In keeping with our commitment to operational transparency, Modest Needs publishes an annual report which is freely accessible to the public at large both via our website or in hard-copy.

The purpose of this annual report is to update interested persons on our prior year's program service achievements and to report on other significant accomplishments by Modest Needs in 2020.

Our Mission Statement

At Modest Needs, we work to prevent otherwise self-sufficient but low-income households from entering the cycle of poverty and to strengthen the communities in which these persons live. We do this by offering two specific grant types:

  • The Self-Sufficiency Grant: Our Self-Sufficiency grant is our hallmark grant and helps low income workers to afford short-term emergency expenses that would otherwise pose an enormous burden to the applicant;

  • The Homecoming Heroes Grant: Our Homecoming Heroes grant is designed to assist persons returning home from active military service with short term expenses they may incur as they adjust to civilian life.

Modest Needs in 2020: Responding to the Coronavirus Epidemic

At Modest Needs, we had several exciting plans for 2020, including a website overhaul that would've included a number of features designed to make it more rewarding - and more fun - to help low-income families than ever before. We'd just begun work on these projects when, beginning in March 2020, millions of people across the country were furloughed in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19. From that point forward, 2020 at Modest Needs has been defined by our response to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Today, I'm proud to report that, looking back, our COVID-19 relief program has been among the most robust in the US for an organization of our own 'modest' size. Indeed, our activities in 2020 can best be summarized in bullet-points touching on the impact of our COVID-19 response:

  • 15 March 2020: Modest Needs launches its COVID-19 relief program - one of the first such programs to launch in the United States. The program offers emergency financial reports to persons who can document that they've been furloughed from their place of employment.

  • Simultaneously, thanks to a very generous grant, Modest Needs launches a COVID-19 fundraising push, with all gifts matched up to $25,000.00. Over time, other members of the Modest Needs community gradually add to the match, to the point that the match ultimately becomes worth $250,000.00. By July 2020, the Modest Needs community had claimed the whole of that matching grant.

  • April 2020: Requests for help from Modest Needs reach record highs of approximately 10x our normal volume of applications. Meanwhile, NYS and City mandates force Modest Needs' employees to begin working from home.

    Because, from its outset, Modest Needs has been designed to operate in a virtual environment, the lockdown has no effect on our operation, and, thanks to the tireless work of the Modest Needs team, we're able to process even this extraordinary volume of requests for help, with all applications being processed in 48 hours or less.

  • Memorial Day Weekend 2020: Thanks to a grant from Suave, Modest Needs expands its COVID-19 program to include essential workers whose travel, childcare, and other similar expenses have increased, thanks to the tireless hours they've been working in an effort to keep us safe.

  • 30 May 2020: Modest Needs' work is featured in the New York Times, which calls Modest Needs' COVID-19 program one of the very best ways to get help to people whose lives have been turned upside-down by the Coronavirus furloughs.

  • 05 June 2020: Modest Needs issues its largest ever single-day batch of grant funding: just over $150,000.00 to 243 individual families - about twice as many grants as we're able to make in an average month.

From that point forward in 2020, we've been working a) to process our still overwhelming volume of applications in an even more timely manner (we're now down to a 48-hour max turn-around time); and b) to raise the funding necessary to help as many of the normally self-sufficient but low-income families who're struggling to recover from what has amount to months of un- or under-employment with minimal assistance through absolutely no fault of their own.

To say we've been successful so far would be an understatement. In fact, thanks to the generosity of our donors, we expect to make as many grants in 2020 as we did in 2018 and 2019 combined. However, over the past several weeks, we've again seen our application volume spike as COVID-19 and other families with nowhere else to turn turn to us, not for help to provide a little something for their children, but in what is, for them, a last-ditch effort to keep a roof over their families' heads at least through the holiday season.

We'll be spending the final months of 2020 helping as many of these folks as your generosity allows while doing our best to raise the money that will make these grants possible, both this month and in the early months of next year, when giving naturally declines. And once again, we're armed with a matching grant - this time $50,000.00 - to help us on our way. All we need now is YOU!

We hope you're as proud of our work in 2020 as we are, and we hope you'll join us in this critical, year-end fundraising push. In the meantime, though, and as always, we'd like to thank all of your for your extraordinary generosity, especially this year. Here's wishing you and yours a happy, safe, and healthy Holiday Season. Until next time, take care, and be well!

--Dr. Keith P. Taylor, President, Modest Needs Foundation (27 November 2020).

2020 Financial Information at a Glance

Income and Expense Categories Amount
Income from Direct Public Support $3,205,729
Other Program Service Income $0.00
Other Income $0.00
Total 2020 Income $3,205,729.00
Program Service Expenses (91.90%) $1,928,666.00
Management / Administrative Expenses (4.17%) $87,367.00
Fundraising Expenses (3.93%) $82,541.00
Total 2019 Expenses $2,098,574.00
Net Assets & Fund Balances, Beginning of Year $234,269.00
Net Assets & Fund Balances, End of Year $1,331,363.00

You may view a breakdown of the functional expenses listed above by accessing our FY 2020Form 990, linked below:

Supporting Financial Documents for 2020

Please note: all documents below are in PDF format and can be viewed via the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

  • View our 2020 Form 990 (Warning: Large File - May Take Time to Download)

Donor Privacy Policy

Modest Needs has long maintained a strict Donor Privacy Policy. However, because this policy is listed within our Terms of Use and sometimes is missed by our donors, we include it in our Annual Reports for their reference:

Modest Needs respects the privacy of our donors. To that end, Modest Needs will not sell, rent, loan, give away, or otherwise disseminate the personal information of our donors, including their names, mailing addresses, email addresses, contribution amounts, or any other data of any kind to any entity for any reason whatsoever. Persons who choose to contribute to Modest Needs may rest secure that their data will never be shared with any other entity under any circumstances, ever.

Modest Needs Board of Directors

Current as of 27 November 2020

  • Charles Cissel, Chair (Independent, Voting)

  • Rosa Ng, Vice-Chair & Chair of Audit Committee (Independent, Voting)

  • Maria Castillo, Treasurer (Independent, Voting)

  • Thierry Mellon, Board Member (Independent, Voting)

  • Rebekah Hoffman, Board Member (Independent,Voting)

Modest Needs Key Employees

  • Dr. Keith P. Taylor, President

  • Annemarie Galvin, Associate Director and Compliance Officer

  • Simona Andrejic, Director of Development

Would you like a hard copy of our 2020 Annual Report?

If you do not have regular internet access but would like to receive a hard copy of the Annual Report above, along with accompanying materials, please send your request to:

Modest Needs Foundation
33 Irving Place, FL 5
New York NY 10003

We will provide a hard-copy of our 2020 Annual Report along with all attachments to anyone who requests them at no charge. You may request a hard copy of this report by writing to us at the address above, or by phone at (844) 667-3776, ext 2.