Message from the CEO

Dear friends,

February is upon us. And already a month into the new year, as we kick off Black History Month, we have collectively watched in horror as news came to light of the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, a young Black man who was horrifically brutalized by local police officers in Memphis, Tennessee during an alleged traffic stop. The recently released footage not only gripped the community of Memphis –and the nation at large– in anguish, but it was another reminder of how far we have yet to go in our collective efforts to protect Black lives in this country. 

Acacia Network and our affiliate in Tennessee, Seedco, have been monitoring the situation and checking in with our regional staff on a daily basis. While we are relieved to know that our employees in Memphis are physically unharmed, we feel the pain and trauma that this tragic event has caused across the country, and especially amongst the Black community in the region. 

As a minority-founded and minority-led organization whose diverse workforce is 45% Black and 43% Hispanic, we are called to do more internally, within our own organization, and externally, within the communities we serve, to continue tackling and dismantling the barriers to equity and justice that impact the health, safety, and quality of life of those we love and those we serve. Those efforts begin at the heart of our programs, which are embedded in the poorest Congressional districts in our country, and whose communities have faced historic disinvestment and chronic marginalization.

I wish our February newsletter could have started on a celebratory note to highlight Black History Month. Instead, we begin by mourning the death of a young man in Memphis. Yet in this moment of collective pain and reflection, I believe we must take note of the lessons that Black history in America has taught us, what has been left out of the history books, and the incredible strength, tenacity, and BRILLIANCE of our fellow Black Americans. Time Magazine published a special edition a few years ago called "The Power Of Positive Thinking", which included an inspiring essay titled “Need a Lift? Read Up on Black Brilliance”. It features amazing stories and profiles of how Black excellence, in all its forms, has contributed to the fabric of our society. It says: “The history of Black excellence in America gives us a template for how to fight — and how to not be demoralized by the fight.”

This week, I have gone back to read this special edition, drawing solace and inspiration. And because this week marks the beginning of Black History Month, we would like to share a few stories of Black excellence across our own programs — from historical and current accounts of affiliates within our network that are either Black-founded or Black-led, to programs that have made significant contributions to communities of color and to advancing equity.

There are eleven months and approximately 330 days left in 2023. Every single one of those days is a new opportunity to make meaningful contributions in your community, to remind yourself and others of what’s important, and to effect change.

Let’s make each day count.

Lymaris Albors


In Case You Missed It:

In an opinion piece published in the Times Union, Acacia Network's CEO Lymaris Albors shares her thoughts on Governor Hochul's State of the State address, in which she revealed the State's affordable housing plan.

CLICK HERE to read the op-ed!

Behavioral Health & Addiction Services

J-CAP, Serving Jamaica, Queens Since 1971

Like the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 90s, the crack epidemic of the 80s, and the heroin crisis of the 70s, it is no secret that the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing opioid epidemic have disproportionately impacted communities of color. 

In areas like Jamaica, Queens, a close-knit community that is predominantly African American, the impact of these multiple crises has had a ripple effect, ripping families apart and further weakening their social and economic fabric.

For Bryan D. White, who was raised in Jamaica and whose father co-founded an addiction treatment program that became a staple in the community, having readily available programs in which “people are serving people” is key. 

Mr. White’s father, Thomas White Jr., was a New York City Councilman before his passing and established the Jamaica Community Adolescents Program (J-CAP) in 1971 after struggling with addiction himself, becoming incarcerated, and finally achieving sobriety. Thomas White Jr. worked at the Queens Village Committee for Mental Health, which had been founded by Mr. Mel Pressman in 1968 to address the behavioral health needs in the community, inspired by his own wife’s struggles with mental illness. Mr. Pressman and Mr. White decided to combine both programs, thus giving way to the Queens Village Committee for Mental Health for J-CAP. 

During the early years, across the United States, middle-class Black neighborhoods like South Jamaica –which were already struggling as a result of systemic racism, structural inequality, chronic poverty, and pervasive health disparities– were losing generations of young people to addiction. Today the struggle continues!

“Before his passing, my father recorded that J-CAP had saved about 20,000 lives over 40 years,” says Bryan White. “Today, we still need drug preventive and treatment services in our community, which is why this program must continue to serve as a beacon of hope and recovery.”

In 2019, J-CAP became an affiliate of Acacia Network in order to preserve this important community asset and continue providing much-needed services through integrated primary care, behavioral health, and addiction services. Like other affiliates under the Acacia umbrella, J-CAP is a testament to the resiliency of our communities and to the visionary efforts carried out by pioneers of color, such as Thomas White Jr. We look forward to carrying forward this legacy so, together, we can continue saving lives.

Homeless Services

Driving Equity Through Language Access

In late 2022, Acacia Network, in partnership with our arts & culture affiliate, Loisaida Inc., launched an 8-10 week pilot program to provide access to creative engagement and language enrichment classes to newly arrived immigrants in New York City. This was part of our robust response to meet the needs of the migrant population in the City, whose numbers increased exponentially in 2022 as waves of individuals seeking asylum, many of whom hailed from Latin America, were bussed in from states such as Texas. To date, Acacia Network has served nearly 2,000 newly-arrived migrants through our transitional housing division.

Our Language and Cultural Enrichment Program –which was supported in part by Trinity Church Wall Street– engaged homeless migrants in ten (10) transitional housing sites located in the boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, The Bronx, and Brooklyn. To date, we have employed a total of 10 predominately Black, Latinx and Immigrant facilitators to provide weekly lessons at the sites, engaging a total of 69 students in arts classes and 53 students in English as a Second Language (ESL) courses.


As phase one of the program begins to culminate at some of the sites, we are proud to announce our first graduating classes! For some of the adults participating in our ESL courses, this is the first time in their lives that they’ve been enrolled in an instructional program and received a certificate of any kind.

We look forward to continuing to engage and support these families on their journeys toward stability and success. Congratulations!

Social Services & Supportive Housing

Advancing Inclusion for People with Disabilities

Under our affiliate, the East Harlem Council for Community Improvement (EHCCI), we operate Individual Residential Alternatives (IRAs) funded by the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). 

EHCCI's OPWDD-funded Certified Residential IRAs provide 24-hour services driven by a trauma-informed and client-centered approach to service individuals with developmental disabilities and support them in leading a productive life. Program services include primary care and behavioral health management, medication and symptoms management, daily living skill development, community inclusion, recreational activities and events, financial literacy, money management, and self-advocacy, among others.

The EHCCI PWDD division currently operates six (6) IRAs across three (3) sites, serving a total of 23 individuals, 94% of whom identify as Black / African American. Notably, our EHCCI PWDD workforce is comprised of 33 employees, 97% of whom identify as Black / African American.

Among other key outcomes, the EHCCI-PWDD team prides themselves in promoting true equity and inclusion amongst communities of color and individuals with disabilities. The EHCCI People with Developmental Disabilities (PWDD) programs contribute to the community by improving the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families through advocacy, empowerment, education, and prevention. 

“We work to advance and defend the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively support their full inclusion by assisting the individuals and their families with developing and forging relationships within their community and fostering their involvement in society throughout their lives.”

Primary Care

Providing Care through a Health Equity Lens

Through our primary care arm, La Casa de Salud, Acacia Network seeks to improve the health and quality of life of the communities we serve, which have historically experienced poorer health outcomes and increased rates of chronic conditions due to complex factors, many of which may stem from poverty and lack of access to critical resources. 

Our federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) are embedded in underserved communities across The Bronx and Queens, and seek to drive health equity by improving access to integrated, culturally competent care for individuals of all ages and from all walks of life, regardless of their ability to pay. 

In 2022, La Casa de Salud was able to engage more patients through key screenings in order to increase early detection of health conditions across its population. Among other outcomes, La Casa de Salud health centers increased: 

  • Cervical cancer screening from 25% in 2021 to 44% in 2022
  • Breast cancer screening from 9% to 37%
  • Colon cancer screening from 13% to 26%
  • HIV screening from 66% to 87%
  • Depression screening and follow-up from 54% to 78%
  • Childhood BMI and nutrition/physical activity from 7% to 61%
  • Tobacco screening and cessation from 69% to 84%
  • Controlled hypertension from 54% to 56%

Among other upcoming initiatives, we are excited to announce that our health centers will be rolling out a hypertension monitoring program to help patients control and manage their blood pressure. As part of this program, our physicians and care teams will provide patients a free Bluetooth blood pressure cuff to monitor their blood pressure from home.

CLICK HERE to make an appointment at one of our health centers. We also accept walk-ins. All patients are welcome! 

Youth & Community Development

Empowering Youth through STEM & Career Readiness

Our Education & Youth Development Division, operated by our affiliate, the Community Association of Progressive Dominicans (ACDP), provides integrated programming to thousands of K-12 students through our school-based, afterschool, and Cornerstone programs. Our programs promote equity through an education, community development, and economic empowerment lens by coordinating diverse initiatives that engage low-income youth and families, such as our upcoming STEM / Science Fair and our annual Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). 

ACDP’s 2nd annual youth-led STEM /Science Fair will take place next Thursday, February 23, 2023 from 1:00 – 5:00pm at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, located at 3940 Broadway and West 165th Street. 

The STEM/Science Fair serves as a culminating event for several ACDP afterschool programs, showcasing the work of 150-200 elementary and middle-school students from PS48, PS28, IS210, Beacon 328, MS243, IS254, Beacon 117, Sedwick Cornerstone Center, and Murphy Center. Through this event, we seek to broaden and celebrate our participants’ interests in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), by producing and presenting their projects.

In addition, we are excited to announce that the window to apply to our Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) will open on February 13th. SYEP is a program supported by the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD), which provides New York youth between the ages of 14-24 with paid summer employment for up to six weeks. The SYEP program provides important pathways for low-income youth to access wealth and economic equity.

Online and paper applications for SYEP will become available on February 13. CLICK HERE for details.

Arts & Culture

Arts as a Vehicle for Community Building

Our arts & culture affiliate, The Loisaida Center, is proud to kick off the new year with a sharp focus on developing stronger partnerships, and rebuilding our sense of place in an increasingly changing landscape that continues to put our vulnerable communities at risk of displacement. 

This year, Loisaida has pledged to continue supporting and promoting diverse artistic and entrepreneurial ventures, cultural research, urban ecology & education initiatives, workforce training, social and environmental justice, historical awareness and place-keeping through neighborhood-wide development activities, partnerships and collaboration.

Loisaida Inc. is also committed to redoubling its efforts to serve our super-adult community by providing cultural programs that help improve the mental & physical wellness of older adults. To start off the month, we’re excited to announce that Senior Days at Loisaida are back, to take place every first Friday of the month at 10:30am at the Loisaida Center (710 E 9th St & Ave C).

Want to relive the Loisaida experience? CLICK HERE to watch Loisaida’s 2022 Year in Review. 

Older Adults Services

Cultural Celebrations to Mark the New Year

To mark the new year, Acacia Network and our affiliate, the Institute for the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly (IPRHE), celebrated our 41st Annual Three Kings & Lunar New Year Cultural Celebration, engaging over 400 older adults during a full day of socialization with their peers, cultural performances, community resources, food, raffles, and dancing.

This annual celebration resonates deeply with constituents across our citywide Older Adult Centers, as it memorializes two important traditions for Hispanic and Asian households. It is also a testament to our longstanding mission to provide high-quality, culturally responsive programming to older adults in our neighborhoods.

The event was made possible with support from our partners at the NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA), in addition to generous sponsors and supporters.

Upstate New York

Tackling Food & Health Disparities in the Capital Region

Our Albany affiliate, Capital District LATINOS (CDL) continues to serve as a beacon of hope for underserved Latinos and other vulnerable groups in the Capital Region. In addition to ongoing community-based education and health outreach efforts, CDL operates a Culturally Responsive Food Pantry that serves fresh and nutritious groceries to address food insecurity while responding to the ethnic dietary preferences of our local communities.

On Wednesday, February 1st, CDL held a Flu & COVID-19 vaccine clinic in which they offered free vaccines to the community, in addition to access to our food pantry and other resources. A total of 61 families received groceries from our food pantry today, and many also received their COVID-19 and/or flu shots. We thank our community partners and Assemblymember John T. McDonald III for their continued support!

Support our Work

Julio Martinez Memorial Fund Breakfast

Thursday, June 15, 2023

New York Botanical Garden, Garden Terrace Room

2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458


Acacia Network Gala

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

NEW LOCATION: Ziegfeld Theatre

1341 6th Avenue, NY, NY 10105

Join the Acacia Family

Explore Careers at Acacia

We are committed to the principles of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO). Acacia Network and our affiliates do not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, ethnicity, creed, religion, age, national origin, sex, gender, gender identity and/or expression, transgender status, sexual orientation, genetic information, physical or mental disability, marital status, citizenship status, public assistance status, protected veteran status, or any other protected category.

About Acacia Network

For over 50 years, Acacia Network and our affiliates have been committed to improving the quality-of-life and wellbeing of underserved communities in New York City and beyond. We are one of the leading human services organizations in the City and the largest Hispanic-led nonprofit in the State, providing integrated, culturally-competent, and trauma-informed programs in the areas of health, housing, social services, economic development, and cultural revitalization to more than 150,000 individuals annually. Our Network comprises 100+ affiliates and related entities, with over 2,700 employees across four boroughs in New York City, Buffalo, Albany, Dunkirk, Rochester, and Syracuse in New York State, as well as Maryland, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, Connecticut, and Puerto Rico.

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