Maya Gold Foundation

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Maya Gold Foundation
MottoHelp Youth Thrive
FounderElise Gold and Mathew Swerdloff
Founded atNew Paltz, New York
TypeNonprofit Organization
FocusThe mission of the Maya Gold Foundation is to empower youth to access their inner wisdom and realize their dreams. The Maya Gold Foundation is committed to:

Supporting and developing programs for teens in New Paltz and the surrounding areas that will enhance emotional awareness, build mutual support and caring among teens and adults, strengthen inner resilience, and teach mindfulness practice.

Honoring Maya’s vision to reduce trafficking by supporting carefully vetted Nepali organizations, and developing cross cultural exchanges, that will provide essentials and inspire hope for youth in Nepal and New Paltz.
HeadquartersNew Paltz, New York
Area served
New York, Nepal
Mathew Swerdloff
Elise Gold

The Maya Gold Foundation is a 501(c)(3) community organization based in the Hudson Valley of New York. The Foundation was formed by the parents of Maya Gold, a New Paltz High School Student who took her own life on October 2, 2015.[1] Maya’s parents, Elise Gold and Mathew Swerdloff, formed the organization in response to their loss and in support of their community. At the funeral, they were called to serve and look out for other teens in the community.[2] The organization offers programs and funding for youth in New Paltz and in Nepal.[3]


Adult Trip to Nepal[edit]

Each fall members of the Maya Gold Foundation Board lead a trip to Nepal for interested adults. The trip serves to spread awareness of the work of the Foundation and is a fundraiser for the organization. Participants spend two weeks in the Kathmandu Valley and engage in cross cultural exchange, service learning, and educational workshops. All funds raised go to supporting youth in the Hudson Valley of New York. The Foundation partners with NGO's in Kathmandu Valley that are aligned to their mission. [4]

After School Art Study Scholarship[edit]

The Foundation offers a full scholarship each semester for a New Paltz student interested in the visual arts. The scholarship is awarded based on demonstrated financial need and covers full tuition to the New Paltz School of Art for one after school class per student. [5]

Community Programs[edit]

Each fall and spring the Foundation presents an educational event to the New Paltz community at no charge. These events are offered to support youth and families in the community, and are aligned to the mission of the organization. Presentation modalities vary widely, including panel discussions, film screenings, lectures, workshops, and theatrical events. Topics vary as well, including social media, emotional wellness, coping skills, and suicide prevention. [6]

Community Service Award[edit]

Two Community Service Awards are offered each year to high school students that are engaged in regional volunteer activities that support the mission of the Foundation. Students apply online for the $500 award and are awarded the funds in January and June. The goal of the program is to recognize the good work of youth in the community. Youth receiving the award are recognized in local media and at public events. [7]

Heart of Gold Adventures[edit]

Each spring Foundation Board members lead a group of high school students on a two week trip to Nepal. The trip is designed to provide opportunities for deep learning, cross cultural exchange, team building, and reflective practice. The youth travel with adult Team Leaders who act as chaperones. The Foundation offers scholarships to attendees with financial need. [8]

Thrive Grants for Youth[edit]

As a volunteer organization, the Maya Gold Foundation does not have staff available for regular programming. With this in mind, the Board has designed the Thrive Grants for Youth program. The Board reviews grant applications four times per year, and awards funds to organizations serving youth in the Hudson Valley. [9]

Youth Action Team[edit]

The Maya Gold Foundation utilizes the input of local youth through a Youth Action Team. The Youth Action Team, comprised of high school students, meets regularly with the Board and provides guidance and support for all programs and events. [10]



The Maya Gold Foundation has been recognized by Guidestar at the Platinum Level for transparency, governance, and accountability. [11]

Great Nonprofits[edit]

The Maya Gold Foundation was rated as a 2018 and 2019 Top Nonprofit by Great Nonprofits based on constituent reviews and community recognition. [12]

External links[edit]

Organization Website


  1. Eun Kyung Kim (2015). "Rabbi Shares Eulogy for Teen Maya Gold to Urge Action and Erase Stigma of Suicide". NBC Universal. Retrieved 2015-10-21.
  2. Hannah Orenstein (2015). "Heartbreaking Eulogy About Preventing Suicide Following Death of a 15 Year Old Girl". Seventeen Magazine. Retrieved 2015-10-20.
  3. Frances Marion Platt (2016). "Maya Gold's Parents Share Insights on Her Suicide, Launch Foundation to Help Youth". New Paltz Times. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  4. Peter Leonard (2019). "From Tragedy to Community Action". iHeart Media, Inc. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  5. Sharyn Flanagan (2016). "Student Artists Create Socially Conscious Art, New Mural to be Unveiled August 27". New Paltz Times. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  6. Amanda Copkov (2017). "Hope on the Horizon". The New Paltz Oracle. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
  7. Daily Freeman Staff (2018). "Onteora High Students Sophia Roberts, Emily Peck Receive Scholarships from Maya Gold Foundation". The Daily Freeman. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  8. Daily Freeman Staff (2018). "Group of New Paltz High School Students Return from Trip to Nepal". The Daily Freeman. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  9. Frances Marion Platt (2017). "New Paltz Youth Workshop Aims to Enhance Communication Through Art". New Paltz Times. Retrieved 2017-08-11.
  10. Journal Staff (2017). "Maya Gold Foundation Gives Opportunities to Young Teens". Poughkeepsie Journal. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  11. Guidestar Staff (2019). "Guidestar Profile". Guidestar. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  12. Great Nonprofits Staff (2019). "Great Nonprofits Profile". Maya Gold Foundation. Retrieved 2019-01-11.

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