Annual Report 2019 - The New York Community Trust

Lighting the Way

with Compassion

A close-up of the Statue of Liberty's original torch.


This report highlights just a few of the stories that illustrate how The New York Community Trust has made lives better since 1924.

Over the decades, we have carefully built an endowment, which gives us the resources for a sudden crisis—or to draw upon year after year to shape systemic change. In addition, we have built a wealth of knowledge, so we choose smart solutions and effective nonprofits to carry them out. Our record of success and relationship-building has also enabled us to address some large-scale challenges through partnerships that combine targeted funds.

Welcome to The New York Community Trust. Like the region we serve, we are dedicated individuals and groups from a wide range of backgrounds.

United in our compassion, we are improving the quality of life for all people in New York City and its adjacent suburbs.

Illustration of the NYC Skyline

The Statue of Liberty in the distance and a close-up of the original torch in an accessible museum.
The Trust funded the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation to preserve and move the original torch into an accessible museum that could serve all visitors. Photo by Tod Seelie


The stories that you read in this report are a result of The Trust connecting generous donors and grantees doing critical work. We are honored to create these connections and grateful to all who make this a stronger, safer, and more welcoming community.

A letter from President Lorie Slutsky and Board Chair Valerie Peltier on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how we’re bringing communities together to make life better in New York. Read below.

“We want the ability to live, love, laugh, and learn, and be in the struggle for our lives just like everyone else,” said Gregg Mozgala, an award-winning actor with cerebral palsy. In NYC, there are about one million people with disabilities, including 250,000 children. Today, the needs of people with disabilities are viewed more holistically and equitably. Read how The Trust has helped lead that evolution.

Whether you care about fighting for justice, preserving the environment, or providing young people with opportunities, you’ll be inspired by the promising programs identified by The Trust’s professional grantmakers and funded through our endowment.

Meet some of our incredible donors who have found joy through giving back; find out how to transform your desire to help into ongoing assistance; and learn about our new Legacy Society.

Since 1924, we’ve been working with lawyers and financial advisors to help their clients with philanthropy. Let us help you. Read how we can help your clients.

Our board members ensure that The Trust fulfills its mission to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers. Meet the members.

See our financial highlights, and our complete audited 2019 Financials.

View a full list of funds in The New York Community Trust, Long Island Community Foundation, and the Westchester Community Foundation.

View a full list of organizations that received more than $25,000 in 2019—including competitive grants recommended by our staff, and those suggested by advisors of individual funds.


Trust board and staff on a kayak in the Flushing Bay.
ALL IN A ROW: Trust board and staff join Guardians of Flushing Bay for an educational tour of this Queens waterfront area. Photo by Ari Mintz


Welcoming All to Work Together

Lady Liberty, a beloved symbol of our country, perfectly embodies our work at The New York Community Trust. The Statue of Liberty welcomes people to the grand experiment that is America. Nowhere is the success of this experiment more evident than our own multicultural, polyglot New York City. New Yorker Emma Lazarus captured the message, and mission, of this icon with these words forged in bronze at the statue’s base: “From her beacon-hand/Glows world-wide welcome.”

New York City welcomes new arrivals and then cares for them as our own. We thrive because of our commitment to work together despite our differences. The spirit of collaboration is also in the DNA of The New York Community Trust. The Trust is proud to have funded the relocation of the statue’s original torch to the new museum on Liberty Island so the 16-foot-tall copper beacon is more accessible to all visitors.

For almost 100 years, The Trust has brought together a community of generous donors and effective grantees to better the lives of all New Yorkers. Often we patiently push for systemic reform, but The Trust’s intimate understanding of the city also allows us to respond quickly in a crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic hit the city as we were finishing this report. As the catastrophic impact became clear, our ability to convene meaningful coalitions enabled us to reach out to our colleagues in the philanthropic community and quickly raise more than $105 million for struggling nonprofits.

The value of joint effort and inclusion is integral to The Trust’s vision of improving the quality of life for all who live and work here. We believe in order for everyone to advance, all of us need to engage in the process, making sure no one is lost along the way. The pandemic showed in stark terms the heightened vulnerability of so many of our neighbors. At The Trust, we will continue to look out for those who might otherwise be left behind amid New York’s signature hustle and bustle.

In this report, you will read about The Trust’s decades-long commitment to ensure that children and adults with disabilities are able to participate in the life of New York City, Long Island, and Westchester. Our work predates the 1990 passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and we are proud our donors have long understood that like other disenfranchised populations, people with disabilities struggle for equal access to work, education, and the public amenities many of us take for granted, like transportation.

In so many ways, New York represents the best of the best. We are brilliant doctors and phenomenal prodigies, financial wizards and inspirational teachers, soul-stirring artists and heroic single parents. But we always do better when we connect with those around us. Inclusion is important because the true genius of New York arises not from any one person, but from the sharing of ideas and resources. We know our future prosperity is rooted in the celebration of our differences. The New York Community Trust is proud of its history of welcoming all and we will continue to make these connections possible to ensure the city is more vibrant, just, and safe.

"We know our future prosperity is rooted in the celebration of our differences."
– Chair Valerie S. Peltier and President Lorie A. Slutsky

Actor Vincent D’Onofrio teaching a master class for actors with disabilities at the Queens Theatre.
STAGE DIRECTIONS: Actor Vincent D'Onofrio teaches a master class for Kerry McMenamin and other actors with disabilities at a program at Queens Theatre that aims to improve their opportunities to find work in the field. Photo by Ari Mintz

Feature Story: A Fight for Equity

A look at decades of making life better for people with disabilities

“We want the ability to live, love, laugh, and learn, and be in the struggle for our lives just like everyone else,” said Gregg Mozgala, an award-winning actor with cerebral palsy.

In New York City today, there are about one million people with disabilities, including 250,000 children. People with a disability are half as likely to be employed and twice as likely to live in poverty. Less than 17 percent of students with disabilities graduate with a diploma. Many still do not have equal access to the city’s myriad opportunities and services including, jobs, education, transportation, the arts, and civic participation.

Mozgala is the director of inclusion with Queens Theatre, which, through its Theatre for All program, is working to ensure people with disabilities are in the audience, in the repertoire, on stage, and on staff.

Support for this effort is one of the latest steps The New York Community Trust has taken across the decades to promote equity for people with disabilities. The Trust has been, and remains, a key ally in New York City, Westchester, and Long Island. Read about our fight for disability justice.

“It’s especially important to provide supports for children with disabilities, because the benefits of these early efforts grow with them throughout their lifetimes.”
– Rachel Pardoe, New York Community Trust Program Officer

Additional sections

See more content from the Annual Report.

Girls in a SoundWaters program seine fishing for creatures in the Long Island Sound. Photo by Michael Bagley.
Grants in Action

Grantmaking with Precision and Strength

In a place as complicated and frenetic as New York, finding ways to create a better city for us all means moving with precision and strength.

For The Trust, moving with precision starts with our program officers, who stay engaged in their fields of expertise. Using funds from our donors, who have left legacies through permanent funds to champion causes they care about, The Trust staff looks for opportunities to support the most promising improvements to, and innovations in, the systems and services on which New Yorkers rely. The New York Community Trust is particularly proud of our role in bringing people together to create a better New York for us all. Meet some of our grantees.

Donors and staff tour the Javits Center green roof in the spring of 2019.
Become a Donor

Make a Difference: Today and Forever.

Turn your desire to help into ongoing assistance.

Simple: Starting a fund with us is simple and easy. Most funds can be started with just a letter of agreement or a single paragraph in a will.

Powerful: Our experts evaluate nonprofits to make sure grants go to well-managed, accountable nonprofits doing work that has impact.

Tax-Smart: Because The New York Community Trust is a public charity, donors get the maximum benefit allowed by law. Learn more about being a donor.

Aerial view of New York City
For Attorneys & Financial Advisors

Let Us Help You Help Your Clients

During the estate planning process, clients often involve their lawyer or financial advisor to help them shape their charitable giving, but ultimately clients need to decide what causes are important to them, how they want to structure their giving, and whether they want to involve family members.

Since 1924, we’ve been working with lawyers and financial advisors to help their clients with philanthropy. The Trust is the right choice for thousands of generous New Yorkers because of our staff of experts, range of giving options, capacity to accept complicated assets, knowledge of community needs, and efficient management. Find out how we can help your clients.

A group photo of The Trust board members at a therapeutic riding facility with horses in the background.
Meet Our Board

Leading Us Forward

Our board members ensure that The Trust fulfills its mission to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers.

Twelve dedicated New Yorkers—selected for their judgment, integrity, and understanding of philanthropic needs—serve as both the Distribution Committee of The Trust and as the Board of Directors of Community Funds, Inc. Meet our board.

Folded newspapers stacked
In the News

The Trust was featured in many news outlets in  2019. We featured some of these clips in our Annual Report. See the articles here.

Download the Annual Report

Download the 2019 Annual Report

NYCT Annual Report 2019