People for People Fund, helping area residents for nearly 40 years

Goshen. The fund aims to help those who work but get hit with unexpected expenses.

Goshen /
| 26 Jun 2024 | 11:48

Since January of 1986, the People for People Fund has allocated over $5 million in one-time grants to steadily employed individuals who have been able to financially support themselves until an unexpected event changed their circumstances.

“We are primarily focused on those who are working and self-sufficient who find themselves faced with a sudden emergency,” said People for People Executive Director Marsi Clark. “Sometimes people are referred to us through a utility company or various agencies or they reach out to us directly.”

Established in 1985 as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation by the Times Herald-Record and the Junior League of Orange County, the fund is staffed by volunteers who serve residents in Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties in New York and portions of Pike County in Pennsylvania who are self-supporting with a steady employment history who have experienced a recent and unexpected event causing a temporary financial hardship after exploring other avenues of financial relief.

The idea is that a one-time grant should help resolve the problem.

One such example involves Jason, a Hudson Valley resident who is not only gainfully employed, but is a single father of eight children ranging in age from five to 21. He supports four of them fulltime.

“Things in New York are expensive, and I never had any type of inheritance but make a good wage,” he said. “Recently, there was a snowball effect with several things, such as my vehicle needing an emergency brake repair, which was a couple thousand dollars. The rent was due and food costs were high and I reached a point where I had to shut down internet to the house and cut as much as I could out of my life financially. It still wasn’t enough. Insurance came due, I had a propane bill that was overdue after a winter of heating costs. I was broke. What I bring in just wasn’t enough to cover this tsunami of bills that came my way.”

That is when one of Jason’s friends mentioned that the People for People Fund assisted her when she was out sick from work and couldn’t pay her rent.

Within 10 days of his first contact with the organization in March, his application was approved for a partial payment on a car insurance bill as well as the overdue propane bill.

“That was the first time I accepted any help because I have always felt that it is important to pay my way for myself and the children,” Jason said. “In the past, there have been offers to make less money to be eligible for food stamps and other services. People for People plugged the hole because without car insurance I can’t get to work.”

Last year, the fund assisted 165 applicants to the tune of $90,000.

As for Jason, things are looking up.

“Everything is mostly okay,” he said. “There are not a whole lot of savings but there is food in the house and the bills are mostly getting paid on time.”

For more about the People for People Fund, visit