As you may know, I’m currently preparing for another show at Chelsea’s Amsterdam Whitney gallery. I’m particularly looking forward to the possibility of supporting the work of CAMBA by donating 10% of sales from my work. I’ve been a supporter of the charity for a couple of years now and would like to see this organisation achieve its objectives to help many of New Yorkers who are facing a variety of hardships.
Joanne Oplustil, President & CEO, CAMBA / CAMBA Housing Ventures was kind enough to provide answers to some questions I posed to her regarding the agency, it’s mission and future.
Q- Can you provide a summary of the organisations origins and it’s vision?
CAMBA was founded in 1977 as a merchant association in Flatbush to reduce crime and beautify the community. CAMBA’s leadership quickly recognized that commercial revitalization was impossible without creating paths to opportunity for residents, particularly the burgeoning population of immigrants and refugees. CAMBA grew in direct response to community needs, and today we reach 45,000 New Yorkers annually with 160 programs delivered from 70 locations throughout the five boroughs.
- Provides for Basic Needs: This year, CAMBA provided shelter to more than 4,500 people, permanent supportive housing for more than 1,110 individuals and families with special needs, and 45,000 pantry bags to hungry Brooklynites.
- Develops Human Capital: Annually, 9,000 youth attend CAMBA educational and enrichment programs, and 2,000 adults engage in job training, English or adult literacy classes.
- Prevents Harm: CAMBA’s services are designed to help families and individuals avoid an array of societal ills, from preventable hospitalizations, to family violence, to eviction or deportation. Last year, we prevented more than 3,186 families from being evicted.
- Remediates: CAMBA helps stabilize New Yorkers with drug addiction or mental illness, reconnect youth who have left school, and settle refugees who have suffered trauma in their home countries.
What sets us apart from peer organizations is CAMBA’s holistic approach to transforming lives. We know that children succeed only as part of families and communities, so we invest in parenting, education, job training and health in addition to providing safe, sustainable and affordable housing. CAMBA provides essential services to improve client outcomes and help residents attain self-sufficiency. By providing holistic support to help individuals and families gain stability, we fortify the neighborhoods we serve, having community-level and City-wide impact and driving local economic growth.
Q- According to published figures, you’ve helped over 45,000 people in the city. In which areas and issues have you been most effective and why?
We help 45,000 New Yorkers every year! Each of our programs has distinct outcomes we are trying to achieve, but we have an excellent track record of accomplishing what we set out to do. I am particularly proud of our development of more than 1,500 units of permanent affordable housing, in just the first 10 years of developing housing.
We view affordable housing as a platform for individual and family stability and economic success, as well as a cornerstone for community revitalization. Through dedication to design excellence through contextual buildings, attractive façades and durable finishes, CAMBA Housing Ventures’ buildings demonstrate that affordable and supportive housing is a community asset and provides dignity for tenants. Our dedication to design excellence and proactive property management oversight have shifted expectations about what affordable housing looks like, removing the stigma associated with affordable housing and elevating design standards. CAMBA’s developments bring over a half-billion dollars in public/private investment into some of New York City’s most impoverished neighborhoods, bringing much–needed affordable housing, jobs and social services.
CAMBA provides permanent housing and onsite support services to more than 1,100 formerly homeless families and adults, including those struggling with mental illness or HIV/AIDS, at 18 residences throughout New York City. Through financial literacy, healthcare, access to employment, education/job training, independent living skills, and support groups, we help people who have been in and out of hospitals, jail and homeless shelters become stable and make meaningful contributions to their communities.
Q- Growing on the last 35 years of successfully helping communities, where do you see the organisation in the next 30 years?
CAMBA has been growing and responding to change for 38 years. And I believe that’s what we will continue to do – expanding our role in community based health care, creating and preserving safe and affordable housing for New Yorkers in needs, and helping the next generation of young people break the cycle of poverty and gain the skills they need to succeed in education, careers and families. We will continue lift up communities where the needs are more dire by taking a holistic approach to individuals, families and neighborhoods. And I hope I am around to see it!
For further information on CAMBA please visit http://www.camba.org
I’m looking forward to another exciting period working on exhibitions and broader community related projects. Moreover, I’m both happy and privileged to be working with some talented, dedicated and inspiring people. One of the things I’m looking forward to is another exhibition at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery in Manhattan’s Chelsea district which is always buzzing with some truly amazing art exhibitions and talks. This year I will be donating 10% of any artwork sold to CAMBA, a non-profit agency that connects people with opportunities to enhance their quality of life.
CAMBA offers more than 150 integrated services and programs in economic development, education and youth development, family support, health, housing and legal services. CAMBA Housing Ventures builds sustainable and affordable apartments for low-income New Yorkers.
CAMBA serves more than 45,000 individuals and families, including 9,000 youth, each year. They help people with low incomes; those moving from welfare to work; people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or transitioning out of homelessness; individuals living with or at risk of HIV/AIDS; immigrants and refugees; children and young adults; entrepreneurs and other groups working to become self-sufficient. The majority of CAMBA’s clients live, work and/or attend school in Brooklyn.
Further details to come!
Wishing you all a great weekend!
Over the last few weeks I’ve been making a few revisions to my website. A selection of limited edition prints and cards are now available to purchase online through PayPal. 10% of any purchase price will be donated to the following UK or US registered charities. Keep an eye out as there may be one or two added shortly.
Charities in the United Kingdom
The ACLT (African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust) was founded in 1996 by Beverley De-Gale OBE and Orin Lewis OBE, parents of former leukaemia sufferer Daniel De-Gale. The charity raises awareness about leukaemia and related blood cancers/disorders and promotes bone marrow, blood and organ donation; especially among minority ethnic groups in the UK. ACLT offers practical and emotional support to patients and their families while recruiting potential lifesaving donors.
Kids Company was founded in 1996 providing practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children.
Services reach 36,000 and intensively support 18,000 children across London, including the most deprived and at risk whose parents are unable to care for them due to their own practical and emotional challenges. For many, the roles of adult and child are reversed and, despite profound love, both struggle to survive.
These exceptionally vulnerable children not only negotiate significant challenges in their family homes, they also face immense threat within their neighbourhoods. Often they are exposed to relentless violence, some are forced into working as drug couriers or prostitutes, and many experience chronic abuse.
Kids Company provides a safe, caring, family environment where support is tailored to the needs of each individual. The charities services and support empower children who have experienced enormous challenges to lead positive and fulfilling lives. Despite great difficulties, the children we work with are hugely courageous and embrace the support we offer.
In 2007 Kids Company was awarded the Liberty and JUSTICE Human Rights Award. In 2010 we were selected as a ‘Child Poverty Champion’ by the End Child Poverty project for our success in enabling children to achieve their full potential.
The Stroke Association provides high quality, up-to-date stroke information for stroke patients, their families and carers. Every year an estimated 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke. That’s one person every five minutes. One in six people will have a stroke in their lifetime. Most people affected are over 65, but anyone can have a stroke, including children and even babies. It is the country’s third biggest killer, kills more women than breast cancer and remains the single biggest cause for adult disability. Stroke changes lives. It can have a huge effect on you and your family. You will most likely want to know as much as you can about what practical, emotional and financial support is available.
Charities in the United States
Camba is a nonprofit organization that provides services that connect people with opportunities to enhance their quality of life. CAMBA has responded to the needs of communities by creating individualized service-oriented programming since 1977. Today their programmes annually serve over 45,000 individuals and families—including 8,000 youth—in the following areas: Economic Development, Education and Youth Development, Family Support Services, HIV/AIDS Services, Housing Services and Development and Legal Services.
For further information please visit my online shop. Wishing you all well.