Finding opportunities for people to help and helping people find those opportunities is what New York Cares is all about. Founded in 1987, the organization lines up tens of thousands of willing New Yorkers each year with volunteer openings, working in close cooperation with the city's social service agencies and other organizations. "New York Cares coordinates projects 365 days a year," explains Antonio Rodriguez, the group's manager of technology. "These projects address a wide range of issues in New York City, including homelessness, literacy, hunger, advancing technology in schools and social service agencies, youths and adults with special needs, senior citizens, caring for animals, community revitalization, education, building children's self–esteem, and more."
Each month's volunteer opportunities are listed in a monthly project calendar, available to New York Cares members by mail or email. And keeping track of those members and what they do each month is a technological challenge requiring real database power. "New York Cares needs to coordinate thousands of individuals for hundreds of projects on a day–to–day basis," Antonio explains. "Having access to this information, as well as sending off the information to our volunteers project partners and contacts, in a timely manner is critical."