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August 2015 News

QUICK VIEW | From Food to Apps to Literacy

Donors’ bequests help preserve farmland, make it easier to get health insurance, and teach children to read. See what you can do as a donor.

New Yorkers crave farm-fresh foods. Yet 5,000 farms in the Hudson Valley are at risk of turning into housing, shops, or business developments. Enter Scenic Hudson, the region’s largest environmental group, which helped convince the State to commit $20 million to conserve farmland in the Hudson Valley. We’re giving the group $50,000 to make sure the State money is spent wisely. It will map the valley to decide which farmland is most important to protect. The group is looking for land that produces food and provides wildlife habitat and contributes to climate resilience. Right: Northwind Farms in Tivoli, a riverside town in Duchess County.

Other food grants: Our $85,000 to Pesticide Action Network of North America will support reducing pesticide use in large-scale farming. Union of Concerned Scientists will use $100,000 for advocacy and public education to make America’s agricultural system more sustainable. Westchester Community Foundation gave $30,000 to Friends of Hilltop Hanover Farm in Yorktown Heights to convert underused land, such as corporate parks, into farms.

READING AND WRITING: Brooke Astor, one of America’s leading philanthropists, loved to read. Today, our Brooke Astor Fund for New York City Education helps nonprofits find new ways to improve young students’ reading skills. In 2014, we supported Union Settlement Association as it tested a literacy program using photography, storytelling, and parental help to build students’ English-language skills.

The result: Reading levels of third-graders in the program advanced five times more than students in the same school who didn’t participate. Our new grant of $441,000 will expand the program to 10 afterschool programs in East Harlem.

Four grants from our Astor Fund will expand reading instruction in afterschool programs run by community groups across the City: $366,000 to The After-School Corporation; $190,000 to CAMBA; $190,000 to the Chinese-American Planning Council; and $195,000 to Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation. Meanwhile, Hunter College of CUNY will use $427,000 to help teachers provide high-quality early reading instruction in East Harlem schools with large numbers of immigrant students.

Right: In a Union Settlement Association program, Fernanda, a third-grader at PS 72 in East Harlem, writes about photos she took of her neighborhood.  

SALUDEN ESPAÑOL: Hispanics make up 28 percent of the City’s population, but 41 percent of those without health insurance. The biggest barriers to enrollment are the complicated costs of co-payments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Enter FAIR Health, which provides up-to-date prices for health plans, procedures, and providers. The group created a free app for English-speakers who want health care information; with our grant, FAIR Health will translate it into Spanish.

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