OVERVIEW: The New York Community Trust (NYCT) is one of the largest community foundations in the nation. It funds a standard array of causes, but lumps uncommon program areas together, creating a good deal of competition for grantseekers. The average NYCT grant is about $60,000, but the foundation gives out several hundred of those every year.
FUNDING AREAS: Community development, environment, special needs, health, education, arts, justice, youth
IP TAKE: Send your general operating support requests elsewhere, because The NYCT only likes to see project grant requests. Also make sure you're asking for somewhere between $5,000 and $200,000 to be seriously considered.
PROFILE: As New York City’s community foundation, The NYCT plays a vital role in the region’s nonprofit ecosystem. The trust is one of the city’s largest private funders, and many of New York’s diverse communities feel the benefit of their giving, from after-school programs and community gardens, to training programs for unemployed New Yorkers and food programs for the hungry.
The funder's website shares: "You think of an issue area, chances are we fund it—from helping young people in poor neighborhoods to promoting equity in the arts, from making our environment healthier to improving public schools."
The NYCT has been around since 1914, when a Cleveland banker, Frederick Harris Goff, proposed the idea of an organization that would be governed by civic leaders to distribute permanent funds for charitable causes. It was formally established in 1924. The trust is also one of the largest community foundations in the country, managing assets at about $2.5 billion, and providing more than $157 million annually to nonprofits in the city’s five boroughs. Their approach is based on issue areas like Community Development and the Environment, Education, Arts, and Human Justice, and Children, Youth, and Families. The trust has taken creative approaches to combating some of the city's toughest issues, like childhood obesity. Other areas of interest are civic affairs, historic preservation, and technical assistance.
The average NYCT grant has traditionally ranged from $5,000 to $200,000, which the majority averaging about $60,000. Check out the Grants at Work section to get a better idea of what NYCT funds.
For grantseekers, applying for a grant with the trust is straightforward, and proposals are accepted throughout the year. Specific funds within the trust also send out open requests for proposals, so it’s important to stay on top of these to apply for competitive grants. One of the best ways to stay informed is by keeping up with the trust's monthly newsletters.
The NYCT always lists what their current Requests for Proposals (RFPs) are so you know whether now is the best time to submit your application. The Board of Directors reviews grant applications five times a year, and does not fund individuals, building campaigns, films, debt financing, religious causes, or even general operating support. If you have general questions about the application process, give the trust a call at 212-686-0010.
- Patricia Swann, Thriving Communities, Community Development & Technical Assistance Senior Program Officer
- Arturo Garcia-Costas, Thriving Communities, National and NYC Environment Program Officer
- Kerry McCarthy, Thriving Communities, Arts and Historic Preservation Program Director
- Shawn Morehead, Promising Futures and Education and Human Justice Program Director