Meets pressing community needs by mobilizing caring New Yorkers in volunteer service.

Our Story

Since our founding in 1987, we've been committed to meeting pressing needs by engaging caring New Yorkers in volunteer service.

Sepia colored collage of historic photos from New York Cares projects the last 30 years.

The Background

In 1987, a group of friends became frustrated trying to volunteer. Calling places to find opportunities was slow. It was a challenge both for volunteers and the nonprofits that needed help. The answer? A centralized way of recruiting, training, and placing volunteers. And so, New York Cares was born!

Since then, we've gone on to inspire hundreds of similar organizations across the country. Starting small with a few staff members, we’re now a seasoned nonprofit with 33 years of experience managing volunteers. 

Where We Are Now

Like many New Yorkers, you might know us from our annual Coat Drive (which we’ve run for 31 years). Maybe you’ve seen the iconic image of the Statue of Liberty shivering, and even donated a coat. Still, it might surprise you to know that we run programs year-round, addressing issues like hunger, homelessness, educational inequity, and the environment.

Our volunteers serve in schools, soup kitchens, senior centers, public parks, libraries, and other nonprofits. We provide volunteer projects in all five boroughs, designed to suit your schedule and your interests.

Adapting to Shifting Circumstances

Our flexible approach to volunteering means we can change with the times. From 9/11 to Hurricane Sandy to COVID-19, we’ve been able to engage volunteers and quickly send them where they’re needed most. Learn more about our programs and how to become a volunteer.

New York Cares by the Numbers

•    Last year, over 50,000 volunteers served over 475,000 New Yorkers.
•    Our small staff supervises about 1,600 volunteer projects each month. 
•    We work with over 1,100 nonprofits, schools, and government agencies at locations around NYC. 
•    New York Cares receives generous funding from individuals (38%), foundations and corporations (58%), and government sources (4%).