Michael Dowling, Judith Rodin, Leecia Eve, and Kevin O’Connor also honored by national homeless service provider

Joe Biden delivers remarks at HELP USA’s 30th Anniversary Luncheon. Photo credit: Fred Pollard

New York – HELP USA, a national homeless services non-profit with a large focus on serving survivors of domestic violence, honored Vice President Joe Biden and four other civic leaders at the organization’s annual Scholarship Awards Luncheon on Thursday. This year, HELP USA awarded 30 scholarships in honor of the organization’s 30th anniversary.

Governor Andrew Cuomo presented Vice President Biden with the HELP HERO Humanitarian Award. The award recognizes Vice President Biden’s outstanding service to veterans and their families, and his long record of support for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, including the landmark Violence Against Women’s Act of 1994 and creating the first ever White House Advisor on Violence Against Women.

“The American people will forever be indebted to Vice President Joe Biden for his decades of leadership and countless contributions to our nation,” Governor Cuomo said. “Vice President Biden embodies the mission of HELP USA to empower the disadvantaged with the housing and support they need to succeed. As we celebrate 30 years of HELP USA’s extraordinary work, I am proud to honor both a friend and mentor for his tremendous accomplishments which have improved the lives of so many. I congratulate Vice President Biden on this well-deserved award, and I know working together we will continue to lift up the most vulnerable among us.”

“My father instilled in me and my siblings a basic value set: that the greatest sin is the abuse of power, the cardinal sin is a man raising his hand to a woman or a child, and everyone – and he meant everyone – was entitled to be treated with dignity and respect,” Vice President Biden said. “We have made tremendous progress in changing the culture around domestic violence and sexual assault since I wrote the Violence Against Women Act in the 1990s, but none of it would have happened without organizations like HELP USA – local community leaders and workers who figuratively and literally reach out and welcome abused women and their children. HELP USA is simply the best at what they do, and I am so honored and grateful to receive this award from them today.”

HELP USA also recognized four civic leaders for their public service and commitment to their communities: Michael J. Dowling, President and CEO of Northwell Health; Dr. Judith Rodin, former President of The Rockefeller Foundation; Leecia Eve, Verizon’s Vice President of State Government Affairs for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut; and Kevin M. O’Connor, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bridgehampton National Bank.

“Mario Cuomo was my greatest mentor and a dear friend for more than 30 years,” said Dowling. “Much of the success I have achieved in my career can be attributed to the 12 years I spent working with him. To be the recipient of an award named in his honor is a recognition that I will always cherish. I’m grateful to the entire Cuomo family for finding me worthy of this extraordinary honor.”

“It’s a huge honor to stand with Vice President Biden, who has been such a strong champion of action against domestic violence, and the other honorees.  And it is so inspiring to meet the Scholarship Fund recipients – the courageous women and men who have overcome homelessness and domestic violence and – with these grants – have achieved their educational and professional goals,” said Dr. Rodin. “In founding HELP USA Governor Cuomo has built more vibrant, healthier, and resilient communities. And, as we see today, HELP USA also fosters human resilience programs – that help people with catastrophic events in their lives, and ensure that they can bounce back and thrive.”

“As the daughter of two extraordinary public servants who taught me that we all have an obligation to improve the lives of people in our community, I am humbled to be honored by HELP USA, an organization Verizon has been proud to support for its critical assistance to survivors of domestic violence,” said Eve.

“As a community bank, BNB is committed to its role to help the most vulnerable in our cities and towns,” said O’Connor. “This has been part of our tradition for over 100 years. Today, more than ever, corporations must partner with the non-profit organizations that do the hard work and provide the vital services to our neighborhoods on a daily basis. We are very proud of our partnership with HELP USA and applaud their efforts to provide safe housing for those in need.”

Each year the HELP USA Scholarship Fund, established in 2000, recognizes women and men who have overcome homelessness and domestic violence.  Each recipient receives a $5,000 grant to support his or her educational and professional goals.

Domestic Violence is now the leading cause of homelessness in New York City. HELP USA, which was founded by Andrew Cuomo 30 years ago, operates a shelter for domestic violence survivors and runs the only comprehensive support program for domestic violence survivors in East New York, a neighborhood with among the highest prevalence of domestic violence in New York City. Services include case management, housing assistance, trauma-informed childcare, and an after school program.  HELP USA also provides child counseling at the Brooklyn Family Justice Center, a program run in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Domestic Violence. HELP USA serves approximately 1,000 domestic violence survivors, including children, each year.

HELP USA would like to thank the 2017 HELP USA Scholarship Award Luncheon sponsors: Northwell Health, Verizon, Bridgehampton National Bank, Greater New York Hospital Association, The Phoebe Snow Foundation, Kenneth Cole, Maria Cuomo, Estée Lauder Companies, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Walmart, Tiger Baron Foundation, BNY Mellon, Avis Richards, Henry Schein, TD Bank, 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Brightpoint Health, Gail and Scott Cannold, Citibank, Discovery ID, Hanky Panky, Joan Hornig, New York University, Henry and Peggy Schleiff, and TED Supply.


HELP USA is one of the nation’s largest homeless service providers and low-income housing developers, serving at-risk populations including families, veterans, and victims of domestic violence. HELP USA currently operates over 50 programs and residences across four states. Founded in 1986, HELP USA has served more than 400,000 men, women, and children and provides over 3,500 units of permanent and transitional housing.  Learn more at www.helpusa.org.