Message from the CEO
Dear friends,

We are approaching the mid-year mark and the official start of the summer, which provides a good opportunity to take stock of the past six months, make plans for the ones ahead, and celebrate the longer, sunny days by spending some much-needed time outside. On one hand, it is truly energizing to see our City and our communities springing back to life and reclaiming the public space. We saw this most recently at our 35th Annual Loisaida Festival, during which The Loisaida Center and Acacia Network took back Avenue C in the Lower East Side to bring a full day of arts, culture, and community pride to 18,000+ visitors of all ages. My heart sang with joy as I witnessed so many coming together again to celebrate life and unity!

And speaking of unity, during the month of June we also kick off Pride Month. Acacia Network is proud to work with our internal and external stakeholders to drive strategic initiatives that support gender diversity and promote greater equity and inclusion inside and outside the organization.

And while we should certainly rejoice in these moments and milestones, we must also reflect on the tragic events that have taken place over recent weeks in our city, our state and across the nation. During times like these, we believe it’s imperative that we recognize the resilience of our communities to overcome tragedy and generational trauma to rise, push forward, recover, and thrive.

At Acacia Network, we believe that we must capitalize on our collective strengths to effect lasting change, and that change starts at the community level. We are more committed than ever to working within and beyond our neighborhoods to spearhead initiatives that drive recovery, transform lives, and build futures. But we need you, our friends, partners, and supporters. It takes all of us to build community. 

¡Contamos con ustedes! We're counting on you.
Lymaris Albors
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
P.S. Please join us on Thursday, June 16th from 8:30-11:00AM at our Julio Martinez Memorial Fund (JMMF) Breakfast, during which you will hear from our agency partners, elected officials, our leadership, and some of the program participants whose lives have been transformed thanks to our integrated programs.

Also, we are thrilled to announce that Acacia Network will once again sponsor and participate in the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. Please join us as we celebrate Puerto Rican pride in the Bronx on Sunday, June 12, 2022. We look forward to seeing you there!
A Prom for the Ages
On Friday, May 20th, 2022, Acacia Network and its Institute for the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly (IPRHE) Older Adults Centers celebrated their first annual “Senior Prom”. The event, which took place the Saint Vartan Church on 34th Street & Second Avenue in Manhattan, brought together more than 400 older adults ages 60+ from around New York City to celebrate in-person with their peers and partners.

Our “Senior Prom” provided a much-needed opportunity for older adults to socialize in person after two years of increased isolation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a joyous occasion, which included music, food, activities, raffles, and entertainment.

Thank you to our older adults, staff, leadership, and community partners for attending. Special thanks to the NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA) for their ongoing support and to our sponsors for making this event possible! CLICK HERE to browse the event photo album (photos by: Argenis Apolinario). To get the full scoop on this event, read this in-depth story by El Diario or watch this clip from PIX11.

As we kick off the summer, we are excited to continue providing opportunities for in-person arts engagement and cultural programming for older adults at our Centers, including our upcoming Arts & Wellness Series featuring music and poetry. CLICK HERE for more details on these events!
Loisaida Festival Took Back the Streets
On Sunday, May 29, 2022, Acacia Network was proud to join The Loisaida, Inc. Center, partners, and community members to celebrate the 35th Annual Loisaida Festival along Avenue C in Manhattan, between 5th and 12th Streets. The annual Loisaida Festival, which had been held virtually for the past two years during the COVID-19 pandemic, came back in full swing to celebrate the diversity, culture, and resilience of the Lower East Side and New York’s immigrant communities.

Attendees enjoyed live music that included salsa, bomba, plena, guaracha, and fusion sounds. Bands performing on the main stage included Kinto Zonó, Amigos de la Cultura, Son del Monte, El Hijo de Borikén, and Lulada Club. At 9th Street in the Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez, attendees enjoyed family-friendly programming and music performances, including Circo Café con Gloria, Jeannie Sol, and a show sponsored by Oasis Latino LGBTS Wellness Center and the Latino Commission on AIDS.

The monumental street event featured a wide array of vendors, artisans, community groups, nonprofits, and partners providing resources along several blocks. Acacia Network and La Casa de Salud were also onsite providing COVID-19 testing and vaccines, and other health resources.

Get the scoop! CLICK HERE to browse all media coverage of the event.
ACDP Community Fair at MS117 Beacon Program
On Saturday, May 21st, the education & youth development team at our affiliate, the Community Association of Progressive Dominicans (ACDP) hosted their Annual Community Fair at the MS 117 Beacon Program, located at 1865 Morris Ave, Bronx, NY 10453.

The Community Fair at MS117 was a complete success, with more than 325 individuals and families in attendance and great representation from local partners, government agencies, CBOs, and Acacia Network programs. Attendees enjoyed a wide array of activities and programming including a bouncy house, games, cotton candy, and popcorn, while learning more about available resources in the community, getting connected with support services, and receiving emergency food from Food Bank.

The ACDP Beacon Program is open to all community residents and offers services such as Computer Classes, ESL, Afterschool Programming, Summer Day Camp, Sports & Recreation, and much more, including Job Readiness, Career Awareness and Youth Leadership programs.
Love and Recovery: A Journey Home to Africa
Salimata Sore, a Ghanaian immigrant who moved to New York City with her family in search of urgent medical attention for her sick child, arrived at Acacia Network’s Wales Family Residence in 2016 with her husband and son. At the time, they were homeless and seeking shelter, and were also in need of legal assistance and extensive medical services for her fragile son, Mohamed.

With help from Acacia Network Housing (ANH) staff, Salimata and her son were referred to our Ramon Velez Health Center to receive integrated primary care services, and were provided additional social services, case management, and referrals to obtain the critical resources they needed, including help with their visas, additional medical services, and support when Salimata’s husband abandoned the family. Mohamed was connected with the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and received the treatment he needed, including two bone marrow transplants. Shortly after Mohamed's journey to recovery, Salimata was diagnosed with stage 1 cervical cancer and, after receiving intensive treatment and undergoing several procedures, was able to recover as well.

Despite the time spent in the United States, Salimata’s dream had always been to reunite with her family in Africa. After exploring options, Acacia Network Housing staff began working to make her dream possible and provided support to obtain medical clearances and vaccinations (including COVID-19 and yellow fever), visa extensions, and more.

In April 2022, after six years of living at our Wales Family Residence, Salimata and her son were able to return to Africa with support from Acacia and Project Reconnect. Our housing team escorted them to John F. Kennedy International Airport, where they boarded a 10+ hour flight to Ghana. It was an emotional and bittersweet day for Wales Family Residence staff but, in the end, they knew a labor of love had been completed. We wish Salimata and Mohamed the very best in the next steps of their journey!
EBOF Announces Lottery for One East Harlem
Acacia Network's newest affiliate, El Barrio's Operation Fightback, Inc. (EBOF), is a housing and economic development organization that has been based in East Harlem for over 30 years. They are proud to be a community partner in One East Harlem, a 19-story building located at 201 East 125th Street, developed by Richman Group Development, Bridges Development Group, and Monadnock Development, with EBOF and Hope Community Inc. as nonprofit partners.

One East Harlem features over 400 units of housing (268 of which are affordable units), a grocery store, and a new home for the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute. Qualifying New Yorkers can apply for affordable housing on HOUSING CONNECT until August 1, 2022. Apply today!
El Barrio's Operation Fightback (EBOF)
El Barrio's Operation Fightback, Inc. (EBOF) in East Harlem operates a FREE Certified Home Health Aide program in English and Spanish that trains hundreds of individuals every year and helps them find employment.

EBOF recently celebrated a graduation for a class of 9 students who successfully completed the Spanish Home Health Aide course. Congrats to the graduates and best wishes in your careers!
Seedco Receives Comic Relief Red Nose Day Award
Our workforce development and benefits access affiliate, the Structured Employment Economic Development Corporation (Seedco), is proud to announce that they have received a Comic Relief / Red Nose Day Award to support and expand their healthcare enrollment services to cover ten additional counties across West Tennessee, thus carrying much-needed services to some of the most rural communities in the region. 

Leveraging its longstanding experience and partnerships to conduct outreach and enroll low-income families into Medicare and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in western Tennessee, Seedco will continue to concentrate its efforts on serving underserved Black and Latino populations, with a focus on reaching undocumented Latino families. 

Seedco has deep experience in providing benefits screening and enrollment, workforce development, and case management services to high-need populations. It has provided services in the Mid-South Region for over 16 years and has over 200 community relationships that foster engagement and connectivity, including partnerships with local healthcare agencies, churches, social service organizations, employers, schools, and government agencies. Additionally, Seedco has been operating this program since 2019 and has much of the program infrastructure in place to grow, including experienced staff and strong partnerships. We look forward to expanding our critical work in this area and thank Comic Relief Red Nose Day for the support to make this happen!
Ramón Vélez Health Center Expansion
Acacia Network and our primary care arm, La Casa de Salud, are proud to continue expanding our footprint in the Bronx by increasing access to high-quality integrated health care resources for underserved individuals of all ages. Most recently, we finished an ambitious expansion and improvements project at our Ramon Velez Health Center, a federally qualified health center (FQHC) located at 754 E 151st Street in the South Bronx.

As part of this project, we developed a new, state-of-the-art pediatrics wing with carefully curated design elements that promote environmental education and conservation, while providing a trauma-informed environment that inspires wellness and tranquility. The new pediatric floor is open and accepting new patients! Plus, we will soon open our expanded Women's Health wing, which will feature OB/GYN services.

With the expansion of our Pediatric and Women's Health wings, we will increase our capacity to serve as a one-stop health destination for children, teens, and women in need of comprehensive primary, specialty, and preventive care.

Learn more! CLICK HERE to download our new pediatric services flyer.
Published Paper on our PIPBHC Program
Through the Promoting Integration of Primary & Behavioral Health Care (PIPBHC) program funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Acacia Network offers enhanced service integration and referrals to clients at our Carlos Pagan Recovery Center in Brooklyn. We serve individuals in substance use recovery who also live with a chronic physical or mental health condition.

The program provides in-person and telehealth services such as: Peer Support; Health Education; Wellness Events & Monthly Health Promotions; Care Coordination & Referrals; Benefits & Resource Navigation, and Linkage to Primary Care & Mental Health Services. In addition, we continue to expand access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) by establishing an agency-wide MAT task force to expand education and opportunities for clients to receive MAT services outside of methadone, such as Suboxone and Vivitrol.

We are proud to announce that members of our team, including our Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Collymore, our Chief Program Officer Yaberci Pérez-Cubillán, and our Senior Administrator of OTP Programs Keith Martin, published a paper about the PIPBHC program in the journal Substance Use and Misuse, titled "Identifying the Physical and Mental Healthcare Needs of Opioid Treatment Program Clients". CLICK HERE to read the paper!
Acacia Network Upstate New York Affiliates
Capital District LATINOS (CDL) – Albany

With funding from the Hispanic Federation’s NYS COVID-19 Vaccine & Distribution Initiative and the New York State Department of Health, Capital District LATINOS (CDL) in Albany increased the impact of our services beyond the City of Albany while continuing to focus our education and vaccination efforts amongst underserved Latinos and undocumented immigrants. During this period, CDL was able to engage 4,618 individuals, conduct 19 vaccination clinics, vaccinate 848 individuals, provide 389 engagement sessions, and assist 556 individuals with further case management services.

During the outreach initiatives, clients shared their needs for jobs, food, housing, health insurance, and much more. Therefore, CDL’s work not only focused on increasing the number of vaccinated individuals, but on connecting them to the additional services they required, which is further proof of the existing need for culturally responsive services and the importance of removing barriers to access. CDL’s efforts were highlighted in a NYS Department of Health press release during Minority Health Month, in recognition of its outstanding efforts. CLICK HERE to read more. 

Further, Capital District LATINOS was honored by the visit of the Conductor of Albany Pro Musica, Maestro José Daniel Flores-Caraballo to the Cultural Empowerment and Community Engagement Center during the month of May. A master organist, he accepted our invitation to tour the Center and play the former church’s magnificent pipe organ.
Hispanos Unidos de Buffalo (HUB) – Buffalo 

Our affiliate in Buffalo, Hispanos Unidos de Buffalo (HUB), was rocked by the recent mass shooting at a local supermarket that claimed the lives of 10 community members. As an organization with deep roots in Buffalo, HUB immediately sprang to action in order to serve the community and extend a helping hand –from providing emergency food from their food pantry to anyone impacted by this crisis, to providing mental health and referrals through their Alba de Vida clinic. In the words of our VP of Upstate Operations & Executive Director of HUB, Eugenio “Geno” Russi: “This tragedy only made our community come closer.”

Meanwhile, HUB is also preparing for the upcoming opening of La Plaza de Virginia, a $17.1 million 46-unit mixed-use affordable housing development serving low-income seniors ages 55 and older. All 46 one-bedroom apartments will serve households with incomes at or below 60% of the area median income (AMI), with 14 Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) units set aside for formerly homeless seniors at or below 30% AMI, who will receive supportive services to assist them in transitioning into congregate housing and achieving housing stability. Project completion is expected by the late summer/fall of 2022. Stay tuned for details on the upcoming ribbon-cutting ceremony.
La Liga – Syracuse

In January 2022, Acacia Network was invited by the Tufts University chapter of 180 Degrees Consulting to potentially participate in a 12-week, pro bono consulting project, as we had successfully completed a similar engagement with the 180 Degrees Consulting / NYU Chapter, focusing on one of our other affiliates, the Community Association of Progressive Dominicans (ACDP). Acacia extended the opportunity to its affiliate in Syracuse, La Liga, as a means to support its strategic growth plans.

The semester-long engagement between La Liga and 180DC-Tufts kicked off in February and focused on La Liga’s Language Services Program to conduct a Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat (SWOT) Analysis and provide recommendations on language expansion and telehealth. We recently celebrated the final meeting and received all deliverables from the project team, including the SWOT analysis, competitor analysis, language demographics data, telehealth model examples, grant leads, and potential clients. Kudos to La Liga and 180DC-Tufts for a successful project completion!

In addition, La Liga is proud to have completed the renovation and rent-up of six beautiful affordable housing units above its headquarters. These apartments provide much-needed housing in an underserved, heavily Latino community in great need.
Bringing Health & Housing to Underserved Communities
A promise is a promise or, as we say in Spanish: “Lo prometido es deuda”. When Acacia Network President Raul Russi and our CEO Lymaris Albors embarked on humanitarian efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017, Raul made a promise to develop 100% resilient housing that would be suitable for disaster-prone areas and developed a rough sketch of his vision (pictured above). After identifying local partners and key stakeholders –including the Municipality of Caguas, Marvel Architects, and EcoBuilders LLC, among others– Acacia Network got to work.

Today, that vision has been realized and a promise has been fulfilled. The Acacia Network Resilient Home Prototype Project was completed, with two resilient houses built and granted to the Municipality of Caguas, soon to be occupied by two families who lost their homes during Hurricane Maria. CLICK HERE for more info.

In addition, Acacia Network is proud to have recently concluded its most recent cycle of FERIARTE Health Fairs in Puerto Rico, through which we visited underserved communities around the island to bring a wide range of health, community, and cultural resources, with support from the UnidosUS Esperanza Hope for All Program. To learn more about FERIARTE and our efforts in Puerto Rico, CLICK HERE!
Julio Martínez Memorial Fund Breakfast
Thursday, June 16, 2022
New York Botanical Garden

Acacia Network Annual Gala
Thursday, October 6, 2022
New York Hilton Midtown
It's never too early to mark your calendars! Please save the date for our 2022 fundraisers, which support our health, housing, social services, and youth development initiatives... and so much more!
About Acacia Network
Acacia Network is one of the largest Latino-led nonprofits in the nation, serving more than 150,000 individuals annually through integrated, trauma-informed programs in the areas of health, housing, social services, economic development, and cultural revitalization. Our Network comprises more than 100 affiliates and related entities across four boroughs in New York City, Buffalo, Albany, Syracuse, and Dunkirk in New York State, as well as Maryland, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, Connecticut, and Puerto Rico. For more info, visit: