Collaborative Funds | New York Community Trust | New York, NY
For almost 40 years, The New York Community Trust has brought foundations together to address thorny issues facing New York City. We have partnered with more than 140 funders through 21 collaboratives, distributing $121 million. 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. Read about the impact of 40 years of funder collaboration in our report "Stronger Together: The Power of Funder Collaboration."

Here are descriptions of our current collaborative funds.

Preparing the youngest New Yorkers for a lifetime of success

In 2017, The Trust brought together a group of funders called Early Childhood Partners NYC, which is committed to preparing all New York City children for lifelong success. Their goal is to expand access to effective early childhood services and improve the systems that influence the wellbeing of young children, especially those from low-income families.  

Research shows that children from poor families who participate in quality early childhood programs are more likely to complete high school, have stable jobs, and earn higher wages. They’re also less likely to be involved with the criminal justice system or receive public assistance as adults. Lack of access to these services contributes significantly to the achievement gap: It is estimated that up to half of children who fail at school can be linked to gaps in quality care and education for preschoolers.

While New York City has led an impressive expansion of prekindergarten, it has not yet created an integrated system of high-quality services for all children under the age of five. City agencies responsible for early childhood programs historically have operated in isolation, with conflicting regulations and requirements for providers. There are significant gaps in services, and quality is inconsistent, mostly due to inadequate funding and a workforce that needs better and more specialized training.

To address these problems, the Partners work closely with public officials, researchers, practitioners, and other leaders in early childhood and related fields to expand proven and promising approaches, test new ideas, improve systems, conduct research, and advocate for policy change.

The Partners make grants to pool funding through a collaborative fund at The Trust. It is  guided by a steering committee that meets quarterly. General members, who contribute at a lower level, are encouraged to participate in networking and learning activities, and align their grantmaking with collaborative projects.  

Grants made by the Partners support:

  • An effort by the New York City Administration for Children’s Services to expand quality early childhood services for infants and toddlers.
  • The evaluation of the City Department of Education’s math-based professional development curriculum for pre-kindergarten programs.
  • The Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy’s campaign to ensure sufficient funding for pre-K across New York State.  


Meet the Funders

Steering Committee

  • Altman Foundation
  • Catherine and Joseph Aresty Foundation
  • Booth Ferris Foundation
  • Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation
  • Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation
  • A.L. Mailman Family Foundation
  • The New York Community Trust
  • Stavros Niarchos Foundation
  • The Edith Glick Shoolman Children’s Foundation
  • Viking Global Foundation

General Members

  • Heckscher Foundation for Children
  • The New York Women’s Foundation
  • The Staten Island Foundation

For more information, contact Natasha Lifton at (212) 686-1089.


Helping on the path out of the shadows

The Fund for New Citizens was established in 1987 after passage of the Immigration Control and Reform Act of 1986. The Fund coordinated foundation efforts to help the City’s immigrants understand and benefit from the new law. At the same time, it seeded the New York Immigration Coalition, now a statewide group of almost 200 immigrant-serving nonprofits.

Since inception, the Fund has continued to help the City’s immigrants understand and respond to complex and oft-changing immigration laws and policies. It has made more than $20 million in grants to groups across the five boroughs that reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the City’s immigrant populations. Its grants support advocacy for policies that benefit the City’s immigrants, capacity-building for immigrant-led groups that anchor this advocacy, and affordable immigration legal services. Also, it provides opportunities for foundations to learn about current immigration issues and coordinate funding that reaches immigrant groups more effectively.

To find out more about the Fund for New Citizens, download our report.

Download Report


  • Established the Immigration Representation Project (IRP), a collaboration of legal
    agencies, which has represented 4,200 low-income immigrants facing deportation and
    provided Know Your Rights information to more than 20,000 immigrants to date;
  • Developed legal service partnerships to provide high-quality, free immigration legal
    assistance at trusted community organizations;
  • Supported partnerships that have helped thousands of immigrants in urgent
    situations, such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians after the 2010
    catastrophic earthquake, and a post-September 11, 2001, special immigration
    registration program for Arab, Muslim, and South Asian men;
  • Helped scores of young immigrants obtain Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
    (DACA), which has temporarily afforded undocumented young people the
    opportunity to live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation; and
  • Provided resources and technical assistance to build the capacity of more than 70
    immigrant-led, grassroots organizations throughout the five boroughs.


Meet the Funders:

  • Altman Foundation
  • Booth Ferris Foundation
  • FJC, A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds
  • Foundation to Promote Open Society
  • The New York Community Trust
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation
  • The Clark Foundation
  • Ford Foundation
  • Harman Family Fund
  • New York Foundation
  • RCHN Community Health Foundation

Training workers to fill tomorrow’s jobs

In 2001, a group of foundations established the New York City Workforce Funders. Their goal: to make the City’s workforce development system more responsive to the needs of workers and employers. The funders, now numbering 60, meet quarterly, along with colleagues from key public and nonprofit groups to share ideas and information.

About a dozen foundations make grants to a collaborative fund at The Trust to develop joint projects that test innovations or provide management assistance to many of the more than 140 nonprofits that train New Yorkers for jobs.

The Fund’s first two grants were used to help youth employment organizations manage dramatic increases in federal funding in 2001, and to build the financial systems of workforce organizations. In 2004, the Workforce Funders joined with the City’s Department of Small Business Services to focus on the health care and biotechnology sectors. That collaboration led the City to design a number of its employment programs to particular economic sectors, making them more effective.

The City’s job market has seen dramatic shifts in recent years. Some industries have disappeared, while others are expanding and need skilled workers. Many of the City’s new jobs are in lower-paying industries like hotels, restaurants, and retail. But big, fast-growing technology companies also are adding jobs—think Facebook and Google—and hiring skilled workers at a rapid pace. Meanwhile, the need for health care workers continues to grow. New Yorkers need to be trained for all of these new jobs.

In 2013, the Workforce Funders commissioned the Re-Envisioning the New York City Workforce System Report, which envisions a redesigned workforce system driven by employers’ needs. The report outlined a framework for the City administration to develop a bold new model—one that places a high priority on training and job placement through sector-focused industry partnerships led by employers.

NYC Workforce Funders’ Projects

The Workforce Funders have supported three industry partnerships based at the NYC Department of Small Business Services.

  • New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare, started in 2011, creates partnerships for careers in health care with trade associations and their hospitals, community health centers, and nursing homes, as well as the largest health care labor union in the region.
  • NYC Tech Talent Pipeline, established in 2014, brings together technology industry leaders from more than 60 companies to shape curricula, assess potential talent, and support the development, delivery, and evaluation of new and expanded programs designed to equip workers for 21st century technology jobs.
  • The NYC Food & Beverage Hospitality Council, created in 2015, is an alliance of more than 30 leading NYC industry professionals and businesses that promotes the sustained growth of the local food and beverage industry. It supports training opportunities for workers; helps small businesses navigate government regulations; monitors industry trends; and identifies changes businesses can make to meet new challenges.

Two other signature initiatives:

  • The Field Building Hub, housed at the Workforce Professionals Training Institute, which is a 2016 initiative to strengthen workforce development in three ways: introduce key innovations in employment services, bolster the skills of individuals and organizations, and establish a system to identify and assess gaps in capacity.
  • Workforce Advocacy Academy, managed by New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP), which trains New York workforce development organizations in advocacy and lobbying.

Meet the Funders

Since 2001, the Workforce Funders have raised more than $12 million, along with more than $8 million in aligned funding, for its collaborative projects from the following private current funders:

  • Altman Foundation
  • Brooklyn Community Foundation
  • The Clark Foundation
  • Robert Sterling Clark Foundation
  • Ira W. DeCamp Foundation
  • Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation
  • James and Judith K. Dimon Foundation
  • Ford Foundation
  • Bernard F. and Alva B. Gimbel Foundation
  • William T. Grant Foundation
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Kate Spade & Company
  • Leon Lowenstein Foundation
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Mizuho USA Foundation
  • MUFG Foundation
  • National Fund for Workforce Solutions
  • The New York Community Trust
  • Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation
  • The Pinkerton Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Rockefeller Foundation
  • Taconic Foundation
  • Tiger Foundation
  • United Way of New York City

For more information, contact Pat Jenny at (212) 686-7069.

DEC square

Making New York City public schools better for all students

In the early 1990s, 17 foundation presidents, including The Trust’s, began meeting to find ways to make the City a better place to live. They decided to focus on improving schools, and in 1995 The Trust created the Donors’ Education Collaborative (DEC). With 1.1 million students in nearly 1,800 schools, New York’s public school system is the largest in the country. The cost and logistics of managing it are daunting.

DEC’s founding premise is that broad-based change in schools requires an active, informed, and diverse constituency. Effective reform is grounded in research and carried out in partnership with parents, students, educators, and other community members. Therefore, member foundations pool funds to make grants for research, advocacy, and community organizing to advance equity, opportunity, and excellence for all students, including those facing the greatest challenges.

To find out more about the Donors’ Education Collaborative, download our report.

Download Report

Funder Testimonials

“We joined the Donors’ Education Collaborative because of its focus on improving the system for students who are often left behind, such as immigrants, those living in poverty, and those with disabilities or special needs. DEC’s grantmaking addresses problems broadly, allowing us to extend our reach to help many more children than we could working alone.”
– Tanya Herbick, DEC member and senior program officer, Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation.

“Working with the collaborative, the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation can help tackle inequality and improve the quality of instruction for all students by examining the issues and supporting strategies that move the entire education system in a positive direction.”
– Nicole Leach, DEC member and education program officer at Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation.


  • The A+NYC Coalition worked with diverse communities to develop and advocate for an education policy platform during the 2012 and 2013 mayoral campaign. Many recommendations were adopted by the new administration, including expanding pre-kindergarten, creating more community schools, reforming school discipline and policing, and strengthening parent-community partnerships.
  • The Dignity in Schools Campaign—NY won revisions to the City’s School Discipline Code, reducing the emphasis on automatic suspension while increasing help for struggling students. Suspensions have decreased dramatically in recent years.
  • Litigation, led by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, culminated in the Education and Budget Reform Act of 2007, which with continued advocacy by the Alliance for Quality Education helped bring more than a billion dollars in additional funding to the City’s schools.

Current Funders

  • Catherine and Joseph Aresty Foundation
  • Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation
  • Booth Ferris Foundation
  • Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation
  • Fordham Street Foundation
  • The New York Community Trust
  • Schott Foundation for Public Education
  • Trinity Wall Street Grants Program
cultural agenda fund

Supporting cultural advocacy, policy, and equity in New York City

Established in 2014, the New York City Cultural Agenda Fund in The New York Community Trust is a joint effort of grantmaking organizations that aims to:

  • Strengthen Advocacy: Fortify and connect arts and culture advocates in New York City;
  • Influence Policy: Promote a cohesive and equitable cultural policy and integrate culture into City policies;
  • Advance Equity: Ensure small, community arts groups, groups led by people of color, and culturally and economically diverse artists are as valued for their contributions to the City’s culture as larger institutions.

The Fund makes grants to support research, technical assistance, and other initiatives that advance its goals. It also organizes briefings to review research in arts and culture, and pushes for the findings to be implemented.


  • Booth Ferris Foundation
  • Robert Sterling Clark Foundation
  • Lambent Foundation
  • The New York Community Trust
  • Stavros Niarchos Foundation
  • Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  • David Rockefeller Fund

If you are a funder interested in joining the Fund, please contact program associate Michele K. Baer at or (212) 686-0010 x 658.



To encourage dialogue among arts advocates, funders, and policymakers, the Fund regularly organizes briefings. For instance:

  • The Fund brought together cultural advocates, City officials, and arts funders to learn from other cities that have taken on cultural planning, including Boston, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, and Tucson (watch the archived livestream on YouTube);
  • The Fund hosted a public meeting at El Museo del Barrio that explored real-life policy programs on cultural and racial equity in Seattle and Nashville, and discussed their implications for the future of New York City’s cultural policy (also archived on YouTube).


Since 2014, the Cultural Agenda Fund has been making investments in advocacy, policy, and equity efforts around New York City. Our grants include:

  • With a $125,000 grant, BRIC worked with the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), Mark Morris Dance Group, and Theatre for a New Audience to pilot the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Management Fellowship, a paid fellowship for emerging arts administrators from historically underrepresented groups.
  • A $75,000 grant helped El Puente work with Arts & Democracy, Center for Urban Pedagogy, Hester Street Collaborative, and Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts New York (NOCD-NY) to start its Blueprint for Culturally Healthy Communities, guiding principles of a “culturally healthy community” in two neighborhoods the De Blasio administration has identified for rezoning.
  • Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts New York used $125,000 to work with Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education, Community Voices Heard, Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement, Staten Island Arts, and others to coordinate a citywide program to increase creative expression and artistic development in public housing communities.
  • Eleven community organizing grants totaling $97,000 helped to ensure that a plurality of voices and perspectives influenced the development of New York City’s first cultural plan. The Fund also made a grant to Hester Street Collaborative, which worked with Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts and artEquity to train community organizing grantees.
  • A $400,000 grant to Race Forward provided racial equity training, coaching, and support to 60 arts groups. Groups in the program receive participant stipends, and a select number are awarded $10,000 bonus stipends to implement their racial equity work plans.
  • Two grants totaling $244,035 to the University of Pennsylvania’s Social Impact of the Arts Project went towards new research that developed measures of social wellbeing for New York City and documented the relationship between wellbeing and the City’s cultural ecology. The group published its findings.

Download a summary of our grants to date.


Ensuring a fair and accurate count

The New York State Census Equity Fund will support efforts to ensure a fair and accurate count of New York State residents in the 2020 Census. The Fund will coordinate the allocation of philanthropic resources to ensure coverage of the State’s hard-to-count areas, as well as share Census-related information with the philanthropic sector. The Fund will:

  • Direct resources to community-based groups working to ensure a fair and accurate count in New York’s hardest-to-count neighborhoods, towns and rural areas;
  • Support statewide efforts that promote Census equity, including media/communications, advocacy, and technology and other technical assistance that benefits groups throughout the State;
  • Coordinate philanthropic Census-related activities with appropriate government entities, including the Census Bureau’s regional office, and state and local government officials; and
  • Facilitate learning opportunities so that funders around the State are informed about and up to date on the 2020 Census.

Find out how you can make an individual contribution.

Mosaic Fund Logo

In 2017, The Trust and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation co-commissioned a report from Yancey Consulting to understand the health and viability of African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA) arts groups in New York City. Using data on groups’ finances, operations, and programmatic outputs, the study demonstrated an urgent need to address ALAANA arts groups’ thrivability. Soon after, in 2018, the Mosaic Network and Fund (the Fund) was established to direct more resources to arts groups that are led by, created for, and accountable to ALAANA people. With values rooted in racial equity (and acknowledgement of the need to also address other forms of oppression), the Fund aims to:

  • Create a learning community of arts funders and practitioners who are dedicated to helping ALAANA arts organizations thrive;
  • Provide flexible and strategic support that strengthens the organizational capacity of ALAANA arts organizations in New York City;
  • Advocate for more equitable policies and practices for ALAANA cultural workers;
  • Shift the narrative around ALAANA arts groups and racial equity in the arts; and
  • Increase overall philanthropic support for City-based ALAANA arts groups by facilitating funder commitments to new grantees.

In 2019, the Fund will host a series of learning exchanges to connect funders with ALAANA arts practitioners and facilitate mutual learning and community building. After, it will launch a program to provide multi-year flexible grants alongside other strategies to enhance ALAANA arts groups in New York City.


  • Altman Foundation
  • Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation
  • Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
  • Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art
  • Ford Foundation
  • Howard Gilman Foundation
  • Grantmakers in the Arts
  • Stavros Niarchos Foundation
  • The New York Community Trust

For more information about the Fund, please contact Salem Tsegaye at

Past Collaborative Funds
Past Collaborative Funds

We opened our first funder collaborative in 1977, in response to New York City’s fiscal crisis with the creation of the Corporate Special Projects Fund. Other past efforts included:

  • The Neighborhood Revitalization Program supported community development groups creating low-income housing in tax-foreclosed properties and revitalizing local commercial strips from 1978 to 1991.
  • The New York City AIDS Fund, which operated from 1989 to 2014, and brought together foundations, City and State agencies, nonprofits, and those living with HIV/AIDS for a sustained local response to the epidemic.
  • One Region Fund coordinated efforts of funders in the tri-state region to invest in advocacy for transit improvements and grants to stimulate transit-centered development around commuter rail stations from 2006 to 2014.
  • The Hive Digital Media Learning Fund was started with support from the John D. and Catherine MacArthur Foundation in 2010 to promote adolescents’ learning through digital media. It provided $7.2 million in grants and developed 100 educational programs, working with museums, libraries, and youth-serving agencies. In 2016, the Hive Fund was transferred to the Mozilla Foundation. Download a report on the impact of the Hive Fund.