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New York City Cultural Agenda Fund
in The New York Community Trust

Supporting Cultural Advocacy, Policy, and Equity in New York City

Established in 2014, the New York City Cultural Agenda Fund is a donor collaborative that helps to strengthen the City’s arts advocacy network and advance cultural policy and equity. In addition to The New York Community Trust, donors to the Fund include the Booth Ferris Foundation, David Rockefeller Fund, Lambent Foundation, and Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. The Fund aims to:

  1. Strengthen Advocacy – Fortify and connect the network of arts and culture advocates in New York City;
  2. Influence Policy – Promote a cohesive and equitable cultural policy and integrate culture into City policies across multiple sectors; and
  3. Build Equity – Ensure small, community arts groups, groups led by people of color, and culturally and economically diverse artists are as valued for their contributions to the City’s cultural ecology as larger institutions.

If you are interested in joining the Fund, please contact program associate Salem Tsegaye at or 212-686-0010 x658.


In December 2014, the Fund made its first grant of $125,000 to the University of Pennsylvania’s Social Impact of the Arts Project. For more than 20 years, this Project has conducted research that demonstrates non-economic value generated by the arts. As part of a multi-city study on social wellbeing, neighborhood transformation, and the arts, the group will develop comprehensive measures of social wellbeing for New York City—including an inventory of cultural assets—and document the relationship between wellbeing and the City’s cultural ecology.

Most recently, the Fund developed its Cultural Advocacy & Equity Program, a series of four workshops to afford 49 arts advocates the space, time, and resources needed to collectively generate ideas for improving advocacy coordination and fostering an equitable arts ecosystem. The Fund will work with Race Forward, The Opportunity Agenda, i2i Experience, and Hester Street Collaborative to provide these workshops. The following groups have received $2,000 grants to participate in the Program.

  • Alice Austen House
  • Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts
  • Artist Volunteer Center
  • Arts & Democracy Project
  • Asian American Arts Alliance
  • Asian American Writers’ Workshop
  • BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn
  • Bronx Council on the Arts
  • Bronx Museum of the Arts
  • Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • Brooklyn Arts Council
  • Brooklyn Children’s Museum
  • Brooklyn Museum
  • Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute
  • Center for Arts Education
  • Chamber Music America
  • Children’s Museum of the Arts
  • Dance/NYC
  • El Museo del Barrio
  • El Puente de Williamsburg
  • Elders Share the Arts
  • The Field
  • Flushing Town Hall
  • Gibney Dance
  • Groundswell Community Mural Project
  • Harlem Arts Alliance
  • Harlem Stage
  • HB Studio
  • Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy
  • Lark Play Development Center
  • The Laundromat Project
  • Lewis Latimer Historic House Museum
  • Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
  • The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center
  • Museum of Chinese in America
  • Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts
  • National Museum of the American Indian-New York
  • Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts New York
  • New York City Arts Coalition
  • New York Foundation for the Arts
  • One Percent for Culture
  • Park Avenue Armory
  • People’s Climate Arts
  • Printed Matter
  • The Public Theater
  • Queens Museum
  • Spaceworks
  • Staten Island Museum
  • White Columns


To encourage ongoing dialogue among arts advocates and members of philanthropy, the Fund regularly organizes briefings:

  • In March 2015, the Fund brought together cultural advocates, City government, and arts funders to learn from other cities that have taken on cultural planning, including Boston, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, and Tucson. Watch the  video recording below to learn how New York City can better prepare for the cultural planning it may soon undertake.
  • In January 2015, the Fund organized a meet and greet with researchers Mark Stern and Susan Seifert from the Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP). The researchers made local contacts and the cultural community learned more about SIAP’s plans for NYC research.
  • In October 2014, University of Texas at Arlington researchers Carl Grodach, James Murdoch, and Nicole Foster shared findings from Art Spaces, Art Places: Examining Neighborhood Preferences of New York Arts Organizations. The report found a lack of association between NYC arts groups and poor neighborhoods. It also challenged the assumption that the arts tend to locate in ethnic and disadvantaged neighborhoods.

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The New York Community Trust is a 501(c)3 public charity.