Starr Foundation: New York City Grants

OVERVIEW: The Starr Foundation has a lot of money to go around, and it gives primarily to health and education causes. Although the foundation very strongly discourages unsolicited grant proposals, it does have a medium-sized staff that makes itself accessible to grantseekers.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, medicine and healthcare, human needs, public policy, culture and the environment

IP TAKE: Since this foundation doesn't like to be bothered by outsiders, you need to hone in on it's trigger points to get noticed. Starr loves to see programs that benefits elderly citizens and people with disabilities. Keep you focus local on New York City and see what you can do to boost its most fragile residents.

PROFILE: Founded in 1955 by insurance entrepreneur, Cornelius Vander Starr, The Star Foundation has developed into one of the largest private foundations in the country. With around $1.25 billion in assets, Starr focuses its giving on education, medicine and healthcare, human needs, public policy, culture and the environment. With a small staff, Starr tends to favor well-established non-profit organizations that have a proven track record of success. 

Although The Starr Foundation awards grants to organizations around the country and the world, it is helping to make a difference in New York City as well. In fact, Starr has been one of New York's biggest contributors in the healthcare industry. Not only has The Starr Foundation given millions to specific medical research projects and causes, but it has also helped to improve New York's medical schools. For example, Starr awarded over $100 million to Weill Cornell Medical College for cancer research, stem cell programs, and renovations.

Education is the other big grantmaking category for The Starr Foundation, and the staff focuses on scholarship programs for deserving students. The foundation also supports study abroad programs that send U.S. students overseas to study. Human needs is the third largest priority, and the foundation tends to give moderate amounts to emergency food programs, job training programs, literacy programs, programs for disabled adults, and programs that provide transitional housing for low-income families. Unlike other area foundation's arts & culture programs, Starr likes to see programs that promise to serve the elderly, the disabled, and international populations. Public policy and environment grants are few and far between at this foundation, but they do happen.

Starr likes to support local causes around the city as well. In the past, President Florence David has made announcements about local grants, such as the $50,000 grant to the annual City Harvest food drive.

Unfortunately, The Starr Foundation is adamant about not receiving unsolicited grant proposals. Check the site's Guidelines page periodically to see if the foundation has had a change of heart. As a starting point, you can  direct general inquiries to President, Florence Davis at Phone calls can be directed to 212-909-3600. You can keep up with recent happenings at Starr by reading through the News and Press Release section, although it's only updated on an occasional basis.


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