The NYC Venture Philanthropy Fund (VPF) caught our attention because of the totally unique way it’s tackling complicated and persistent problems in New York City. Unlike your average individual philanthropist or family foundation, VPF seeks out ordinary New Yorkers who are willing and able to donate just a dollar a day for social change. VPF pools these emerging philanthropists’ money together to award a grant to one lucky New York City nonprofit each year (Read NYC Venture Philanthropy Fund: New York City Grants).
If you’re a new nonprofit in the city in need of some serious help, here are three things you should know about the NYC Venture Philanthropy Fund.
VPF Loves Startups
Even though only one grant is awarded each year, this funder should be on every startup nonprofit’s radar in the city. Not only does VPF focus on emerging philanthropists in terms of training, but it also focuses on emerging startup nonprofits just getting off the ground. Grants are typically awarded to the types of New York City nonprofits that otherwise remain underfunded, underappreciated, and undervalued. VPF takes the guesswork out of grantmaking so you can enjoy a straightforward application process with less red tape than you’d expect.
VPF Grants are Unrestricted
Although annual grant amounts fluctuate based on how much individual donors are kicking in, the average VPF grant is between $5,000 and $10,000. But the best part is that these are unrestricted grants that you can use for pretty much whatever you need. For example, the 2014 grantee, 596 Acres, connects developers with vacant, publicly owned land in New York City, and 2013’s Corona Youth Music Project gives kids in Queens the opportunity to learn about music and perform in an orchestra. Past grantees have pitched programs in education, poverty, environment, youth services, and the arts.
VPF Donors Will Volunteer for You
But with this grantmaker, it’s not all about the money. Members of VPF's Project Management Committee volunteer with grantees, doing everything from fundraising to brand marketing and board governance. These donors are willing to roll up their sleeve, get their hands dirty, and do what they can to make your organization successful. For instance, the Committee has been working with that Queens Orchestra program to develop its accounting and evaluation systems. If you’re short-staffed, VPF donors are willing to step in and provide their professional expertise wherever needed and at no charge.