Fordham Street Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder mainly supports organizations and programs that help children of color succeed in school in New York City and in Washington, D.C. Grants are awarded once per year, and unsolicited applications are accepted.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, homeless children, domestic violence

IP TAKE: This is a good funder to get to know if you work with public schools in New York City. FSF is very targeted with its local grantmaking.

PROFILE: The Fordham Street Foundation (FSF) is based in New York City and was established by Judy Bigelow, who grew up on Fordham Street in Pocatello, Idaho. She experienced a life of economic security and educational enrichment and wishes the same for disadvantaged children. Bigelow was previously a partner at K&L Gates, a real estate and finance firm, and a partner at Social Venture Partners.

Fordham Street is interested in improving public education, helping students of color succeed, and reducing disparities in schools. It makes grants to improve both academic and physical environments of schools. It has been actively involved in the Donors’ Education Collaborative in New York City, a funding group committed to public education reform and managed by the New York Community Trust. FSF also works to prevent domestic violence and enrich the lives of homeless children.

The foundation has recently limited its review and funding of proposals to groups that help children of color succeed in school, to reduce disparities in education, and to improve public education overall. Human services and direct services within these focus areas are considered for grants. Capital support and endowment requests will not likely be funded.

FSF awards two sustaining grants each year up to $65,000 per year for up to three years. This is unrestricted support intended to build grantee capacity and improve program quality and innovation. Only groups that have received an FSF grant in the past may apply for a sustaining grant.

FSF also awards one-year program grants of up to $20,000 to help children of color do well in school. Grant recipients must wait at least four years to apply for a subsequent program grant. Preference is given to organizations in New York City and Washington, D.C. Groups from other areas must email the foundation prior to applying. 

Apply by email. Mail and delivery service applications are accepted but not preferred. Grants are awarded once per year, and applications are due each year on January 15. Grantees are notified of the funder’s decision by May 30. Support has gone to Family Life Academy Charter Schools, Let’s Get Ready, Techbridge Girls, and Generation Schools Network. A list of grantees can be viewed here.

Questions should be directed to founder Judy Bigelow at info@fordhamstreet.org. The address is 599 Lexington Avenue, New York City, New York 10022. Keep up with this funder through its blog.

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