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First Lady Chirlane McCray Unveils New PSA to Help Those Affected by East Harlem Explosion

March 31, 2014

Also announces more than $330,000 raised, with hundreds of New Yorkers contributing

NEW YORK— As Mayor Bill de Blasio joins those touched by the East Harlem explosion at today’s New York Mets Home Opener at Citi Field, First Lady Chirlane McCray is unveiling a new PSA asking New Yorkers not to forget victims of the blast.

In the PSA, First Lady Chirlane McCray asks New Yorkers to “join me in helping those affected by the tragedy in East Harlem” because “we’re all New Yorkers and we’re all in this together.”

Immediately after the tragedy in East Harlem on March 12, the Mayor’s Fund began working in collaboration with city agencies and local partners to provide support, counseling, and financial assistance to help those in need.

Watch the PSA here:

The PSA, which was shown at today’s Mets game, is just the latest in a series of outreach efforts from the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City also announced today that a total of $333,243 has been raised for those touched by the East Harlem explosion and building collapse. To date, the Mayor’s Fund has received contributions from almost 400 donors. Major new donations have been made by UJA-Federation of New York ($10,000) and the Mount Sinai Health System ($15,000).

In addition to the donations made by hundreds of New Yorkers, the Mayor’s Fund has received two notable in-kind contributions. Specifically, Rainbow Shops, a New York-based clothing chain, has donated $15,000 worth of gift cards to Rainbow clothing stores; and through their partnership with the American Red Cross, Kaz – the makers of Honeywell Air Purifiers – has donated 100 QuietCare™ True HEPA air purifiers to help remove household particles and odors, valued at over $10,000.

“We could not be more grateful for the generous contributions we have received – from donors big and small – to help those in distress from the East Harlem tragedy piece their lives back together,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, Chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “While our work does not end here, the support we have already seen reassures us that we can recover and rebuild, stronger than before. New York City will not leave anyone behind.”

“New Yorkers always pull together in tough times, and East Harlem has been overwhelmed by the generosity we’ve received from all over the City. We owe thanks to all who have given not just critical funds for families in need but also their time and efforts in the recovery process,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I would like to especially thank First Lady Chirlane McCray for the great work she’s done and look forward to helping families in East Harlem through the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.”

The East Harlem fundraising effort kicked off with $250,000 in initial pledges from the Real Estate Board of New York, Con Edison, Association for a Better New York, the Rudin family, and the Families and Board of East Harlem Tutorial Program. More than 100 households were displaced following the building collapse, with more than a dozen having lived in the two destroyed buildings.

The Mayor’s Fund has established several direct relief services. Local partners including Safe Horizon, Union Settlement and LSA Family Health Services were secured to provide counseling, individualized case management and one-on-one assistance to connect residents with resources available through various city agencies. Additionally, Safe Horizon began administering a victims’ assistance fund to provide targeted grants to any household living within the six affected buildings. These grants are being used to help cover a range of expenses including funeral-related costs, food and clothing, and transitional housing-related costs.

During its first week of activity, Safe Horizon has provided 90 sessions of case management services and those families have received trauma-informed crisis intervention and emotional support from licensed clinicians who are onsite every day. Safe Horizon has also covered expenses for three funerals, distributed 62 gift cards and 16 MetroCards, and begun processing additional assistance grants to those affected. So far, Safe Horizon, through the victims’ assistance fund, has distributed $28,171, with an additional 40,000 currently being processed.

About the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City:

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, which facilitates innovative public-private partnerships throughout New York City’s five boroughs. The Fund relies on individuals, foundations, and corporations to support public programs in areas that include the environment, youth development, financial empowerment, health, volunteerism and the arts.

About UJA-Federation of New York:

For more than 95 years, UJA-Federation has inspired New Yorkers to act on their values and invest in our community for the biggest impact. Through UJA-Federation, nearly 60,000 donors address issues that matter most to them, pooling their resources to care for New Yorkers of all backgrounds and Jews everywhere, to connect people to their Jewish communities, and to respond to crises close to home and around the globe. Working with nearly 100 network beneficiary agencies, synagogues, and other Jewish organizations, UJA-Federation is the world’s largest local philanthropy; our reach spans from New York to Israel to more than 70 other countries around the world, touching 4.5 million people each year. For more information on how to donate or volunteer, please visit our website at:

About Mount Sinai Health System:

The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven member hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.

The System includes approximately 6,600 primary and specialty care physicians, 12-minority-owned free-standing ambulatory surgery centers, over 45 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island, as well as 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institutes of Health funding and by U.S. News & World Report.

About Rainbow Shops:

In 1935 Rainbow Shops was founded in New York City. Today, along with sister brands 579 and Marianne, Rainbow has more than 1,000 locations within 37 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and is one of the fastest-growing junior retailers in the U.S. Rainbow is currently headquartered in Brooklyn, NY. 

About Kaz, the Makers of Honeywell Air Purifiers:

A world leader in high quality healthcare and home environment products, Kaz is a state of the art, dynamically-managed, global leader in healthcare devices, home comfort and water filtration products that operates in over 65 countries on six continents with a brand portfolio that includes PUR, Vicks, Honeywell, Braun, SoftHeat, SmartTemp, and more. Kaz is a global marketer of humidifiers, air purifiers, heaters and fans under the Honeywell brand. The Honeywell trademark is used by Kaz USA, Inc. under license from Honeywell International Inc. Kaz USA, Inc is a wholly owned subsidiary of Helen of Troy Limited (NASDAQ: HELE).

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