NEW YORK SAYS THANK YOU FOUNDATION

We Transform Tragedy into Hope

aka Stars of HOPE USA   |   New York, NY   |  www.NewYorkSaysThankYou.org

Mission

To build hope and provide healing to people around the world to continually "pay it forward" for the humanity, kindness, and volunteer spirit New Yorkers – and all Americans – experienced on 9/12.

Ruling year info

2005

Executive Director

Josh Garcia

Main address

New York Says Thank You Foundation 178 Columbus Avenue PO Box 230729

New York, NY 10023 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

20-1554830

NTEE code info

Disaster Preparedness and Relief Services (M20)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (F01)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

After a tragedy, many people will first encounter distressing thoughts, feelings, and physical symptoms and can participate in risky behaviors to better cope. There may be medical conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Effects and reactions can occur immediately or after a while. The portion of our brain that is accountable for language (the Brocas region) shuts down when we experience a stressful incident. Around the same time, the threat awareness core of our brain (amygdala) is on high alert and visually tracks the painful memory in the form of body sensation (Rausch et al, 1996). Using art to convey emotion accesses both visually retained memories and muscle memory since it enables people to create images and restores them to actual sensations through the use of art materials such as paint. Some researchers have indicated that touch and vision senses are specifically connected to our brain's anxiety core (Lusebrink, 2004).

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Stars of HOPE®

For nearly two decades, New York Says Thank You Foundation (NYSTYF) has adapted to the needs of survivors and communities experiencing trauma by activating nationwide volunteer networks and disaster-relief programming.

Stars of HOPE is NYSTYF’s flagship initiative. Stars of HOPE (SOH) is a community arts and disaster relief program that provides a pathway to healing designed by survivors for survivors. SOH fills a unique gap in disaster relief services by utilizing research-based coping techniques and compassionate social support to those in the days, weeks, and years following a life-altering tragedy.

Stars of HOPE’s qualified art therapists and certified emotional care responders guide survivors’ resiliency by holding a safe space for peers to express themselves while empowering one another to recover together through the creation of a “Star of Hope.”

These one-foot wooden stars serve as a canvas for survivors to create colorful art and messages of healing to other communities.

Population(s) Served
Victims and oppressed people
Children and youth

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of works created

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Stars of HOPE®

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Rolling total number of individual Stars of HOPE created by individuals across the globe in response and/or impacted by natural disaster or human-caused tragedy.

Total number of communities touched

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Stars of HOPE®

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Communities who received created Stars of HOPE serving as beacons of hope and compassion for impacted communities.

Total number of countries connected

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Stars of HOPE®

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Countries impacted by tragedy who received Stars of HOPE from others across the globe.

Number of reports written/published

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Stars of HOPE®

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Reports published by accredited Mental Health and Art Therapy organizations.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Understanding what some researchers have suggested that the senses of touch and vision are specifically linked to our brain's anxiety core (Lusebrink, 2004), therapeutic art is ideally equipped to communicate with traumatic memories.

As we continue to focus on responding to tragedy during the COVID-19 pandemic, a 2013 meta-study of health-related disasters found that isolation or quarantine can be traumatizing, with 25 percent of isolated or quarantined children and adults experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. Our projects are aimed to connect individuals feeling isolated or alone in several key communities (Detailed in strategies).

Our goals are simple and aligned with our mission, focus on emotional healing, use creative art as a primary means for connection, create meaningful, personal, and lasting connections, and acknowledge everyone's individual definition of hope and healing.

Everyone benefits from the creation of Stars of HOPE. If a group gathers together to make Stars of HOPE following a tragedy, survivors feel linked to each other and are comforted by art-making. The Star of HOPE method builds feelings of optimism, positivity, empowerment, and resilience. This is a positive experience for survivors and will help deter adverse disasters from happening. Schools, volunteer and faith-based organizations, and companies pursuing community service programs will also benefit from Stars of HOPE. It offers a chance to think about empathy and why everyone can make a difference through the influence of art and the message of healing. It can be a team bonding exercise, a community service day project, and a simple way for anyone to help in disaster relief and recovery.

The emotional scars of a traumatic event can take years to heal... and healing is different for every person. We reach people on an individual level and give them the means to heal themselves and others. To accomplish this mission, we do not want to impose limits on who volunteers or who can be helped by Stars of HOPE. Our volunteers include all survivors and what we refer to as "survivors by empathy"-people who did not personally survive a traumatic experience but are nonetheless profoundly impacted and moved to help.

Our core project Stars of HOPE Box of HOPE Kits make it easy to paint the sky with hope! Kits include everything you need to paint your Stars of HOPE and an instructional booklet filled with stories and inspiration. Every quarter, kits are provided free of charge to our volunteers and survivor groups. Bringing a volunteer activity to your front door. You send hope. We'll do the rest.

Connecting Children and Seniors - Through our Starshine Connection Project, seniors are allowed to share childhood memories and wisdom through an online portal where parents can sign up and share the stories with their children. In return, the child is encouraged to answer the question "What does HOPE mean?" and create a personalized Star of HOPE delivered through the online portal.

Supporting front-line workers - Video conferencing has become a key tool for creating Stars of HOPE with classrooms across the country. Our Art Therapists can connect with students and start the conversation, "Who needs hope?" The arts are used for social and emotional learning because they teach self-awareness. The artistic process can also be connected to the more emotional side of us. For example, through Stars of HOPE, instructors will help their students learn about empathy and what it means to take care of others. Students also practice techniques such as mindfulness, self-regulation, and problem-solving. Both the physical Star of HOPE is the ideal tools for mindfulness exercises. Stars of HOPE can be tailored to any age demographic, grade or skill level and is an outstanding tool as a lesson plan or unique experience that can positively affect the advancement of social and emotional learning and student well-being.

New York Says Thank You Foundation, Inc. (NYSTY) provides therapeutic healing through the program Stars of HOPE USA to communities impacted by disaster or tragedy. Our program projects use people's creativity to promote healing and connection for individual people.

As a small but mighty nonprofit with 501c(3) status, NYSTY is committed to focus on emotional healing, use creative art as a primary means for connection, create meaningful, personal, and lasting connections, and acknowledge everyone's individual definition of hope and healing.

NYSTY will achieve this through our voluntary network of healers, our organization's staff, pace and adaptability committees, supporters, and technologies. Our worldwide volunteer network consists of thousands of Stars of HOPE producers between the ages of 2 and 102 and will be engaged when a call is made to respond to the disaster within 48 hours (or when appropriate). In response to the tragedy, our leadership and board members work and adapt to the changing landscape to respond and cooperate efficiently. We are excellent at ensuring that our volunteers, staff, and board members have positive and reliable representations and knowledge of our organization. Our Board and staff integrate the background and skills needed to grow and create lifelong relationships of confidence with partners and stakeholders with experience in event planning, art therapy, local and state mental health organizations, branding and communications, marketing, business strategy, organizational development, and operations.

We have positively impacted over 180 communities in over 26 countries. In 2019-2020, volunteers and community members placed stars of hope in numerous disaster areas, including the flooding in the midwest, Hurricane Dorian, Alabama Tornadoes, California Wildfires, and shootings in Highland Park, CO; and El Paso, TX. Stars of HOPE was also part of the 9/11 Memorial Museum's opening of the Glade Memorial. We were also featured on "The Today Show" on New Years Day 2020, highlighting our Stars of HOPE Community Response Bus launch.

By 2020 we have pivoted our program projects to be completely virtual, offering virtual classrooms and community events to keep "creating hope" for others and are lead by our Art Therapist. We have also engaged many corporate offices to engage in an online volunteer opportunity to create Stars of HOPE banners for senior centers and hospitals. We also launched a pilot project called the Starshine Connection, which virtually connects isolated seniors to children during the quarantine.

We hope to continue to innovate the disaster response and therapeutic art sector as we have big plans for the upcoming years to create an app to easily connect the creator to the receiver, provide long-term healing through a partnership network, and expand our reach to continue healing and empathy.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Stars of HOPE aims to serve survivors and communities impacted by natural or human-caused disaster. We also have an educational initiative to provide creative communal outlets for students to express themselves and learn about/respond to local and global crises. We hope to launch a new initiative supporting our healthcare workers dealing with grief and burnout after COVID in 2023.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Utilizing feedback we have developed a three year strategic plan to implement the needs of those we serve. Starting with developing an online portal to provide long-term resources and educational/ wellness trainings.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

NEW YORK SAYS THANK YOU FOUNDATION
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

NEW YORK SAYS THANK YOU FOUNDATION

Board of directors
as of 03/08/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ash Greyson

Founder –Ribbow Media. Group

Term: 2020 - 2023

Robert Gurman

Gurman Capital Group, LLC

Sherry-Lea Bloodworth

Vice President Of Strategic Partnerships Catholic Charities USA

Paige Ellison

Co-Founder & Director of Project KID Mental Health Therapist/Counselor

C. Ed Massey

Blankenship Massey & Associates

Jeff Parness

Founder, New York Says Thank You Foundation

April Naturale, MSW, Ph.D.

Mental Health & Traumatic Stress Management

Ash Greyson

Founder- Ribbow Media Group

Shoshana Dweck

Philanthropist

John Curti

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/7/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/06/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.