How the New York Community Trust Ended 2015 with Local Grantmaking

The end of the year is a huge time for community foundations, and the New York Community Trust announced $5.1 million in new commitments to 42 nonprofits to finish off 2015. In total, the trust approved $37 million in competitive grants, mostly in the areas of the arts, the environment, education, and job training.

Back in April, we wrote about how the issues in play in NYCT grantmaking included helping former prisoners land jobs, getting tech gurus to teach high schoolers, supporting LGBT immigrants, and getting rid of lead-based paint and fuel.

Related: Where Money from the New York Community Trust Has Been Heading Lately

Some of the most recent grants have a broader impact on areas outside New York City, but here, we are focusing on local giving trends. Let’s take a closer look at how NYCT rounded out 2015.

Preparing Youth for College and Career

This is one of the most notable parts of the trust’s recent grantmaking strategy, which is reflected in its most recent grant cycle.

“We’ve found that programs that reach young people at certain critical junctures have the greatest success,” said Pat Jenny, the trust’s vice president of grants. One example of this is a program that helps young children in foster care keep up with school work. “Our grant to Jewish Child Care Association of New York provides help for foster children at an important time,” Jenny said. “And research shows that only a fraction of high schoolers admitted to college end up graduating. So we’re supporting Graduate NYC! as it works to make sure students get in, enroll and succeed.”

Minority students and former inmates are also targets of the trust’s education grantmaking. It awarded $120,000 to the College and Community Fellowship for scholarships for women released from prison and $144,000 to Mentoring in Medicine for a program to prepare black and Latino college students for medical school with MCAT prep courses, seminars, and test fee aid.

There’s also a big focus here on tech careers, because let’s face it, that’s where the future is headed. The trust gave $100,000 to Advocates for Children of New York to press for career and technical education that meets the needs of students with disabilities and those learning English and $265,000 to the City University of New York for internships to connect students with tech companies.

Community Needs

Under the umbrella of “Community Development and Civic Affairs” funding, NYCT pinpoints a few key issues that need to be addressed on the local level. These issues include financial education for adults, hoarding among senior citizens, and getting residents involved in neighborhood planning processes. To train the city’s next generation of nonprofit leaders, the trust awarded the Bernard M. Baruch College of CUNY $465,000, and it also gave $50,000 to the Neighborhoods First Fund for Community Based Planning to support planning efforts for rezoning and housing development.

Disease Funding 

Last year closed out with a boost of disease funding at the trust across a wide range of diseases. Recent support went toward work in bone cancer, leprosy, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. Disease grants are typically awarded to research institutions and academic institutions, so they often have a broader reach than just New York City. Other recent health grants went towards work in mental health, bacterial infections, and the growing heroin epidemic on Staten Island.  

On a lesser scale, the trust also made a few commitments to the arts, the environment, and historical preservation. To learn more about this funder, check out IP’s profile New York Community Trust: New York City Grants.