van Ameringen Foundation: New York City Grants

OVERVIEW: The van Ameringen Foundation is solely focused on mental health and underserved populations in New York City and Philadelphia. Grants are typically made for a single year, and the average grant size is between $10,000 and $50,000.

FUNDING AREAS: Prevention, education, and direct care in the mental health field; mental health crisis services; domestic violence, elder care

IP TAKE: Although the focus of the van Ameringen Foundation (mental health) may appear narrow at first, there are many angles that you can take with a mental health program. In addition to traditional rehab facilities, grants have been awarded to prisons, senior citizen programs, and domestic violence prevention efforts. Just make sure that your program exclusively benefits New York City and/or Philadelphia residents.

PROFILE: The van Ameringen Foundation was established as a private grantmaking foundation in 1950 in New York City by Arnold Louis van Ameringen, the founder and chairman of International Flavors and Fragrances. Arnold, who passed away in 1966, created his foundation specifically to support programs in mental health. Arnold’s wife, Hedwig, served as the foundation’s honorary chairwoman until her death in 1996. It’s important to note that this foundation is a completely separate entity from the H. van Ameringen Foundation, which was founded by Henry van Ameringen and focuses on AIDS programs and LGBT rights.

The van Ameringen Foundation reported over $98 million in assets in the recent past, and current financial statements can be viewed here. The foundation is a signatory to Philanthropy's Promise, and therefore commits a significant percentage of grantmaking dollars to the needs of underserved communities through advocacy and civic engagement.

Almost all grants are made in metropolitan New York City and Philadelphia. International Flavors and Fragrances heiress, Patricia Kind, established her own philanthropic foundation in 1996 to help Philadelphia residents obtain food, shelter, clothing, education, and physical and mental health care (Read Patricia Kind Family Foundation: Philadelphia Grants). Patricia serves on the board of directors at the van Ameringen Foundation.

To promote mental health, the van Ameringen Foundation primarily awards grants for preventive measures, treatment, rehabilitation, and the field of psychiatry. Typically, van Ameringen provides general operating support, management development, program development, seed money, technical assistance, and program-related investments. These are the specific program areas that the van Ameringen Foundation focuses on:

  • Education and Media
  • Emotionally Disturbed Children and Adolescents
  • Frail and Isolated Elderly
  • Housing
  • Medically Ill/Dually Diagnosed
  • Prisons and Jails
  • Recent Immigrants
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Research and Training
  • Structural Reform and Advocacy
  • Victims of Domestic Abuse
  • Vocational Services

However, the foundation does not support programs for mental retardation, physical disabilities, or any international institutions. Almost all past grants have fallen in the $5,000 to $100,000 range. Going forward, foundation grants will be between $10,000 and $50,000 and will be awarded for single-year support. In recent years, a large number of grants have been awarded to assist children, adolescents, immigrants. A sizable percentage of van Ameringen grants are awarded for prisons and jails, affordable housing developments, and rehabilitation centers.

Although the foundation’s focus on mental health is broad, it is particularly interested in supporting practical programs that increase accessibility to the poor, offer early-intervention strategies, and advocate for systemic change with a broad impact.

And here's some good news: This is a foundation that does accept unsolicited proposals, and multiple times a year.

To apply for a grant, nonprofits must first submit a letter of inquiry and then submit a full proposal if invited by the foundation. Letters of inquiry are reviewed three times per year and the deadlines are November 10th, March 10th, and June 10th. Read through the foundation’s application procedures and submissions page to get started.

The foundation has a very small office staff of just two employees, so be patient with your response time expectations. The foundation’s former executive director, Eleanor Sypher, was with the foundation for over two decades. Today Hugh Hogan serves as the executive director. 

General questions about grants can be directed to the staff at or via phone at 212-758-6221.


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