2021 Notable in Nonprofits and Philanthropy

Aside from providing all manner of cultural, social and health services, New York City’s vast nonprofit ecosystem is an economic powerhouse, accounting for nearly one-fifth of the jobs in the Big Apple.

Like every local “industry,” the nonprofit sector in recent decades has had to navigate a variety of large-scale challenges, from 9/11 to the Great Recession to Superstorm Sandy.

But never in its history has the nonprofit realm been challenged as it has been this past year—nor has the sector and its supporters so robustly demonstrated resilience and purpose. During the 12 months dominated by disease, disruption and, all too often, death, New Yorkers individually and institutionally showed their generosity with their wallets, time, creativity and spirit.

This list of Notables in Nonprofits and Philanthropy is a celebration of 57 New York heroes who facilitated or led nonprofit work in the face of the pandemic. In compiling it, Crain’s Custom sought to highlight a cohort of individuals whose fundraising, volunteer work, program management and other charitable efforts enabled New Yorkers to navigate a once-in-a-generation emergency. Indeed, the honorees have greatly helped the city emerge from a ravaging pandemic scathed but intact.

To find these individuals, Crain’s consulted with trusted sources in the nonprofit and philanthropy realms and in the New York City business world. Crain’s carefully vetted the nominations, which individuals and companies in the area submitted. Ultimately, all of the honorees who made the list were chosen for their efforts to help New Yorkers ride out the upheaval wrought by Covid-19.

Read on to learn how these honorees came to the rescue of a city gripped by disaster.

Ruth Browne

President & chief executive officer, Ronald McDonald House New York

When pediatric cancer patients travel to New York to access advanced care not available elsewhere, they can bank on finding a supportive temporary housing environment at Ronald McDonald House New York. Under the leadership of Ruth Browne, its president and chief executive officer, Ronald McDonald House serves thousands of families from all 50 states and around the world. Services include accommodations, transportation, educational services, food and nutrition, language access, and more for patients and their families. During the pandemic, Browne and her team labored to ensure that services would still be provided to those in need by developing virtual programming and online support groups.

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