to do it. So Alex, let's I wanna make sure we hit upon any of the the top programs, the top tiers, those those 4 tenants that you've talked about anything you wanna say about that. And then I wanna hear about the arts and anything else coming up before we head out of here.

00:49:14.510 --> 00:49:29.979 Alex Zablocki: Yeah, quick, quickly. We we support hundreds of you through youth centered leadership development programs in partnership with Nyu Citi tech for architecture programs. Nyu's on real estate. We have a youth tech core program that's intergenerational. We teach technology skills to nitro residence.

00:49:29.980 --> 00:49:47.730 ages 14 plus and connect them with adult leaders to solve community communication problems using technology. We also Tommy raise funds to support a nitro cuny scholarship program. So residents that are in Cuny undergrad or graduate school can apply for scholarship. We gave out 79 of those

00:49:47.730 --> 00:50:03.129 Alex Zablocki: last year a record and we do a lot more at the fund. Everyone can find out about the work that we do and how we're looking to partner with organizations that are in this space and provide opportunity to residents by going to community Fund, Nyc.

00:50:03.130 --> 00:50:18.920 Tommy DiMisa: And I am happy to talk about the art program if you want to talk about it. But before you say that I wanna remind everybody gang, you know, in a world where not everybody should be going to college. Oh, my God! He said that, but in a world when not everybody should be going to college. We certainly we need people in our trades. We need people in in other work.

00:50:18.930 --> 00:50:44.799 Tommy DiMisa: However, if you are college bound man, the Suny schools and the Cuny schools. What a deal! You can get an incredible education, you know, without having to have that private cost and those loans and things like that Alex graduating from Barook, I mean, you know all about. I did not graduate from Baruch, although I did attend Baruch. However, I was also attending my job, which was as a bartender at the time, so it was very difficult getting home at 4 A. M.

00:50:44.800 --> 00:51:09.270 Tommy DiMisa: From the bar, and then getting to a 70'clock calculus class. And I will tell you this. You I don't know who you are, but if you were Tommy d, you can't miss calculus 6 weeks in a row, and then show up as if nothing happened. And like, think you'd know how it it was almost like, has I? Had I not gone to mandarin class for like 6 weeks in a row, because I didn't even understand what they was saying when I got back, anyway. That's that's my story, shouted the Sunni. Old Westbury, where I did get my degree in finance.

00:51:09.270 --> 00:51:20.499 Tommy DiMisa: So Alex, let's I wanna hear about the art I want, because it was something that that was sort of the catalyst almost to having you on the show, because you brought it to me from a business perspective about what's going on in the new program and tell us about that, please.

00:51:20.560 --> 00:51:47.569 Alex Zablocki: Yeah, we're we're doing a few things around art. So first off. We're looking to incorporate art and a lot of the open space work we're doing. So this would be resident led ideas we worked in partnership with another nonprofit center for justice innovation to install an incredible mural in the Bronx at Patterson houses. That shows these famous faces from Patterson, and then current residents and really brings a lot of pride to the community. It's in the central space. And it was all community designed

00:51:47.570 --> 00:52:02.680 Alex Zablocki: with an incredible artist Joel Berger from art illusion in the Bronx. That's just one piece. But we've taken that a step further. We raise 2 million dollars last year to support restoration of a historic piece of artwork. So if some of you as may not know this.

00:52:02.680 --> 00:52:24.920 Alex Zablocki: but when Nico was first developed in the thirties and forties during the Wpa. Europe. Out of the new deal. A lot of amazing pieces of public artwork were installed in public housing communities like you would see in some of our public hospitals, or even some schools and other public open spaces, and, like other things at Nita, due to Federal disinvestment. A lot of these pieces of artwork are in disrepair.

00:52:24.920 --> 00:52:48.900 Alex Zablocki: So Nietzsche did advocate for funding through the City Council to restore historic piece of artwork from the Harlem Renaissance at Kingsborough houses in Brooklyn. We help fill the gap for that funding, I'm proud to report. We broke ground in January. That freeze, which is 80 feet long by Richard Barte, is out of the Harlem Renaissance. It was designed in 1939 and placed in this community 1941. So it's been there for over 80 years.

00:52:48.900 --> 00:52:59.099 Alex Zablocki: That freeze is now being restored and the wall is being rebuilt. But connected to that, we have programmatic activities. So we're bringing in an artist in residence at Kingsborough

00:52:59.100 --> 00:53:27.509 Alex Zablocki: and a fellow that's gonna be a Kingsboro resident who will collect stories through an oral history project and work with the artist in residence at Kingsborough. But, Tommy, we're taking that a step further. So we raise elevate baby elevate. We we scale. So we raise an additional 3 million dollars and we're bringing the artist in residence program to all 5 boroughs so we'll be in Richmond Terrace houses on Staten Island. Be in Bushwick, in Brooklyn. We're gonna be at a story in Queens.

00:53:27.510 --> 00:53:36.499 King Towers, in Manhattan and Bronx River. In the Bronx. We will be hosting artists. In all of these communities starting in July for 20 months.

00:53:36.500 --> 00:54:04.230 Alex Zablocki: and the community decides what mediums they want to explore. Why is this important, though. II mean, hey, man, this is housing. This is public housing, Alex. I don't understand. I don't get it. Why is art important? Well, few reasons. First off, there's lack of programming. So just engagement around art programming and mediums, community wanna wants to explore brings community together and gets them to experience something new. It is about improving community health, mental and physical health, community safety

00:54:04.310 --> 00:54:17.150 Alex Zablocki: and also creating social cohesion within these communities. So that's the main driver of it. But it's also the programs call from roots to arts. It's about unlocking and enhancing and supporting the culture that already exists

00:54:17.160 --> 00:54:28.239 Alex Zablocki: within public housing communities to give residents a voice through the arts around, how they want to express themselves. So let's imagine there's residents that want to explore fashion

00:54:28.250 --> 00:54:54.550 Alex Zablocki: or dance in their community. The artists will be able to do that with them, and it's so robustly funded. That we think will have really great outcomes over the 20 Month Residency that will prove itself out as we evaluate it, and then we'll be able to scale that so hopefully through this pilot, we'll be able to scale from 5 communities to 10 to 15 to 20 and it's something we're looking to do in open space and art and community centers across all 5 boroughs to hit all nitro campuses.

00:54:54.550 --> 00:55:06.609 Tommy DiMisa: So you raise the money and you raise the money. However, I would imagine, like you'd love to kind of slap a logo on the side of this by somebody brighten a big check. Right? Is that possible? Like partnerships and relationships with corporates?

00:55:06.610 --> 00:55:19.599 Alex Zablocki: Oh, well, definitely they. We're always looking for corporate sponsors, foundations to support us. Here, it's not necessarily Tommy, about putting someone's logo on something. Obviously wanna work with the right funding partners

00:55:19.600 --> 00:55:30.720 Alex Zablocki: to support programs like this. If anyone's out there listening, connect with us especially around solving some community health issues, using really innovative ways, such as investing in open space or the arts.

00:55:30.720 --> 00:55:53.339 Alex Zablocki: But we do work with really well known brands and corporations, and to their credit they're not always asking for credit. It really is about the residents and and not about the press. Release of the photo. OP. We have some great donors. That that we've had for multiple years some newer donors. And this base has been really important to us in order to help serve nitro communities.

00:55:53.340 --> 00:56:17.219 Tommy DiMisa: I love that, you know and I love to hear that it's not always about just the the photo OP. And the press release, you know, from the from the big corpus. It is about community, and that's great, because behind the scenes, we know how important it is to to serve our communities. Alex, we're running out of time. I have something to say at the end, but anything you want to say before we let how they get in touch with you. I mean, we see on the screen community fund, Nyc. And at Community Fund, Nyc. On the social media stuff.

00:56:17.280 --> 00:56:44.199 Alex Zablocki: What? What else you wanna leave them with how to get you how to get your team. Yeah. So II think one. I wanna thank you, Tommy. But also, thank anyone that's listening definitely, go to community funds at Nyc. Find us on social on our website. There's a nicer story section. If anyone wants to hear more from nicer residents directly about what Nietzsche community means and what this big family means to New York City and to us as an organization check out those videos, learn more about public housing. Why, it's important, and

00:56:44.200 --> 00:56:48.270 and then understand why we need to invest in these communities to create a more equitable city.

00:56:48.370 --> 00:57:04.610 Tommy DiMisa: Alright. And that's where we're gonna leave Alex. I'm glad you're you're you're here. I'm glad you're telling the stories I want to continue to have this story time with you. I want to come out in May and April, and the murals and all things. What I want to do is I haven't done this since 2,022 last year. Every back in 22 every month I was

00:57:04.700 --> 00:57:29.140 Tommy DiMisa: sponsoring a membership into the Queen's Chamber of Commerce cause I feel so strongly about the Queen's chamber, and my friend Tom Gretch, my friend Brendan Levy. So what I wanna do is I wanna connect you with the Chamber. I wanna pay for your membership for the for the first year for the Public Housing Community Fund, so you could become a member and then leverage my relationships over there at the chamber. So if you accept, Tommy, you're welcome. There it is Queens Chamber. We'll work it out behind the scenes gang every single week. Here we do a couple of things.

00:57:29.140 --> 00:57:46.050 Tommy DiMisa: I help nonprofit executive leaders tell their story and amplify their message. And whatever happened to the little guy who got everything he wanted he live happily ever after. I'm living that right now. Man, I love what I do. I love this show. Alex. Thanks again. Make it a great day. Everybody. We'll see you next week right here. Philanthropy in focus bye

download this episode of