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11/3/14 - Arts Funders Create Fund in The New York Community Trust to Advance Cultural Policy and Equity in New York City


David Marcus, (212) 889-3963,
Amy Wolf (212) 686-0010 x234,

Arts Funders Create Fund in The New York Community Trust to Advance Cultural Policy and Equity in New York City

New York (Nov. 3, 2014) – Five foundations are pooling close to a million dollars to create the New York City Cultural Agenda Fund to strengthen the City’s arts advocacy network, develop a cohesive agenda for cultural policy, and promote equity within the sector. Under the combined leadership of the Booth Ferris, Lambent, and Robert Rauschenberg foundations, The New York Community Trust, and the David Rockefeller Fund, the NYC Cultural Agenda Fund is expected to make grants of more than $700,000 over the next 18 months. Additional funders are encouraged to join.

The Fund was established to ensure cultural groups, large and small, in neighborhoods across the five boroughs, are acknowledged for their contributions and equally supported. “New York City’s arts landscape runs the gamut from youth muralists in East New York to traditional Indian dancers in Forest Hills to major tourist attractions in Manhattan,” says Kerry McCarthy, The Trust’s program officer for arts and historic preservation. “The goal is to bring these groups closer together and inspire arts groups, foundations, and government to work together to make sure small and large arts organizations continue to thrive in every corner of the City.”  

McCarthy added that the new fund echoes Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to equity. It will help forge stronger ties between cultural organizations and groups working in other areas, such as youth development and affordable housing. In turn, that cooperation will open new sources of funding.

In addition to making grants, the New York City Cultural Agenda Fund will regularly bring arts organizations, City government, and funders together to discuss the future of cultural policy. The Fund also will commission research that demonstrates the social impact of the arts, complementing research that shows that the arts dramatically contribute to New York’s economic well-being.

“We hope to bolster and align efforts of arts advocates, cultural groups, funders, and engaged New Yorkers to use arts and culture to build a healthy and vibrant City, while we elevate understanding of the greater contribution of arts to society,” says Michelle Coffey, executive director of the Lambent Foundation.

The Cultural Agenda Fund started several weeks ago, after a series of meetings with advocates and others in the field. It will begin making grants later this year.

The New York Community Trust

Since 1924, The New York Community Trust has been the home of charitable New Yorkers who share a passion for the City and the suburbs—and who are committed to improving them. With its donors, The Trust supports an array of effective nonprofits that help make the City and suburbs vital and secure places to live and work, while building permanent resources for the future. The New York Community Trust ended 2013 with assets of $2.4 billion in more than 2,000 charitable funds, and made grants totaling $141 million.  For details, see


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