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12/5/16 - More Than $6 Million in Grants Announced by NY's Community Foundation

Amy Wolf (646) 214-1004, 
David Marcus (212) 889-3963,

Money given to nonprofits to improve health, environment, education, 
and help New Yorkers in need

(New York, December 5, 2016) – The New York Community Trust is spending $6.2 million to help 50 nonprofits across the city—bringing this year’s total to nearly $47 million given through The Trust’s competitive grants program. 

In a time when many New Yorkers feel uncertain about what lies ahead, The Trust remains committed to ensuring that New York remains a beacon of economic prosperity, acceptance, and opportunity for all.

These grants come from the fifth and final round of funding by The Trust for 2016.

For each of the following grants, we offer members of the media one-page background memos that detail the problems we’re addressing and our approach to solving them. Our CLOSER LOOK sections below are a glimpse of this resource. Please contact Amy Wolf at for more.


Access-A-Ride isn’t working for riders, or for the MTA. With a total projected cost of $456 million this year, that is an average of $70 per person per ride. Meanwhile 70 percent of riders are older adults, and as this population surges, demand and cost will only grow. Riders currently wait hours for pick-up, and put up with no-show drivers and indirect and lengthy routes. New York Lawyers for the Public Interest will use our $300,000 to organize Access-A-Ride users, document their experiences, and recommend improvements. It will work with MFY Legal Services, Center for Independence of the Disabled New York, and Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled.

A one-year grant of $75,000 to New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service will support the Rudin Center for Transportation’s analysis of data about Access-A-Ride pick-ups, drop-offs, and routes, to suggest more efficient ways to assign drivers and riders. 


With our past grants to the Aging in New York Fund, teams of older adults were organized to lead efforts to bring healthy food to senior centers. They started community gardens, healthy food-bag programs, food demonstrations, and van trips to farmers markets. This year, the Fund will use $50,000 to sustain the volunteer teams and replicating the older-adult leadership model at new sites. (Since 2014, we’ve invested $350,000 in this project.)

CLOSER LOOK: The city has 250 senior centers that are especially important for elders in low-income communities. The centers’ offerings don’t always engage our city’s increasingly diverse older adults. The Department for the Aging is funding efforts to update services at these centers, especially targeting programs to more ethnically diverse baby boomers who have lower incomes and less education than earlier generations.

Citizens Budget Commission will use $150,000 to monitor and guide New York State’s Medicaid reforms.

The Trust gave $91,000 to Columbia University’s Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center to investigate the role of various genetic factors in glucose metabolism, accumulation of fat, and other factors in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. (Since 2014, we’ve invested $255,000 in this project.)

Crisis Text Line will use $70,000 to strengthen a mental health text messaging program for African-American and Latino youth. In addition it will train more black and Latino crisis counselors and promote its services in targeted media outlets.

Interfaith Medical Center will use $180,000 to work with three institutions to engage central Brooklyn residents in a plan to address women’s health, diabetes, and heart disease. Partners include: Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, NextShift Collaborative, and the DuBois Bunche Center for Public Policy at Medgar Evers College.

Heroin is now the leading cause of accidental death in the State. In response, New York Academy of Medicine will use $100,000 to study the feasibility of a supervised injection facility for injection drug users in the city. Sixty-six cities around the world have used this method to prevent deaths by drug overdose.

Weill Cornell Medicine, $200,000 to test a new gene therapy as a treatment for glaucoma, the world’s leading cause of blindness.


Donors’ Education Collaborative will continue their work with $150,000 to support advocacy for public education reform. Last year grantees jump-started school discipline reform, made the case for more integrated schools; and involved parents in policy debates. (Since 1995, we’ve invested $1,790,000 in this funder collaborative.)

Johns Hopkins University will use $40,000 to provide afterschool and summer instruction to improve the health and educational achievement of children from the Tonawanda Seneca Nation.

New Teacher Center will use $120,000 to collect and analyze data as it monitors and improves the expansion of a teacher mentoring program into 120 public schools.

New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations will use $120,000 to help parents, teachers, and librarians improve the early reading skills of pre-kindergarten students.

Public Policy and Education Fund of New York will use $100,000 to build public support for equitable state funding of city schools consistent with the Campaign for Fiscal Equity court ruling.  

CLOSER LOOK: A decade ago, the courts issued a favorable decision in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, a lawsuit we funded for more than a decade to force the State to provide equitable education funding to the city after years of favoring suburban and upstate districts. The decision led to the Education and Budget Reform Act of 2007, which created a funding formula to ensure that the city and other high-need districts receive their fair share. Unfortunately, the fiscal crisis of 2008 hit shortly after the Act passed and the State could not meet its obligations, including $1.9 billion owed to city schools to rectify past inequities. With the economy improving, the State is more likely than ever to meet these obligations this year. Our grant will help keep the pressure on.

Parents for Inclusive Education will use $100,000 to advocate for better access to public schools for students with physical disabilities in a system where only six of the 400 city high schools meet the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Rocking the Boat will use $300,000 for college scholarships for students studying applied physical sciences or technology. (Since 2012, we’ve supported Rocking the Boat with $500,000.)

South Bronx Educational Foundation will use $76,000 to support the academic and personal achievement of disadvantaged girls in neighborhoods with high rates of teen pregnancy, school dropouts, and academic underachievement. (Since 2015, we’ve supported this project with $111,000.)


A Better Balance: The Work and Family Legal Center will use $130,000 to inform New Yorkers about a new law providing paid family leave for workers. Prior grants from The Trust helped the group inform the public about the city’s paid sick leave and pregnancy protections.

Per Scholas, $130,000 to use its new Brooklyn site to prepare unemployed New Yorkers for jobs in cyber-security engineering, software testing, and IT support. (Since 2014, we’ve invested $430,000 in this project.)


Last year, with our support, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies successfully pushed for the release of the city’s social indicators report, a document that had not been published for a decade. This report brings together data gathered by nonprofits, funders, and government to support local needs and create effective social policy. This year, the organization will use $100,000 to enhance and monitor the use of the city’s social indicators system.

Legal Services NYC will use $75,000 to help New Yorkers who do not speak English get government benefits and services to which they are entitled. (Since 2014, we’ve invested $255,000 in this project.)

New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, CUNY will use $430,000 to improve the quality of unregulated, or informal, home-based child care. At the same time, a $173,000 grant will help Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services improve social work supports for regulated home-based child care providers and the children and families they serve.

CLOSER LOOK: Young children being cared for by relatives, friends, and neighbors aren’t always getting quality care. Caregivers are often untrained and without formal education, and the children are often from low-income families. Early childhood education is critical to make sure these children meet developmental benchmarks. With our funding, the Institute and Sheltering Arms will provide coaching and other services to improve the quality of care in home-based child care settings.


Many gay teenagers have been rejected by family and survive by selling drugs and their bodies, placing them at risk for HIV infection, addiction, incarceration, and violence. Hetrick-Martin Institute will use $118,000 to help these homeless gay teenagers get off the street and into supportive housing and programs. (Since 2013, we’ve invested $289,000 on this project.)

Play Rugby will use $260,000 to improve the sports-oriented youth development field.

CLOSER LOOK: There are 75 organizations in the city that use sports to help young people learn how to play on a team, handle losing, and respect compromise and persistence. These groups tend to attract young people who often shy away from more education-focused programs. The best of this group have built programs in low-income neighborhoods. But many of these organizations face a number of common challenges: a dearth of trained staff; lack of organizational management skills; and limited resources. Strengthening these groups will result in more effective youth development services for kids who are drawn to these sports programs.

Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center will use $110,000 to help young public housing residents finish high school and prepare for jobs. Services will be provided from the group’s headquarters and a new site in the James Weldon Johnson Houses community center, both in East Harlem. (Since 2015, we’ve invested $200,000 in this project.)

Last year Young Invincibles used our grant to evaluate New York’s Urban Youth Jobs Program. It found that many employers regard the credit as irrelevant to their hiring decisions. Other employers didn’t know the credit was available. With a new grant of $125,000, this coalition of 20 organizations will offer recommendations to reform the program. (Since 2015, we’ve invested $215,000 in this project.)


Brooklyn Arts Council will use $50,000 to coordinate cultural coalitions in Brooklyn’s Canarsie and East Flatbush neighborhoods with significant African American and West Indian communities that receive limited arts funding from the city and State. (Since 2014, we’ve invested $140,000 in this project.)

Dance/NYC will use $95,000 for a study on fiscally sponsored artists and arts groups. The study aims to make sure that they are documented and have a voice in, and may benefit from the city’s new cultural plan, which will be completed by July 2017.

ProjectArt will use $38,000 to expand an afterschool arts education program to six libraries in New Lots in Brooklyn; Parkchester and West Farms in the Bronx; Arverne and Far Rockaway in Queens; and Port Richmond in Staten Island.


New York Immigration Coalition will use $100,000 to advocate for the interests of the city’s immigrants in the wake of the federal election.

CLOSER LOOK: The city’s immigrants are wondering what the incoming administration will mean for them: Will DACA be eliminated? Will they be deported? With our funding the Coalition will publish timely answers to urgent questions; protect immigrants from hate speech and crimes; and develop strategies to preserve DACA and other immigrant-friendly administrative orders.

LESREADY! will use $80,000 to support the coordinator of a long-term Sandy recovery coalition on the Lower East Side. (Since 2015, we’ve invested $160,000 in this project.)


Our grants have helped EIS Housing Resource Center counsel hundreds of older adults with hoarding disorders who are at risk of eviction. Our new grant of $40,000 will continue this work. (Since 2014, we’ve invested $120,000 in this project.)

MHANY Management will use $70,000 to research strategies for generating affordable housing for the lowest income families. And Neighborhoods First Fund for Community Based Planning will use $100,000 to support local planning in communities slated for rezoning.

CLOSER LOOK: Several neighborhoods are being up-zoned to allow for higher density. As part of these developer-friendly deals, new residential buildings must rent at least a quarter of the apartments at below-market rates. But this gives rise to two challenges: Many families are too poor to qualify for “affordable” housing generated by this zoning. This has become a main point of contention in neighborhoods being rezoned, sinking one rezoning proposal altogether and threatening the viability of others. A second challenge: Engaging communities in planning for new development that is likely to bring significant and often disruptive change to neighborhoods. The grants above will look into better mechanisms for achieving broader and deeper affordability.

Neighborhood Housing Services of Brooklyn CDC will use $65,000 to provide counseling and other support to low-income homeowners in Canarsie.

How will community gardens, playgrounds, and basketball courts fair in up-zoned neighborhoods? Can new parks be included in plans for new housing and infrastructure improvements? New Yorkers for Parks will use our $60,000 grant to advocate for investment in parks and open space in neighborhoods being rezoned.

Supportive Housing Network of New York will use $150,000 to develop systems for matching high-cost Medicaid users to supportive housing units.


American Sustainable Business Institute will use $100,000 to promote government purchasing policies that increase demand for more sustainable products and services.

Connecticut Fund for the Environment will use $52,000 to assess the impact of water pollution on the northern stretches of the East River and the Long Island Sound and issue a scorecard.

New York Restoration Project will use $92,000 to support increased use and community stewardship of open space in the Bronx. (Since 2015, we’ve invested $182,000 in this effort.)

Wildlands Network will use $55,000 to create and strengthen wildlife conservation corridors along the Appalachian Trail.

Trust for Public Land will use $75,000 to support converting an abandoned rail line in Queens into a 3.5-mile linear park. (Since 2015, we’ve invested $175,000 in this project.)


Columbia University Earth Institute will use $162,000 to identify new ways to assess preservation’s effects on neighborhoods and influence city policy.

New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission will use $49,000 to create a publicly searchable database of the city’s historic buildings.

Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation will use $150,000 to preserve, prepare, and move the Statue of Liberty’s original torch into an accessible museum that will serve all visitors.


Bernard M. Baruch College of CUNY will use $465,000 for a leadership development and management training program for mid-level managers. (Since 2014, we’ve invested $1,380,000 in this project.)


The economic woes of coalfield communities attracted attention in the 2016 election, and The Trust is helping these communities make the transition to sustainable and clean energy. Thanks to a donor who cared about Appalachia, grants of more than $200,000 will help two nonprofits in the region:

Highlander Research and Education Center will use $60,000 to support a fellowship program that promotes an effective transition away from Appalachia’s dwindling coal economy.

The Just Transition Coalition will use $141,000 to accelerate a shift to a sustainable, clean energy economy in Appalachia. (Since 2014, we’ve invested $720,000 in this coalition effort.)




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