It began with a few caring New Yorkers.

In 1987, a group of friends who wanted to volunteer found themselves frustrated by the fractured nonprofit landscape, making volunteer opportunities hard to find. They wanted a centralized way to organize efforts and access communities.

And New York Cares was born.


Since then, we’ve become the largest organization of our kind—making it possible to amplify individual efforts and scale partnerships that serve communities in every borough.


Volunteer hours served


Backpacks distributed


Winter coats donated


Meals provided


Driving change with every coat drive

In 1989, we launched our inaugural annual Coat Drive – the city’s first centralized initiative to collect and distribute warm winter coats across NYC.

Every year we rally a massive network of supporters to gather, sort, and match thousands of coats to nonprofits and partners in every borough. To date, these collective efforts have kept over 2.5 million New Yorkers warm in the cold winter months.

A volunteer in a blue jacket passes a plastic grocery bag of food through an open window to an older woman

Showing up for the city in times of need

In times of crisis, New York Cares volunteers step up to support their neighbors, rebuild critical infrastructure, and help the city reemerge stronger than ever. 

Whether distributing resources after 9/11, repairing houses in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, or delivering meals during the COVID-19 lockdown, our teams have shown up on the front lines time and time again to keep New York moving.