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Honoring the wishes of our donors, addressing today's problems

Since 1924, donors have set up funds at The Trust during their lifetimes, or in their wills, to make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers. We firmly (sometimes even ferociously) honor their charitable intentions. Here are a few examples of the work accomplished through charitable funds we have managed for decades.

Mildred Anna Williams: A Gift for Girls and Young Women

Williams never forgot that her childhood hadn’t been easy, and she set up a fund in The Trust to “support activities conducive to the welfare of girls.” It started with $2 million after her death in 1939, has supported dozens of groups, and is now worth more than $23 million.

David Warfield: Helping Children See and Learn

Thanks to the generosity of David Warfield, a Broadway and vaudeville actor who was blind at the time of his death in 1951, thousands of young people have free eye glasses. Read more>>

Helen Merrill: Supporting Playwrights

Helen Merrill, an influential theatrical agent, established in her will a fund at The Trust to continue her lifelong encouragement of playwrights. Today, The Trust ensures that every year talented playwrights receive cash awards in her name.

Bonnie Cashin, Iconic Women's Fashion Designer

Henry W. Grady talks about why he set up the Bonnie Cashin Fund in The Trust.


Edward and Sally Van Lier: Nurturing Creativity

Sally left her estate to The Trust to "provide educational assistance and training to gifted young persons who aspire to a career in the arts."After much research, The Trust decided that the best way to carry out her wishes was through creating the Van Lier fellowships.

Victor Heiser: Searching for a Cure

For more than 30 years, The Trust has carried on Dr. Heiser's passion to find a cure for leprosy and diseases like it, and his goal is ever closer to being reached. In 1995, we funded a five-year project to map the leprosy genome, which resulted in an increased understanding of the bacterium and pointed to new ways to identify and fight it. 

Francis Florio: "Hastening the Conquest of Human Misery"

Mr. Florio wanted his fund to, "hasten the conquest of human misery and physical suffering" and use the money for research in the field of blood disease. Through his generosity, The Trust has supported work on AIDS, polycythemia vera, myeloma, and hypermutation.

Katherine Park: Caring for the Elderly

She gave her money "to assist the elderly...with the problems of loneliness and boredom." For years, we made grants to senior centers that took elders to concerts and other outings. But by the mid-'90s, with many elderly New Yorkers being cared for by poorly paid, unhappy home health aides rather than family, we started to use the Park Fund differently.

Wheaton B. Kunhardt: The Green Legacy of a Man of Steel

When he died in 1933, he left his estate to The Trust in an unrestricted fund. Today, we are bringing together his passion for industry and nature. A $40,000 grant from the Wheaton B. Kunhardt Fund to the New York Industrial Retention Network is helping local businesses get  tax credits and grants for energy-efficient equipment, and to produce green products.

Theresa E. Bernholz Fund: The Trust's Oldest Fund Gives On

In 1924, Mrs. Schiff asked that a prize be given in her former principal's name to a girl graduating from P.S. 9 who "has earned the highest commendation of her teachers," and for 85 years, her wish has been honored. 

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