The New York Community Trust connects past, present, and future generous New Yorkers with vital nonprofits working to make a healthy, equitable, and thriving community for all.
A public charity, The Trust is a grantmaking foundation dedicated to improving the lives of residents of New York City and its suburbs. We bring together individuals, families, foundations, and businesses to build a better community and support nonprofits that make a difference. We apply knowledge, creativity, and resources to the most challenging issues in an effort to ensure meaningful opportunities and a better quality of life for all New Yorkers, today and tomorrow.
Since 1924, The New York Community Trust has helped make our region a better place for all: Young and old, newcomers and life-long residents. Our work is made possible through the enduring generosity of donors—from teachers and taxi drivers to Rockefellers. Nearly a century after we were founded, The Trust continues to produce a signature brand of philanthropy that is patient, strategic, and effective.
Our diverse mix of professionals are experts in philanthropy, investment, and grantmaking. They are committed to helping donors take their vision for New York and transform it into a long-term plan to change the city for the better.
Twelve dedicated New Yorkers—selected for their judgment, integrity, and understanding of philanthropic needs—serve as our board. Six are nominated by civic authorities: the Mayor of New York City, the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the chairmen of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Partnership for New York City, and the presidents of the City’s Bar Association and the New York Academy of Medicine.
Our financial statements are available. Click button below. If you would like copies or have any questions about our work, contact The Trust.
Philanthropy is most effective done locally. That’s why we created divisions in Westchester and Long Island. They are close to the donors in their communities, steeped in the most important issues, and overseen by boards of committed civic leaders. They work in many areas, from clean water to affordable housing, from job training to afterschool arts programs.
Founded in 1924, The New York Community Trust is a public charity and the New York metropolitan region’s largest community foundation. It serves New York’s five boroughs as well as Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties through its divisions in Long Island and Westchester.
It manages almost $3.5 billion in assets—making us one of the oldest and largest of the roughly 800 community foundations in the U.S.
The Trust connects generous people and institutions with high-impact nonprofits making the city and its suburbs a better place for all. It builds stronger communities, influences public policy, fosters innovation, improves lives, and protects our environment.
The Trust makes thousands of grants to nonprofits each year from more than 2,300 individual charitable funds. Through these individually tailored funds, donors can support specific issue areas, improve the region as a whole, give to specific organizations over time, or suggest grants to nonprofits using our online portal.
Many of these funds are permanent, and allow The Trust to run a robust grantmaking program to which nonprofits can apply year-round. The staff vets grant proposals and organizations and match the most promising projects with available funding. The Trust also brings together nonprofits and funds their work to address complex problems. The board approves hundreds of grants each year, and the staff monitors the implementation of the projects and provides additional funding when it makes sense.
The community foundation funds a broad set of issue areas, including poverty, justice, education, health, arts, environment, LGBTQ, elderly, children and teens, and civic affairs.
Among its family of funds, it manages more than 1,200 donor-advised funds or DAFs—a popular giving vehicle we invented in 1931. DAFs allow donors and advisors they appoint to easily suggest grants to organizations across the country.
As a community foundation, The Trust is uniquely positioned to respond in moments of crisis. It has ready capital to address critical needs and the trust of partners in philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, and government.
Community Funds, Inc., (CFI) is The Trust’s nonprofit corporate affiliate that holds and invests funds established by our donors. It was created by The Trust decades ago to offer donors more flexibility and choices for investing their funds.
Donors can now choose between setting up a fund in The Trust or Community Funds, Inc. Both are public charities and file a combined report with the IRS. If a donor creates a fund in Community Funds, Inc., they have a choice of four investment vehicles appropriate for different grantmaking objectives.
Donors may also establish funds at any one of the 12 trustee banks that have adopted The Resolution and Declaration of Trust creating The New York Community Trust. The trustee bank is the fiduciary and manages the fund; investment performance and asset allocation are monitored by our staff and reviewed by the Investment Committee. Most of our trustee banks have minimums of $1 million or more to establish a trust.
No matter how the donor chooses to create their fund, they can be assured that it will be safeguarded by a professional staff and experienced investment professionals who volunteer countless hours as members of our Investment Committee.
Unlike foundations funded through a single donor, family, or corporation, such as the Ford or the Coca-Cola foundations, The Trust is a community foundation and a public charity. It has a defined geographic focus, bringing together individuals, families, foundations, and corporations through more than 2,300 funds.
Of its twelve-person Distribution Committee, six members are nominated by civic authorities broadly representative of the public. These include the Mayor of New York City, the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the chairs of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Partnership for New York City, the president of the City Bar Association, and the Chairman of the New York Academy of Medicine. Six others are chosen by the Distribution Committee itself for their knowledge of the city’s needs.
More than a century ago, Cleveland banker Frederick Goff had a vision: to pool the charitable resources of his community’s philanthropists into a single, great, and permanent endowment for the betterment of the city. That vision led to the formation of the world’s first community foundation, the Cleveland Foundation, and subsequently the New York Community Trust in 1924.
The 1920s were a time of enormous flux, and banks and their customers understood that times were changing, and that today’s problems were not necessarily going to be tomorrow’s. The community foundation model allowed banks to work with professional grantmakers to steward charitable legacies, making sure gifts were used to stay relevant and respond to the challenges of the day.
Today, nearly 800 U.S. community foundations collectively grant more than $6.5 billion each year and manage more than $82 billion in charitable assets.
“As important as education was to my mother, it was equally important that we remember that the opportunities we had only came because there were people who marched, fought, bled, and died for people like us. I absorbed those messages, and my mission became to develop myself as fully as I could so that I could give back as much as I could.”
Stephen C. Robinson is a Trust board member and Of Counsel at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, LLP. He has a fund at The Trust with his daughter, Dr. Victoria Robinson, who is also a member of The Trust’s Giving Collective.
“My great-grandmother became financially independent at a young age and dedicated the rest of her life to giving back. It has always been my goal to follow in her footsteps and those of my ancestors who were instrumental in establishing some of the most important institutions in the fields of education, social justice, and the arts. Though the world is very different today, as I explore supporting groups working in LGBTQI rights, racial justice, and arts education, it still feels like I am following the path of those who came before me.”
Nick Opinsky is a senior development officer in institutional giving at American Jewish World Service, and a volunteer at several nonprofits. He has a field-of-interest fund in The Trust and is a member of our Legacy Society.