Neighbor-to-Neighbor Grants $309K to Residents for Emergency Expenses in 2023

By Deirdre McKenna / April 18, 2024

Berkshires Taconic Community Foundation’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor fund, established in 2009, provides emergency grants up to $1,000 to individuals and families as a strategic intervention to relieve economic distress and avert further financial crises. BTCF partners with twenty social service agencies across four counties that process applications and make payments to vendors on behalf of the community members in need. In 2023, 510 households representing 1,150 people were served, with almost 500 individual payments made, totaling over $309,000.

2023 Neighbor-to-Neighbor (N2N) requests for assistance were most frequent, as expected, for rent and utilities, followed by car repairs and medical expenses. In total, there were 28 categories, including groceries and gas cards. 2023 saw a significant increase in applications for help with attorney fees by our growing immigrant communities.

Jessica Raymond, Family Program Director at Northeast Community Center in Millerton, NY, a BTCF partner, says, “Neighbor-to-Neighbor has been a vital tool in assisting clients enrolled in our NEDCorps* [Immigrant Support] program. In 2023/24 Neighbor-to-Neighbor has been utilized for utilities, transportation and housing costs. In our region, housing costs have risen dramatically, and rental properties are in great demand. Neighbor-to-Neighbor has been a crucial resource in aiding families to stay current on their rent and avoid eviction.”

Berkshire County, MA’s portion of Neighbor-to-Neighbor funding is the highest at 57%, followed by Columbia (17%) and Dutchess (16%) NY, and Litchfield County, CT (10%). These percentages reflect the amount of money raised from donors for these counties. Though Columbia County’s 17% portion, for instance, may look small by comparison, it represents $51,966 in grants that helped alleviate significant financial pressure for residents in need.

The People Behind the Numbers

A fuller picture of the N2N program emerges when we hear from our community partners on some of the specific challenges people face:

  • A physical therapist contacted N2N to help a lymphedema patient who needed compression stockings to prevent potentially deadly blood clots and was unable to put them on or remove them by themself. The PT recommended an assistive device; however, the device and stockings were not covered by health insurance. By obtaining the necessary items via the N2N grant, the patient has been able to remain independent and protect their health.
  • An expectant mother applied to N2N for one mortgage payment, needed due to a loss of income resulting from unexpected medical needs. She had been placed on bedrest 1 ½ months prior to giving birth and was unable to work. Additionally, her baby was born prematurely and required NICU observation. The mother’s presence at the hospital required a new childcare solution for her other child at home. A family member helped, but subsequently lost their job. The grant removed the urgency of one major expense and gave the family more time to secure employment.

  • While a CHP Mobile Health Unit nurse treated a wounded homeless person whose wallet had been stolen, the patient shared that since they no longer had an ID, they were unable to pick up prescriptions or access financial assistance. The N2N grant paid for a hotel room so they could heal, and they were given help to get a replacement ID and establish a bank account. Now, they are much healthier and have acquired housing.

BTCF Grants Technical Analyst Caitlin Healy notes, "N2N is a program that really gets into the heart of the community. By working with partners that have direct access to applicants we can better serve those in need. These stories show that it is not just about a dollar amount, but knowing what is most needed and will have the most impact."

BTCF is committed to identifying and responding to pressing needs in our community. Neighbor-to-Neighbor contributes to stronger economic foundations in peoples’ lives, which can create or re-establish pathways to achieving what we strive to bring to our whole region: economic opportunity, community engagement and access to education.

Applicants can find their local community liaison and learn more here:

*NEDCorps grants support nonprofits, municipalities, community organizations and civic entities serving residents of northeast Dutchess County, NY. Its focus is to promote educational attainment and increase short- and long-term financial resiliency for individuals and families, including the region’s growing immigrant population.

Donate to Neighbor-to-Neighbor (All Counties)

You can also donate directly to N2N by county:
Berkshire County (MA) Columbia County (NY) Northeast Dutchess (NY) Northwest Corner (CT)