Here’s a New York City Funder that Cares about Teen Pregnancy

The Jerome L. Greene Foundation is locally known as a funder of the arts, education, health, and social justice. Although Greene funds initiatives nationwide, there’s a definite focus on New York City.

Greene recently made local news with a $3 million grant to prevent teen pregnancy in the Bronx. Why the Bronx, you ask?

This is a borough where teenage pregnancy rates are higher than pretty much anywhere else in America. According to recent statistics, teenagers accounted for 86.4 of every 1,000 pregnancies in the Bronx, compared to 65 pregnancies citywide and 26.5 percent nationwide. Wow. 

“When teens are having trouble, because of financial or cultural barriers, accessing contraception and other reproductive health care services, we see unintended pregnancies,” said Haydee Morales, the vice president for education and training at Planned Parenthood of New York City. “This is, in part, what’s happening in the Bronx.”

Greene’s recent $3 million went to the Montefiore Health System, which provides medical, mental, dental, and community health services to over 40,000 Bronx students. Lots of Bronx schools don’t have a health clinic, and these funds will be going to a program serving 22,000 underserved students in grades 9 to 12. Services will include STD screenings, family planning, informational tables, and recruiting youth support workers. If successful in the Bronx, the Montefiore School Health Program hopes to expand this model throughout New York and across the country.

Foundation president Christina McInerney said,

A fundamental component of the program will be a rigorous analysis of its results. If the results are positive, we hope that the Montefiore/Greene Foundation Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative will serve as a prototype for similar programs across the country. The Jerome L. Greene Foundation has supported efforts in reproductive healthcare for many years, and this new grant strengthens both our and Montefiore’s mission to build a better future for today’s youth.

So will more New York funders start paying attention to teen pregnancy in their own backyard? This is a funding area that doesn’t get a whole lot of support, but a $3 million gift like this one could draw a little more attention. Preventing teen pregnancy is a key to battling poverty and ensuring opportunity, so it would make sense for more funders interested in improving the life chances of New York's young people to invest in this area. 

Interestingly, most of Greene’s reproductive health falls in line with its social justice program, rather than its health category. Greene is a big supporter of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood of New York City. Green gave the NYC chapter a million dollars to provide IUDs and Nexplanon implants at no cost or greatly reduced cost for women who are uninsured or simply couldn't pay pay out-of-pocket. These pregnancy prevention devices involve a high initial cost, but are effective for three to five years.

Unfortunately for grantseekers, the Greene Foundation does not accept any unsolicited proposals for funds, whether teen pregnancy-related or otherwise. It’s been on the grantmaking scene since 1978. New York City is the main focus of grantmaking, but New Jersey and Pennsylvania sometimes see some Greene support as well. Greene last reported assets of about $315 million.

This private funder is run by a staff of two and a board of three, as well as a financial advisory committee. The best way to get in touch is by calling 212-688-1550 or emailing letters@JLGreene.org