What's Michelle Obama up to in the Lower East Side?

Michelle Obama, former first lady
Michelle Obama, former first lady
Former First Lady Michelle Obama

What's Michelle Obama up to in the Lower East Side?

And other updates from across New York.
December 4, 2018

The New York City Department for the Aging has secured two new contracts for senior services. The Young Women’s Christian Association of Queens received one for $100,000 and Queens Jewish Community Council received one for $140,500. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has awarded a $495,506 contract to Montefiore Medical Center to provide mental health services for adults. The Administration for Children’s Services intends to extend a contract through June 2019 with Ferncliff Manor for the Retarded, which has provided foster care services to children with special needs. A contract total was not immediately available, according to the agency.


Nonprofit history was the topic of discussion on Nov. 28 at Henry Street Settlement. The 125-year-old nonprofit, which knows a thing or two about longevity, paired in-house public historian Katie Vogel with Baruch College Dean David Birdsell and others for a panel discussion on the subject.

“Panelists saw nonprofit history as a chance to tell stories that would otherwise be ignored or forgotten. Kevin Jennings, president of the Tenement Museum, mentioned the fragmentation of New York City’s history as told through the city’s monuments, primarily of white men – and new efforts to tell the full story,” reads a post about the event on the Henry Street Settlement website. “What stories we choose to remember and tell are usually of the powerful,” he said, adding, “Nonprofit history isn’t always remembered because their people are not valued. It’s the story of people fighting against power and injustice.”


The Community Service Society of New York has something to say about affordable housing. David Jones, president of the nonprofit, said: “The bulk of new units under (Mayor Bill de Blasio’s) housing plan is out of reach for those New Yorkers most in need.” He elaborates on this claim in the 90-second video below:


Are robots taking over the nonprofit sector? Not exactly, but a post at npENGAGE does analyze three ways that artificial intelligence will affect nonprofits moving forward. Routine administrative tasks could take over public relations work, providing support for donations and other customer service issues; human resources might be streamlined by using AI to screen prospective candidates; and fundraising could be done more easily by using AI to sift through data. Read more here.


Michelle Obama put in a surprise appearance at The Lower Eastside Girls Club. It all began Saturday afternoon when former White House chef Sam Kass was visiting 30 teen girls. “If the First Lady was coming over for dinner, what would you cook her?” he asked, according to Vanity Fair.

Just minutes later, Obama emerged to surprise the girls and then served them grain bowls with kale and other healthy foods. It wasn’t long before someone asked the question that has followed Obama throughout her ongoing book tour: “Why don’t you want to run for president?”

Obama’s equally familiar answer came gently and with three points: “Sasha and Malia ‘are getting their lives back,’ she said, as the girls nodded sympathetically,” Vanity Fair wrote. “It’s important for leaders to do their thing – and then move aside and make space for the next generation.” Her third point was brief and maybe more direct than usual: “I don’t wanna be president!”

Zach Williams
Zach Williams
is a staff reporter at New York Nonprofit Media and sister publication City & State.