Helping Those in Need

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By Ketrin Agustine

Helping Those in Need

The Times’s century-old charity fund has a new name.

Last year, Tyhran Khosrovian and Olena Holeha survived the siege of Mariupol. They fled Ukraine, as millions have since the war began, and became refugees in the United States. After arriving in Brooklyn, they slept on a leaky air mattress in an apartment they shared with Khosrovian’s family.

A grant from Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, a beneficiary of The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, helped them buy furniture, including bed frames and mattresses for the entire household.

For more than a century, The Times has encouraged readers to donate to charities in New York and beyond through its charity fund, called the Neediest Cases. The endeavor combines journalism and the spirit of giving to tell the stories of families in need.

Recently, though, the “Neediest” name had begun to feel outdated. Times journalists complained. One aid organization avoided using the name, calling it “The New York Times Fund” instead.

So when my colleague Nicholas Kristof proposed recently that the fund’s journalism leave the newsroom and move to the Opinion pages, the new home offered an opportunity for a new name: The New York Times Communities Fund.

Nick, who for 15 years has written a “giving” column to connect readers with various charities, said his recommendations had initially raised questions from The Times, which worried whether highlighting specific charities was appropriate.

“Readers really welcomed it because they want to help but they don’t always really know how to,” Nick told me. “Journalism is evolving. Hopefully we’re getting better at what we do. The Communities Fund is one more step in that evolution.”

The program got its start in 1912, when The Times’s publisher, Adolph Ochs, sent a reporter to cover New York City’s “neediest cases” and connect readers with the stories of the poor. Soon it expanded to collect donations from readers and distribute the money to aid groups, including Catholic Charities, which has been a beneficiary of the fund for over a century.

Each year, journalists like my colleague John Otis, the fund’s onetime lead reporter, would interview people whom the fund had supported.

“I really wanted to help tell these kinds of stories, about everyday people struggling to stay afloat despite daunting, sometimes unimaginable circumstances,” John told me. “Subjects put themselves in very vulnerable positions. They poured their hearts out.”

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, and if you’re looking for somewhere to donate, the Communities Fund has begun its holiday drive. Nick’s giving column also has recommendations for specific charities.

If you’re able to give, thank you.

For more: Read Vox’s explanation of the history behind Giving Tuesday.

Hostages arriving at an Israeli hospital.Amit Elkayam for The New York Times
  • Hamas released 17 more hostages, including one American — 4-year-old Avigail Idan.

  • “I felt like I was dreaming”: Read the story of a Palestinian man whose 17-year-old son was released from an Israeli prison as part of the exchange.

  • Hamas also freed a Russian hostage, saying it was a gesture of appreciation for Russian support of the Palestinian cause.

  • The cease-fire is set to end after today. But both Israel and Hamas have said they would be open to extending it to continue exchanging captives.

  • A hundred aid trucks reached northern Gaza, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. An Egyptian official said Israel had blocked trucks from heading north on Saturday until Egypt and Qatar intervened.

  • A top Hamas commander, who led its fighters in northern Gaza, was killed, both sides said. Israel added that it had killed the commander before the cease-fire.

  • Three college students of Palestinian descent were shot and wounded in Burlington, Vt. The police are investigating the attack as a possible hate crime.

  • The U.S. Navy stopped the hijacking of a commercial cargo ship by five pirates in the Gulf of Aden. Officials are investigating if Iran was involved.

  • President Biden will skip the U.N. climate summit in Dubai this week. Many other world leaders, including King Charles III and Pope Francis, plan to go.

  • Virtually every poll shows a close race between Biden and Donald Trump among young voters. Democrats should take that seriously or risk losing their usual advantage, Nate Cohn writes.

  • Ahead of the Iowa caucuses, Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley’s campaigns are jostling to position their candidates as the singular alternative to Trump.

  • For a year, New York allowed people to file sex-abuse lawsuits beyond the statute of limitations. The last days of the one-time window brought a flurry of cases against institutions, politicians and other high-profile figures.

On patrol.Ulet Ifansasti for The New York Times
  • Female rangers in Indonesia, charged with protecting forests, are taking a nonconfrontational approach to trespassers.

  • Russian women are protesting the Kremlin’s argument that mobilized troops are needed in combat in Ukraine indefinitely.

  • Groundwater levels are dwindling across the U.S. as a result of overpumping, exacerbated by climate change. Some businesses and landowners are fighting conservation efforts.

  • The teachers’ union in Portland, Ore., reached a tentative deal with the public school district, ending a three-week strike.

  • Ecologists are using the unequal distribution of birds and other species in cities to trace the legacy and impact of bigoted urban policies.

  • Google uses A.I.-powered systems to search for child abuse content. The scanning process can sometimes label innocent parents as child abusers and upend their digital lives.

Many young Chinese women are rejecting sexist propaganda about childbirth and marriage — a problem for the Communist Party, Leta Hong Fincher writes.

To fix our fraying social and political health, children need to be taught how to hear and be heard, John Bowe, a speech and presentation expert, argues.

Gail Collins and Bret Stephens discuss immigration and the economy.

In Lomé, Togo. Yagazie Emezi for The New York Times

“They need to talk”: Counseling services are rare or hard to reach in some West and Central African cities. Hairdressers are helping fill the gap.

Breaking free at 10 m.p.h.: In an Atlanta suburb, golf carts give teenagers a taste of independence.

“Paju Book City”: A satellite of Seoul is home to around 900 literary businesses.

Roman holidays: Europe is becoming a popular backdrop for Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies.

Love on Duolingo: Single people are meeting potential partners on apps not built for dating, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Metropolitan Diary: Tears by the tamales.

Lives Lived: Marty Krofft was born into a family of puppeteers. He and his brother Sid turned it into a show-business dynasty, creating fantastical TV shows including “Land of the Lost” and the trippy children’s program “H.R. Pufnstuf.” He died at 86.

N.F.L.: The Baltimore Ravens won their sixth game in seven contests with a 20-10 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. Read takeaways from Week 12.

Soccer: Manchester United beat Everton, 3-0. One of those goals was an overhead kick by Alejandro Garnacho that sparked debate over whether it could be the league’s best ever.

College football: Texas A&M is expected to hire Duke’s Mike Elko as its next head coach.

On the left is a blank; on the right is a dummy round.Alex Welsh for The New York Times

A Hollywood gun debate: In the two years since the cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot on the set of the movie “Rust,” filmmakers are split over whether movies and TV shows should use real guns, which are often loaded with dummy rounds or blanks. Some productions now rely on special effects to make prop guns more realistic, while others continue to use real firearms, arguing that the “Rust” tragedy was an anomaly.

  • The Irish writer Paul Lynch won this year’s Booker Prize for “Prophet Song,” a novel about a near-future Ireland’s descent into totalitarianism and civil war.

  • “Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé,” which chronicles her recent world tour, pulls back the curtain on a private superstar. Read takeaways from the premiere.

Wirecutter Staff

It’s Cyber Monday, and we’re using this section today to highlight recommendations from Wirecutter:

Follow live coverage of the best Cyber Monday deals.

Wear an exponentially better bra.

Peruse these great gifts under $50.

Spruce up your kitchen with these (on-sale) Wirecutter picks.

Lose the back-seat driver with a sturdy car mount.

Upgrade your mattress.

Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangrams were alright and arthralgia.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku and Connections.


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