It’s aimed at helping to strengthen the FDNY and to encourage diversity within the Department, all while keeping New Yorkers safer.
The FDNY Foundation joined the FDNY on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at Engine 219/Ladder 105 in Brooklyn to celebrate a more than $11,000 grant to help fund a program that helps female firefighter candidates prepare to enter the Fire Academy.
“Women are underrepresented in the Firefighter ranks. And it’s time for that to change,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. “That is our shared goal and we’re thrilled to be working together to make that goal a reality.”
“We support the Department’s initiatives in every way we can,” said FDNY Foundation Chairman Stephen Ruzow. “The FDNY continues to take important and meaningful steps forward and we are proud to be a part of their efforts to make the Department stronger.”
The grant – awarded by Taylor & Taylor Associates and Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company – will fund staff and equipment for the United Women Firefighters’ (UWF) program. Through the program, the UWF will hold sessions each week leading up to the next Fire Academy class in December. Candidates will be trained both by active women firefighters and by professional trainers from the New York Sports Club. The training will aim to prepare them for many of the unique and demanding tasks the Fire Academy requires, such as hauling hoses, dragging mannequins and using the stair master, while wearing a 50-pound vest.
“Having qualified candidates complete the academy is our goal. It’s an honor they picked this program to fund,” said Firefighter Jackie Martinez, UWF Secretary. “This program helps give women who are seeking the job the opportunity to be successful in their endeavors.”
Currently, there are approximately 10,300 firefighters in all ranks of the Department; less than one percent of those firefighters are women.
“This support makes achieving the goal easier. Everyone wants the same thing: these candidates to have the opportunity,” said Martinez. “It’s a great thing to have the Commissioner, the Foundation and these companies on board to help us. Without their support, it would be a difficult goal to achieve.”
Taylor & Taylor has given the FDNY Foundation eight grants, totaling nearly $200,000. The grants have supported programs like the Mobile CPR Unit and the FDNY High School. The Fireman’s Fund has awarded the FDNY Foundation more than $725,000 since 2006.
“We’ve always championed the cause of giving people an opportunity,” said President of Taylor & Taylor Associates, Scott Taylor. “When you direct a grant, the hope is that they achieve their goal. That’s the best you could ask for. If you help a few, your efforts were worthwhile. Somebody’s got to be the first, perhaps it’s the first woman in her family to be a firefighter. This will help those candidates be safe and prepared.”
“Supporting fire departments is something we really believe in. It’s our way of getting back into the community. We look for opportunities to do things that tangibly help fire departments. What’s amazing is that the funding and support actually has the potential to save lives,” said Assistant Vice President, National Distribution Management Executive, Fireman’s Fund Entertainment Division, Terry Rybicki.
The grant is part of a nationwide philanthropic program funded by Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company. In its 10-year history, the program has awarded $31 million in grants to more than 2,000 organizations.
“We are so thankful to partners like Taylor & Taylor and the Fireman’s Fund who support the FDNY’s active work to diversify the Department and to support qualified candidates,” said FDNY Foundation Executive Director Jean O’Shea. “We are always glad to work with our partners to continue to further the FDNY’s mission and we will work to do so well into the future.”
“We know increased diversity makes us a stronger Department, and we believe that through the FDNY Foundation’s support of the United Women Firefighters Training program,” said Nigro, “we will grow stronger, more diverse and more inclusive.”
For more information about the FDNY Foundation’s recruitment programs, click here.
"This support makes achieving the goal easier. Everyone wants the same thing: these candidates to have the opportunity. It's a great thing to have the Commissioner, the Foundation and these companies on board to help us. Without their support, it would be a difficult goal to achieve."