Patricia Bartos-West had never heard of Step Up for Better Living before joining the Board. But she was immediately impressed with how closely Step Up engages with those we serve, and how wide an impact our organization has. As a local landlord, she’d discovered that her tenants often don’t have access to vital housing services. So she sought to apply her unique insights by working with a non-profit grounded in housing stability.
Not long after Patti joined the Step Up family, however, Covid-19 struck the South Bronx. She became instrumental in helping us pivot to address the changing needs of the community. As Step Up strove to address skyrocketing hunger, Patti took a hands-on role. She even volunteered at a local food pantry, and her daughter came along to help. Why? Patti has raised her children with the same values with which she was brought up: Empathy, humility, and hard work.
Patti has always loved the South Bronx. A lifelong New Yorker and Managing Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers, her role as a landlord with buildings in the Bronx gave her a unique perspective on the housing needs of the community. So when she decided to get involved in the non-profit world, she searched for a local organization with a focus on housing. When Patti learned about Step Up for Better Living, she knew she’d found the right fit.
It wasn’t long before Covid-19 shut down the South Bronx, and Step Up changed gears. As one of our earliest efforts during the pandemic, Step Up awarded BronxWorks a $200,000 grant to expand food pantry hours, as well as an additional $300,000 to various pantries in the South Bronx. But Patti went a step further. She got hands-on by volunteering at the BronxWorks pantry. And she brought her daughter with her, to boot.
Patti always remembers how fortunate she has been in life. So she takes any opportunity to remind her children that they are lucky, too. “My family is everything to me,” she says. “But it’s important that they realize that you can make an impact. Even by spending a couple of hours in a food pantry and giving something to someone with kindness and a smile on your face. It’s meaningful.”