Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Grants

OVERVIEW: This funder supports needy children in the Archdiocese of New York through education, healthcare, and family services support in Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, and neighboring New York counties. 

FUNDING AREAS: Education, physical and emotional health services, prenatal care, parenting resources, residential care for homeless pregnant mothers, assistance to children of incarcerated mothers

IP TAKE: Consider this funder for your nonprofit efforts to give a fighting chance to impoverished, neglected, abused, emotionally troubled, and physically handicapped children in New York. Reading and math skills and mental health for foster children are central interests.

PROFILE: According to foundation statistics, about 23 percent of children in New York are living in poverty, 68,000 children are victims of abuse, and 21 percent don’t have a secure source of food. These facts are unacceptable to the Alfred E. Smith Foundation, which has made it its mission to bring hope to the neediest children in New York. 

Alfred E. Smith was a Governor of New York and the first Catholic to be nominated by a major political party to be a Presidential candidate. Smith was one of three New York governors to be elected to four terms. He was credited for helping to pass reform legislation and improve factory laws, housing requirements, and welfare services. The foundation was established by His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Spellman in 1946 in Smith’s memory. 

This foundation has a significant amount of power and influence in New York, as shown by the speakers it booked for a recent annual dinner: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In fact, the delivery of keynote addresses by presidential candidates has been a mainstay of this annual dinner. All costs for this prominent event are donated by the board of directors, and the foundation accepts donations, of which 100 percent goes to help needy children in New York.

The three areas of focus at the Smith foundation are education, health services, and family services. For education, this funder is mostly interested in early intervention services, high school graduation rates, and post-secondary education. Health giving is focused on treatment for chronic physical illnesses and emotional wounds, as well as in-home training for adaptive equipment for severely physically handicapped individuals. In the area of family services, Smith gives to organizations that provide prenatal care, parenting training, services for mothers who are homeless, and services for children of incarcerated mothers. 

Past grant recipients include Astor Service for Children and Families, Fidelis Care New York, Good Counsel Homes, and Catholic Big Sisters and Big Brothers. During a recent three-year period, the funder gave $4.4 million to nonprofits. A majority of the giving has been going to health services lately, but the three fields of interest can be pretty evenly split. Of note, the funder also provided $1 million in disaster relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy. 

The foundation does not appear to accept unsolicited grant requests or spell out any way of directly applying for a foundation grant. General questions can be directed to the foundation’s executive director and board at 646-794-3315 or via email at 


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The Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation: Another Poverty-Fighting Funder in New York