Give | New York Community Trust | New York, NY
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Let us help with your charitable giving
We can tailor a giving program just for you. Fund effective organizations making a difference in the areas you care about—now and in the future.
Establish a Fund

Whatever your charitable interests, we have a fund for you. 

For donors interested in making life better for New Yorkers across a broad set of issue areas, we suggest our most flexible fund type, the Unrestricted Fund. Gifts to an Unrestricted Fund support effective nonprofits working on the most pressing problems.

For those interested in championing specific causes or communities, a Field-of-Interest Fund is a great choice. Donors define the purpose(s) and we find and fund the best nonprofits to advance the donor’s philanthropic goals.

Designated Fund helps donors provide ongoing support to specific organizationsWe invest the money, regularly make grants in the donor’s name, and monitor these organizations. In the event that an organization goes out of business or changes its mission substantially, Trust staff will allocate the gift in a way consistent with the donor’s charitable intent. 

For those looking to streamline their giving in a tax-efficient way, Donor-Advised Funds allow donors to recommend organizations to receive grants. The Trust handles all of the paperwork.

Donors also can create hybrid funds that blend the characteristics of the categories listed above. For instance, a single fund could be 50 percent field-of-interest, 25 percent designated, and 25 percent unrestricted.

Learn more about how we invest and what assets to give.

Create a Permanent Charitable Legacy

Protect the environment, provide opportunities to children, support artists, improve New York. Whatever you choose to support through your permanent fund in The New York Community Trust, you will be remembered as a champion of the causes dear to you.

More about leaving a legacy
Support Your Causes

Our grantmaking is as broad and ambitious as New York. Some donors give to make this region better for everyone. Others are especially interested in particular areas including:

OPTIONS FOR PRIVATE OR FAMILY FOUNDATIONS

Consider the options for your private foundation. Your foundation can start a fund at The Trust. Or you can dissolve the foundationand avoid the record-keeping the IRS requires, not to mention possible disagreements among heirs or board members in the future. We can carry out your wishes with lower costs and fewer hassles than a private foundation.

MORE ABOUT OPTIONS FOR PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS
Philanthropic Advising

Contact our Vice President for Philanthropic Initiatives Kerry McCarthy at (212) 686-2578 or kem@nyct-cfi.org if you would like more information on our philanthropic advising services. We look forward to working with you.

Learn more about philanthropic advising
Popular ways to give
Last Will and Testament with Fountain Pen
Name The Trust in your will
It's the perfect way to continue supporting your interests after you are gone. Leave a specific amount or percentage in your will. Or leave all or part of your "residuary" estate—what's left after your loved ones are cared for and other specific bequests are fulfilled.
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Choose an issue you care about
From supporting literacy to safeguarding the environment, you can create a fund in The Trust to make a meaningful impact on the issues that matter most to you. More about field-of-interest funds
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Give from your IRA
Donors aged 70-1/2 or older may direct contributions from an IRA directly to a public charity. The “charitable IRA rollover” provision allows you to exclude the IRA distribution from income—instead of taking it into income and claiming a charitable income tax deduction—under certain circumstances. Learn more.
Bridge across the East River
Contribute to our Community Needs Fund
You can help us say “yes” to more great projects addressing New York’s critical needs through our Community Needs Fund. We welcome the participation of new and current donors. We’re delighted to report to you how your money makes an impact.
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Give and learn with others
The Trust hosts a number of giving circles, educational events, and collaboratives. Join our Giving Collective, a Funder Collaborative, or attend events.
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Create a donor-advised fund
You make gifts, and get an immediate tax benefit. Then you recommend grants to charities of your choice: We vet the nonprofits, write the checks, and handle the paperwork. Learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions about Giving
What are the different ways to give through The Trust?
What are the different ways to give through The Trust?

Donors can create Permanent Funds that allow them to champion the causes and communities they care about in perpetuity. Often these funds are created through wills and bequests and are named after their founders or in memory of a loved one. Permanent funds are used to support our competitive grants program, to which nonprofits can apply for funding year-round. Our grantmaking guidelines reflect our strategies in each of the areas in which we fund. These help potential grantees determine if their projects are a good fit for our funding. Our staff review the proposals and organizations and match the most promising projects with available funding.

Donors also can create a Donor-Advised Fund, making contributions using a variety of assets and suggesting grants at their own pace to nonprofits across the country. Donors can get ideas from our staff or pick the organizations on their own.

For decades, The New York Community Trust has brought foundations and committed individuals together to address thorny issues facing New York and beyond through Collaborative Funds. More than 25 collaborative funds housed in The Trust have allowed us to pool resources to make a bigger difference through grantmaking on large, complex issues such as the AIDS epidemic, education, and regional transportation. Some of these collaborations focus on sharing ideas; others are more structured, with governance and administration shaped to fit the collaborators’ needs. Some have a brief life addressing an immediate issue, while others last for decades.

Anyone can make a contribution of any size to our Community Needs Fund, a powerful way to help needy New Yorkers. Gifts are combined with others to allow us to say “yes!” to projects at dozens of nonprofits that improve the lives of residents in need of food, social services, healthcare, housing, child care, and education.

The Trust is a convenient place to create or join a Giving Circle, such as the Giving Collective. Donors can create a fund with multiple advisors that can receive contributions from an unlimited number of members. Giving circles generally share a mission or a giving focus and members contribute to these circles and collectively decide on how to make grants. These donor groups can work with Trust staff to identify recommended grantees, or suggest grants from their fund independently.

How can The Trust help me achieve my charitable goals?
How can The Trust help me achieve my charitable goals?

We work with donors to create personalized funds that use the expertise of our professional staff. We also provide Philanthropic Advising services to donors to help them craft a giving strategy. 

The Trust’s Philanthropic Advising services are available to Individuals, families, foundations, and corporations. They use The Trust to amplify their giving to meet their charitable goals.

New Yorkers want advising tailored to their charitable interests, values, and goals. That’s why every charitable plan we create is different.

Philanthropic Advising clients have included national and family foundations, public charities like the Heisman Trophy Trust, and government entities including the New York State Attorney General. 

Some clients use The Trust in lieu of hiring full-time staff. For some, we provide local expertise outside the focus of their current giving. For others, we create flexible long-term philanthropic plans designed to adapt to tomorrow’s challenges. No matter how clients use The Trust, our flexible model provides a powerful and cost-effective way to make an impact.

Our charitable funds allow donors to give flexibly or to a fixed set of organizations, in perpetuity or right away, suggesting the nonprofits themselves, or relying on our  staff for their expertise. The following fund types can be combined, and donors also can set up multiple funds that meet different goals. 

For donors interested in making life better for New Yorkers across a broad set of issue areas, we suggest our most flexible fund type, the Unrestricted Fund. Gifts to an Unrestricted Fund support effective nonprofits working on important issues.

For those interested in championing specific causes or communities, a Field-of-Interest Fund is a great choice. Donors define the purpose(s) and we find and fund the best nonprofits to advance the donor’s philanthropic goals.

A Designated Fund helps donors provide ongoing support to specific organizations. We invest the money, regularly make grants in the donor’s name, and monitor these organizations. In the event that an organization goes out of business or changes its mission substantially, Trust staff will allocate the gift in a way consistent with the donor’s charitable intent. 

For those looking to streamline their giving in a tax-efficient way, Donor-Advised Funds allow donors to recommend organizations to receive grants. The Trust handles all of the paperwork. 

Donors also can create hybrid funds that blend the characteristics of the categories listed above. For instance, a single fund could be 50 percent field-of-interest, 25 percent designated, and 25 percent unrestricted.

How do permanent funds work?
How do permanent funds work?

Any of our fund types can be created as permanent funds. A donor can create a permanent fund today, or through an estate plan. They also can convert an existing donor-advised fund into a permanent fund. These endowed funds allow us to respond to tomorrow’s urgent needs as well as long-term problems that require patient philanthropic capital.

A donor can set up a fund with a wide variety of assets. We’re experts in working with charitable remainder trusts, lead trusts, retirement assets, and private foundations.

The assets of a permanent fund can be invested to grow principal while making grants each year. Funds at The Trust range from $5,000 to several hundred million.

We work with donors to create a philanthropic strategy that achieves their goals today while planning for the future. Funds can bear their name or that of someone they care about. 

Why is flexibility important when creating a charitable fund?
Why is flexibility important when creating a charitable fund?

We work with our donors to design permanent funds with flexibility, so they are built to withstand the test of time. Flexible funds allow us to respond quickly to unforeseen challenges and crises.

Community foundations such as The Trust also use the “variance power” to change the purpose of a fund if circumstances have changed since the creation of the fund so as to render literal compliance with the fund’s stated purpose unnecessary, undesirable, impractical, or impossible. While this power is not used frequently, it is a useful tool that keeps gifts relevant to the changing needs of the day. The variance power allows the donor to avoid “the dead hand” of philanthropy, or fortunes bound in unbreakable trusts to institutions or causes that were self-serving, narrow, transitory, and peripheral to the public interest.

One example of the variance power at work: A fund was created decades ago to cure a disease that has since been eradicated. Our board can use the variance power to adjust the purpose of the fund, perhaps to cure a similar, but as yet uncured, disease. Another example: if a designated fund is created to support a specific nonprofit that goes out of business, the variance power allows our foundation to vary the purpose of the gift to support similar work at other nonprofits.

What is the value of creating a fund with a century-old institution?
What is the value of creating a fund with a century-old institution?

Our decades of experience equip us to tackle the tough challenges of today and tomorrow. In times of crisis we provide rapid flexible support that critical nonprofits need to survive and help New Yorkers who depend on them. 

We have a track record of helping thousands of New Yorkers create personalized charitable funds that support the causes they care about in response to challenges over time.

Systemic change doesn’t happen overnight. Generous donors allow us to exercise patient philanthropyinvesting in systems change and solutions that may take several years or even decades to come to fruition.

Why give locally?
Why give locally?

Our donors believe that philanthropy is most effective when it is focused locally. Our grantmaking staff have strong relationships with people in our communities and use those relationships to develop a nuanced understanding of the constantly changing landscape of problems and potential solutions. 

We understand that life is complicated, especially for people most in need. So while our grantmaking is focused geographically, it is broad in how it spans issues of housing, education, workforce, race, environment, and gender. Life doesn’t sort itself into neat buckets, and our grantmaking reflects an intersectional and strategic understanding of our world.

Why does The Trust host funder collaboratives?
Why does The Trust host funder collaboratives?

When we see urgent problems that can best be tackled by multiple philanthropies, we join forces and create funder collaboratives. We’ve done this to fight the AIDS crisis, ensure that the state pays what it should to educate city public school children, improve the city’s foster care system, and most recently to provide urgent relief to nonprofits in the initial weeks of the pandemic. We also partnered with other donors to create the Mosaic Network and Fund, an effort to bring new resources to arts organizations led by and serving people of color.

Ways to Give
Champion the causes and charities you care about
Read the “Ways to Give” transcript