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The Ins and Outs of Making Change: Grants help students and nonprofits work with government to improve life in New York

Grants Newsletter | December 2017

NONPROFIT POWER: Staff of city nonprofits learn in an Advocacy Institute training on the fundamentals of changing legislation.

New Yorkers want fair laws, safe streets, consumer protections, and more, but they need help taking action. Two of our recent grants are responding:

Job seekers were spending thousands of dollars to find jobs through employment agencies, only to be scammed. New Immigrant Community Empowerment, a Queens nonprofit, wanted tougher regulation of these agencies, but it needed additional guidance to navigate Albany’s halls of power. The community group sought help from the Advocacy Institute, a group that trains other nonprofits to fight for change. With the institute’s support, NICE worked to get a bill passed in the State Legislature. Today it is illegal for employment agencies to charge low-wage workers fees before placing them in jobs.

The Trust just gave $100,000 to the Advocacy Institute to help more organizations build relationships with elected officials and move legislation.


Meanwhile, in our public schools, Generation Citizen, another nonprofit, provides students with the knowledge they need to participate in a democracy. Our $300,000 grant is giving public school teachers resources to start “Action Civics” in middle and high school classrooms. The program doesn’t just teach classroom lessons; it helps students identify problems, build public support, speak at public forums, and use the media to get things done. Students have introduced legislation to update New York’s health education curriculum about opioid addiction. They’ve also pressed for a City Council bill to require school cafeterias to publicize health inspection scores. 


Our Long Island division is bringing together funders to back a range of civic efforts, from getting out the vote to encouraging residents to involved in their communities. The Long Island Civic Engagement Fund has raised $1 million for its work. To join, visit

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