NY Community Trust Takes $42 Million Gift to Address Education

In 2013, The New York Community Trust will make a huge push to tackle the reading struggles of disadvantaged students thanks to a major $42 million gift from the estate of Brooke Astor. The Trust received the donation in December, after a settlement was reached regarding Astor's estate. (See New York Community Trust: Grants for New York City).

The trust is administering The Brooke Astor Fund for New York City Education, and the majority — $35 million — will be given to nonprofits over the next five years. The trust will also send a request for proposals. Although the fund will support primarily reading programs, overall it will be used to support education efforts in NYC.

The remaining $7 million will be given to several NYC educational and cultural institutions in 2013. Among the organizations eligible for grants are the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Morgan Library and Museum, Carnegie Hall, Rockefeller University and the Brooklyn Museum.

"The New York Community Trust is honored to be able to carry out Brooke Astor's charitable legacy," said Lorie A. Slutsky, president of The New York Community Trust, in a statement. "In a city of truly great philanthropists, her personal connection to the New Yorkers she helped was singular. We're grateful that we can combine our experience in the field of education together with Mrs. Astor's vision to help our youngest students get a great start."

Astor was longtime New York City philanthropist who was active in a number of charities and foundations throughout the city. She passed away in 2007, and the legal case surrounding her estate came about after it was discovered her son was stealing money from her. The settlement came in late 2012, and allowed $100 million to be given to charity.

"The Community Trust knows firsthand the challenges that face students from New York City's disadvantaged communities, as well as their parents and teachers," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "This landmark fund will make a real and lasting difference for future generations of New Yorkers."

The Brooke Astor Fund will complement The NYCT's already robust education giving. The education program at the trust seeks "to ensure New York City's public schools prepare students for success in college and the workforce, and for participating in public life as creative and responsible citizens." (Read NYCT program officer, Kerry McCarthy's IP profile).