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2016 Request for Proposals to Support Muslim, Arab, and South Asian Communities in New York City

The Climate

Islamophobia, or anti-Islam prejudice, is threatening the safety and civil liberties of Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians living in the U.S., and thereby all Americans. As political rhetoric gives hate crimes, profiling, and other forms of racial and religious bigotry the appearance of legitimacy, funding can help Muslim, Arab, and South Asian (MASA) New Yorkers organize their communities to counter these sentiments and highlight their critical contributions to the fabric of New York City.    

The Opportunity

The New York Community Trust requests proposals for projects to support and highlight the contributions of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities in New York City. The Trust expects to award between 4 and 8 grants for projects that will effectively counter anti-Islam prejudice. Examples of such projects may include, but are not limited to:
  • Strengthening Advocacy Infrastructure: developing organizing tools and mechanisms to counter bigotry and effectively advocate for the rights of MASA Americans, including but not limited to research, needs assessments, organizing, and/or media campaigns to better understand Muslims in the City and promote awareness about the issues they face; 
  • Leadership Development: building the leadership and organizing skills of MASA youth and adults; educating the broader MASA community about civic engagement and political processes in the U.S.; and encouraging ongoing involvement in broader policy advocacy; and  
  • Organizational Capacity Building: to strengthen the organizational infrastructure of community-based groups providing critical direct services to and/or advocating on behalf of MASA New Yorkers. Examples of capacity-building needs include, but are not limited to: 
      • Improvement of data and financial management systems;
      • Strategies and technology for improving communication;
      • Implementing new and realistic fundraising methods (e.g., e-fundraising); and
      • Leadership and board development.

Organizations may apply for one- or two-year grants of up to $100,000 each. Requests that reasonably exceed this amount will be considered for projects submitted by a lead organization involving multiple nonprofits. A total of up to $500,000 in one-year or two-year grants will be awarded in June and/or October of 2016. Priority will be given to groups that are MASA-led and/or have a strong track record of supporting the City’s MASA communities. The Trust will not make grants for general operating support, capital improvements, or endowment.

The Trust may summarize your proposal to other interested funders and may also contact you to share your proposal with grantmakers that may, based on the proposals, consider complementary grants in excess of The Trust’s available resources. Separate from these grants, The Trust also may fund technical assistance to strengthen staff capacity at grantee organizations.

Please include the following in your proposal:

  1. Cover letter requesting support, on stationary and signed by the organization’s director
  2. Cover sheet (Complete the online form at You will receive a PDF version by email; include a printout of the PDF with your hard-copy submission. We recommend you complete the proposal cover sheet at least 3 days before you plan to submit the full proposal.)
  3. Narrative (please limit to seven pages or less, single-spaced, 12-pt. font), including:
    a. A brief description of your organization, including: history, mission, program activities, and major accomplishments;
    b. Populations served, including the challenges these groups face in the City and how your organization helps them to overcome these challenges; and
    c. Description of the proposed project, including:
    i. The need and anticipated goal(s) or outcome(s), including how the project aligns with the goals in this RFP, and how it will benefit Muslim, Arab, and South Asian New Yorkers.
    ii. Activities that will take place over the requested grant period;
    iii. Obstacles you anticipate having to overcome to be successful; and
    iv. How you plan to measure your success.
  4. Project budget (you may include staff time and other organizational costs)
  5. Current annual operating budget (list sources of income and expenses)
  6. Organizational chart, or list of organizational staff
  7. List of Board of Directors, including years with the organization
  8. Most recent audited financial statement, or IRS 990 Form 
  9. Proof of tax exemption/501(c)(3) letter (or a fiscal agent agreement)
The narrative and project budget must be received by email to on or before 12 noon EST on Friday, March 25, 2016. The email should have the organization’s name in the subject line and the narrative and project budget should be attached to the email as a single PDF document. Hard copies of the full application, including all required materials, should be sent by first-class mail, postmarked no later than Friday, March 25, 2016, to:
Sheila Dinkins
The New York Community Trust
909 Third Avenue, Floor 22

New York, NY 10022

Questions should be directed to Salem Tsegaye at (212) 686-0010, ext. 658, or


Founded in 1924, The New York Community Trust is one of the largest funders of city nonprofits. It makes more than $40 million in competitive grants each year to ensure healthy lives, promising futures, and thriving communities in New York City.

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