All New Yorkers should learn about and support an amazing charity called The Doe Fund. This organization helps people every day through programs providing paid work, workforce development, job placement, transitional, supportive and permanent housing, drug testing and counseling, as well as comprehensive social and educational services. Last week, over 500 of New York’s most influential business and philanthropic community members joined The Doe Fund at Cipriani 42nd Street to celebrate the return to self-sufficiency by thousands of formerly homeless New Yorkers.
The Doe Fund is best known for their award-winning program Ready, Willing & Able, which keeps more than 150 miles of New York City clean as part of a transitional employment program for formerly homeless and incarcerated men. The elegant evening turned emotional as two Doe Fund members — one current, one graduate, spoke to attendees about the support they received from The Doe Fund and how it changed their lives. Program graduate Terrrance Coffie and Ready, Willing & Able CORE trainee Devon Green both spoke with eloquence, emotion and passion. The evening also marked the premiere of Work Works, a documentary created by renowned film company Grand Street Media. The documentary featured The Doe Fund’s trainees and graduates speaking about the successes of The Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing & Able program in their own words.
Many big name celebrities also stood behind The Doe Fund last week including Governor Andrew Cuomo, Carrie Preston, Dascha Polanco, Derek Warburton, Jessica White, Zineb Oukach, Selenis Leyva, Steve & Wendy Madden, among others. We spoke with some about why they support The Doe Fund. Stylist Derek Warburton said, “I have a program for homeless women. And it makes sense for me to support the guys, too. I was homeless growing up, so for me — especially now, with young kids getting thrown out of foster care at 18 — I know that life story, very well. It was really important for me to give back to the community. It’s a great organization; I love them.”
We also chatted with Orange is the New Black‘s Dascha Polanco, who stated, “Being involved in a show about prison, I spoke to my publicists about getting involved in a charity that helps people who were incarcerated. The Doe Fund is so great and people need to know about it. People need to learn about what they do, in the event that they fall into a situation where The Doe Fund can help. It makes me really proud that humanity is helping these individuals. These men get housing, education, they start looking forward to a new life. It makes me proud to be involved in something like this.”
Last but not least, we briefly spoke with True Blood‘s Carrie Preston. She said, “I hadn’t really heard much about The Doe Fund, honestly, and then they approached me to attend the event. I started looking into them and I was like, ‘of course,’ I see all the men in blue out on the streets in the city. I hadn’t put together that it was The Doe Fund giving them all these opportunities. I see these men all the time and they are definitely making our city cleaner and The Doe Fund is allowing them to make other choices in their life.”