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Grant Guidelines

Arts, Education & Human Justice


Education Guidelines

The goal of The Trust’s Education Program is to ensure New York City’s public schools prepare students for success in college and the workforce, and for participating in public life as creative and responsible citizens. Read more about our grantmaking strategy (PDF) >>

The Trust will support projects that:

  1. Build and mobilize public will for greater equity and quality in the school system through policy research, education advocacy, and grassroots organizing;
  2. Increase accountability and transparency of schools and the school system to parents and students in low-income communities of color and immigrant communities;
  3. Expand innovative strategies for improving middle and high schools in the areas of principal instructional leadership, positive school cultures, and student leadership and academic supports.
Because our focus is on systemwide improvement, The Trust will not fund individual public or private schools, charter schools, or programs that involve limited numbers of students.

The Trust also manages the Donors' Education Collaborative.


Download the Education Grantmaking Strategy Paper (PDF)>>

Arts and Culture

NOTE TO ARTS GROUPS: If you are interested in applying for a grant to “strengthen the management of arts groups serving communities in the five boroughs,” please view the RFP for Small City-Based Nonprofit Arts & Cultural Groups to Build Capacity.


25 YEARS OF SUPPORT FOR YOUNG ARTISTS: Read a report looking back on 25 years of supporting young artists through our Van Lier Fellowships. Or the abstract of that report.

Program goals:

  • Promote diversity in the arts, and expand access for artists and audiences;
  • Strengthen the management of arts groups serving communities in the five boroughs;
  • Develop talented young minority and disadvantaged artists and improve arts education in the public schools; and
  • Strengthen arts advocacy.

We make grants to all artistic disciplines through projects that:

Help arts organizations attract broader audiences and provide opportunities for artists from diverse backgrounds.

Build the capacity of small and mid-sized arts groups.

  • Priority will be given to non-Manhattan and ethnic groups.
  • Mid-size groups (annual budgets of $250,000 to $2 million) are eligible for grants for such activities as marketing, audience outreach, earned income, and strengthening donor support.
  • Arts service and umbrella organizations are eligible for grants to help small groups.

Help cultural groups integrate arts into the curriculum of needy public schools, especially those working outside of Manhattan, and begin programs in schools that lack arts.

Advance arts advocacy on critical policy and funding issues.

Support the professional development of minority and disadvantaged young artists pre- and post-college. Grants are to arts organizations that identify, train, and support young people. 

We do not generally give grants:

  • To organizations with an annual operating budget below $250,000;
  • For particular presentations, such as plays, exhibits, films/videos, and festivals; or
  • For more than one project at a time from an organization.

Historic Preservation

Program goals: To support preservation in low-income and minority communities and the boroughs outside of Manhattan and to restore historic places that represent significant and overlooked aspects of New York City's history.

We support programs that:

  • Foster collaborations between preservation organizations and minority, ethnic, and other community groups.
  • Incorporate preservation efforts into neighborhood revitalization initiatives and increase the preservation expertise of community organizations.
  • Promote the adaptive use of historic buildings for social, cultural, and civic purposes.
  • Help groups develop alternative sources of financial support for capital, maintenance, and repairs.

Examples include:

  • Obtaining historic site designation to become eligible for government funds and tax advantages;
  • Producing condition surveys required for capital grants;
  • Planning and implementing capital campaigns and strategies to expand private giving and generate earned income;
  • Supporting collaborative projects with for-profit ventures; and
  • Advocating for increased government support for historic preservation.

To ensure maximum impact from our limited funds, we will not make grants directly for maintenance or capital projects. However, The Trust has established a modest fund with the New York Landmarks Conservancy for emergency structural repairs (maximum grant $25,000) for nonprofits that own and operate historic buildings in New York City.

Human Justice

Program goals:

1. Promote a more effective and fair civil and criminal justice system through:

  • Research and monitoring of practices and procedures in City courts.
  • Advocacy to improve local court practices and procedures.
2. Provide advocacy, information, and representation in emerging and/or urgent areas of civil law where other funding sources are limited. (The Trust will not make grants to provide legal representation in criminal matters.)

  • We will help advocates and legal service nonprofits act quickly when laws and policies change.
  • Advocacy and individual, multi-plaintiff, or class-action litigation can protect New Yorkers’ civil rights and make law and public policy more responsive to the needs of the City’s most vulnerable residents.
3. Identify effective ways to help low-income New Yorkers resolve legal problems and thereby improve their quality of life.

  • We will test the effectiveness of different service delivery methods such as brief advice, technology, nonlawyers, and alternative courts.
  • Through program evaluation and collaboration with other social service providers, we will connect legal help with other desired outcomes such as reducing homelessness and increasing employment and educational opportunities.
  • Where needed, we will build legal-service nonprofits’ capacity, individually and as a field, to track and communicate their results.

In addition, we administer the Fund for New Citizens, a group of funders that assist immigrant and refugee groups.

Read a PDF of our Human Justice Grantmaking Strategy

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