New York Community Trust: Grants for LGBT

OVERVIEW: The New York Community Trust is comprised of more than 2,000 charitable funds and has been in operation for nearly 90 years. With total assets exceeding $2 billion and more than $144 million in grants, the NYCT is a powerhouse funder for causes of social, economic, and environmental justice. 

IP TAKE: The NYCT is particularly strong on helping LGBT seniors and minorities, providing legal assistance, and aiding victims of HIV/AIDS. Organizations must be working in the New York metropolitan area to be considered for funding.

PROFILE: The New York Community Trust (NYCT) is one of the largest trusts in the nation actively supporting LGBT rights. The trust reports total assets in excess of $2 billion and has regularly distributed over $140 million in grants annually. The NYCT has been in operation since 1924 and is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation. Comprised of more than 2,000 charitable funds, the trust has become a major funding institution.  The NYCT is not by any means limited to LGBT funding and supports a wide array of causes related to social, economic, and environmental justice.  

Grantseekers should be aware, first and foremost, that with very limited exceptions the NYCT is only interested in funding work in the five boroughs of the metropolitan New York area. Additionally, the NYCT does not "not make grants to individuals and rarely for endowments, building campaigns, deficit financing, films, general operating support, or religious purposes." Projects with "particular significance" for New York City are given priority; this applies for all categories of grants, including those for LGBT-related work.

The NYCT has four main categories of funding: Children, Youth & Families; Community Development & the Environment; Health and People with Special Needs; and Education, Arts & Human Justice. While most foundations keep their LGBT funding under one program, at NYCT, grants for LGBT services are awarded through various programs, often its Children, Youth & Families program and Education, Arts & Human Justice program.  Some areas of LGBT support on which the NYCT has been particularly strong are providing legal assistance, aiding individuals with HIV/AIDS, and providing services to elderly or economically disadvantaged LGBT's as well as LGBT's of color. 

In recent years the NYCT has continued its support for the LGBT community in New York City, with most grants ranging between $25,000 and $100,000.  For example, the Center for Anti-Violence Education was awarded $25,000 "to expand an anger-management program for homeless gay youth to a program for HIV-positive youth and to an emergency shelter." The Griot Circle, a Brooklyn-based organization helping elderly gays and lesbians of color, received $40,000 to expand its services.  Continuing its propensity for funding projects aimed at providing legal help to LGBT's, the NYCT awarded $70,000 to the New York Civil Liberties Foundation (NYCLF) "to help gay men and lesbians understand their changing legal rights." The NYCT also announced that, through its "Gay and Gray" funding program, it was awarding $30,000 to the Queens Community House for a variety of "services for gay and lesbian elders." The trust also awarded $53,000 to Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) to redesign and expand its services for the elderly in the city. A more comprehensive list of recent grants awarded can be found here.

Grant requests are accepted throughout the year and reviewed five times annually; detailed instructions for how to apply can be found here.