We seek to help people at a critical moment with a need triggered by an emergency. Our hope is that this assistance will make a difference in someone’s life with lasting impact.

The primary way that we offer assistance is by making grants to social service and other organizations (including colleges), whose staff then applies strict criteria and distributes grants averaging approximately $1,000. It is important that the organizations that receive our grant offer additional support services.

We focus on programs that work directly with individuals one-on-one. The majority of our Helping Hands grants go toward rent, particularly needed in the primary areas where we fund – New York City, Boston, and Palm Beach County – where there is not enough affordable housing. We also help with expenses such as utilities, transportation, moving, furniture, or clothing that an individual is temporarily unable to pay for because of an unexpected hardship.

We may make a limited number of grants to programs that connect individuals to additional community resources.

Our Grantees


Major Helping Hands Grants


Grants listed below may be from the Gerstner Family Foundation or another Gerstner family philanthropic vehicle. Amounts may reflect cumulative annual grants or multi-year grants. To see annual amounts, please see listings of grants paid each year.

  • Adopt-A-Family

    Lake Worth, FL | Visit Website

    To support the Housing Stabilization Program.

    $1,962,500

  • The Bridge Fund of New York

    New York and Westchester, NY | Visit Website

    To support the emergency cash grant/loan program to prevent homelessness in New York, NY.

    $1,962,500


    To support the emergency cash grant/loan program to prevent homelessness in Westchester County, NY.

    $632,500

  • Coalition for the Homeless

    New York, NY | Visit Website

    To support the emergency cash grant program.

    $970,000


    To support the First Step Job Training Program.

    $225,000

  • FamilyAid Boston

    Boston, MA | Visit Website

    To support the emergency cash grant program.

    $1,200,000


    To support the holiday meals program.

    $12,240

  • The Havens Relief Fund Society

    New York, NY | Visit Website

    To support the emergency cash grant program.

    $2,050,000

  • Safe Horizon

    New York, NY | Visit Website

    To fund the Emergency Client Assistance Program.

    $2,308,750


    To support the Child Advocacy Centers.

    $10,000

  • Sanctuary for Families

    New York, NY | Visit Website

    To support the emergency cash grant program.

    $955,000


    To support the Economic Empowerment Program.

    $225,000

  • SUNY Student Emergency Funds

    New York State

    To support student emergency funds at several colleges and universities across New York State.

    $934,732

  • United Neighborhood Houses

    New York, NY | Visit Website

    To support the eviction prevention program across sixteen settlement houses. For a list of participating settlement houses and their websites, please click 'View Website' above.

    $2,040,625

Stories

Mira is a disabled mother of one. She received disability payments while her partner worked two jobs. When her partner was laid off at his primary job, the family was unable to make their rent payments. They were on the verge of being evicted before they received a Gerstner Helping Hands grant for $1,200 in December 2019. Thanks to this grant, they were able to stay in their home and have not fallen behind on rent payments again. One year later, Mira reports that her partner started a new job and has been able to stay employed throughout the pandemic


FamilyAid Boston

Helping Hands News