OVERVIEW: Like several other New York philanthropies, the Carnegie Corporation of New York has very specific goals in mind. Only higher education and civic engagement grants are awarded in the city of New York, and immigrant groups receive special attention. Carnegie does not have a special grantmaking program dedicated exclusively to the city of New York and although rarely funded, unsolicited proposals are accepted throughout the year.
FUNDING AREAS: Civil engagement, citizenship, K-16 education
IP TAKE: Carnegie has a lot of money to go around, but the foundation is only willing to work with niche programs in education and civic engagement. New York-based nonprofits should focus their attention on getting immigrants to graduate with advanced degrees and become more involved in their communities.
PROFILE: You don't have to be a New Yorker to be familiar with the Carnegie name, but it helps. Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish immigrant who expanded the American steel industry, started his philanthropic foundation in 1911 and became one of the highest profile philanthropists of his time. Most notably, the Carnegie Corporation has established more than 2,500 Carnegie libraries, the National Research Council, the Children's Television Workshop, and numerous book publications and radio shows.
Past goals of the foundation have been to to expand higher education for women and minorities, promote public broadcasting, address youth health needs, and maintain world peace. Today the biggest domestic focuses are on better educational opportunities for Americans and democracy for immigrants and voter participation. Current financial data can be viewed here.
Carnegie awards a lot of international grants, but its local program is twofold: preserving American democracy and expanding educational opportunities. Carnegie favors secondary and higher education programs more than early childhood initiatives. It also likes to see proposals that serve immigrants and low-income populations in the city. When it comes to education, Carnegie pushes for Common Core Standards, next generation assessments, and innovative classroom designs.
Immigrants are also the key focus of Carnegie's civil integration and participation program, which emphasizes pluralism and youth training. When it comes to civil engagement, Carnegie takes a nonpartisan approach to favor policy development and immigrant integration.
Carnegie grantmaking has been trending towards education lately. Not too long ago, Carnegie announced a $10 million grant to help four school districts design and open new schools in New York, Detroit, Cleveland, and Philadelphia. Carnegie has also teamed up with others, like the Gates Foundation and the Walton Foundation, to expand charter schools around the country.
Although Carnegie doesn't seek out unsolicited grant proposals, it occasionally does fund them. The foundation tends to favor proposals for specific program support over ones for general operating support. Carnegie tends to award more than $120 million in grants each year, spread among 400 to 500 non-profit organizations.
To search for recent grantees by year or program, check out the foundation's Grants Database page.
You'll need to get the ball rolling with a letter of inquiry submitted through the foundation's website. There are no deadlines, and letters are reviewed on a continual basis. The foundation staff will send you an email if they're declining or accepting your application, which usually takes about four to six weeks. Carnegie steers clear of all political campaigns, religious causes, fundraisers, and individual requests. Your phone call to check on the status of your LOI is not welcomed. However, you can reach the staff with general inquiries at 212-371-3200 or via online form.
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