In past coverage, we’ve mentioned the philanthropic involvement of the fast-growing rideshare company, Lyft. Crafting a corporate responsibility strategy that seems designed to contrast it sharply with Uber, Lyft has shown interest in issues like youth employment, STEM education, and fighting the Trump Administration’s anti-Muslim travel ban.
But Lyft has also been engaged in some community grants for local nonprofits, including in New York City. The company recently announced a new community grants program to support the work of New York nonprofits, starting by giving out $1,000 in Lyft ride credits every month.
The purpose of this new grant program is to help Lyft identify and connect with some local groups that it otherwise might never hear about. To us, this sounds like building up momentum for an even greater presence on the New York City philanthropy scene in the near future. Among other things, grantmaking in the city could help cultivate good will in a top urban marketplace where Lyft is keen to expand its operations and earnings, a push that in the past has involved some tussles with local regulatory authorities, with additional conflicts looming on the horizon—for example, over congestion pricing fees.
Lyft grantees will be able to use the ride credits to ease operations-related transportation challenges, which are all too common in the city. Nonprofits that operate in the New York metro area are encouraged to apply for a $1,000 Lyft grant, not just to get around the city better, but also to get on the company’s funding radar.
Vipul Patel, Lyft’s New York General Manager said in a press release:
We are so thrilled to partner with non-profit organizations doing inspiring work on behalf of communities in the New York area. There’s a lot of great work being done, and Lyft is grateful for the opportunity to provide a bit of extra support to organizations building meaningful impact in our region.
Interestingly, Lyft is currently available to 95 percent of the U.S. population. Therefore, the company’s long-term giving focus may not always be on New York City. But seems to be where it’s at right now, so it’s a great time for New York nonprofits to get in on the ground floor with a corporate funder that's still growing.
To be eligible for one of these Lyft grants, your work must focus on Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, or the Bronx. Grant applicants must also emphasize the role that transportation plays in their organizations’’ mission and operations, because this money must be used for a relevant transportation purpose.
You can learn more about the Lyft opportunity in NYC here. Winning organizations are notified by at least the 10th of each month, and there’s no limit to how many times you can apply for one of these grants if you’re not chosen.