FUNDING AREAS: Technology, start-up businesses, and community development
CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)
IP TAKE: Regardless of your program's objectives, you'll need to demonstrate how your use of technology pulls it all together to catch McCormick's attention.
PROFILE: According to Mary McCormick, technology is the answer to New York City's social and economic problems. Through her work at the Fund for the City of New York (FCNY), McCormick has helped develop countless web-based applications to eliminate education, poverty, and health disparities. These initiatives include sites that help women obtain temporary orders of protection, conduct neighborhood surveys of vandalism, and report human rights violations.
"The new technology can be a powerful distributor of quality information, and what separates so many of us is having access to the information we need to be the best parents we can be, to be the best students we can be," said to City & State.
However, McCormick has made it clear that she understands the limitations of technology as well. In a Fast Company interview, she said, "Technology is the least part of it. We have to understand the needs and opportunities in these neighborhoods. Hooking up tenants to superintendents in a housing project could be a profound change. But if we want to make a difference, we have to understand the human issues."
McCormick is president of FCNY, which was created by the Ford Foundation in 1968 to improve New Yorkers' quality of life. FCNY has partnered up with other foundations, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private companies to fund its core programs. For example, FCNY's Cash Flow Loan Program provides non-profit organizations with financing while they are waiting on committed funds from other foundations and government agencies. The fund's Incubator Partner Project Program provides support to start-up organizations, and at a rate of $125 per hour, it provides technology consulting services.
Although she carries the torch for technology, McCormick began her career in education as a public school teacher. "Probably the most formative experience was when I graduated from Radcliffe and went to teach in East New York, and I ended up in the school with the third-lowest reading scores in the city," she has said. "I was really the beneficiary of that experience. [It showed me that] as hard as it is to get public policy enacted or changed, the real measure of our success is successful implementation on the front lines."
Before she became president of FCNY in 1990, she earned her MBA at Columbia University and a doctorate degree and master's degree in education from New York University. She's worked in influential positions around the city with Mayor Abraham Beame and Mayor Ed Koch and as research director for the Temporary Commission on the City Finances. She remains influential in the city today by serving as a member of the Mayor's Committee on Appointments, the Kings County Judicial Screening Commission, the White House Project, the National Center for State Courts, the Robin Hood Foundation, and the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City—just to name a few.
As the daughter of a research scientist and a homemaker, McCormick grew up in a small western Nevada town and always had idealistic dreams of making a difference. She has perspective, and it shows in her work. To understand her perspective and personality even better, watch her interview with Sheryl McCarthy on the CUNY TV 75 show One to One. When it comes to McCormick's grantmaking, she's a strong believer in the "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it" philosophy. She aims to stay away from politics and focus on objective statistics as a basis for success.
If your nonprofit is producing programs that align with the FCNY's goals, you'll need to contact the individual program officers for details, because FCNY doesn't publicize its grantmaking guidelines. If you're interested in the Incubator Partner Project Program, you should reach out to McCormick directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The other programs at FCNY are managed by supporting officers, whose contact information can be found directly under each program's detail report.