Q&A with Gary Bagley, Executive Director, New York Cares

Gary Bagley

Last year, New York Cares moved their main offices from Chelsea to Lower Manhattan – allowing us to get up-close and personal with Executive Director, Gary Bagley, and find out what he thinks of the new neighborhood.

New York Cares, the city’s largest volunteer organization, recently moved its main offices to Broadway in Lower Manhattan. Why did you move?

There has been a greater demand for our services and that means that more volunteers require orientation and more community partners seek training on how to work with volunteers. We needed a space more conducive to meeting those demands.

What attracted your organization to Lower Manhattan?

Lower Manhattan provides a flexible and acces­sible location from which we can easily mobilize volunteers, program managers, and resources throughout the five boroughs.

The Downtown Alliance is always thrilled when people volunteer at our events. What’s your philosophy about volunteerism?

Volunteering is more than something nice to do. It is necessary for the well-being of our City. Volunteers bridge the gaps between what is and what should be. Beyond that, making a difference is something everyone can do.

You run the annual New York Cares Coat Drive. How many coats do you collect each year?

Last year, we collected 77,000 coats, and, in the 24 years we’ve been doing the Coat Drive, we’ve collected over 1.4 million. Despite these numbers, we still are not able to meet all the requests for coats we get each year, so make sure to donate this year at any New York City Police precinct, Penn Station, Grand Central, or any of our many drop-off locations around the city.

In this economy, are you finding more donations or fewer and why?

Although New York Cares is far from immune to the many challenges posed by the current economic climate, we are confident about our fundraising goals and ever-grateful for the financial generosity of our corporate, foundation and individual donors without which our work simply would not be possible.

What has been your experience in Lower Manhattan so far?

Downtown has provided a fantastic hub for our operations and volunteers, a lively atmosphere, and spectacular views. We love the new environment.