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.