Although some issues will probably always be relevant in New York City, only certain funders are able to keep a finger on the pulse of how needs shift from month to month and year to year. One such funder is the New York Community Trust, the localized grantmaker that’s been keeping up with New Yorkers for nearly a century.
One thing that helps: NYCT has frequent grant cycles that fall every few months, rather than just once a year. It’s an interesting strategy that we don’t see all that often, but which makes a lot of sense.
Back in early February, NYCT announced its first round of 2015 grants: $4.3 million to 38 local and national nonprofits. The grants went for toxic chemical consumer protection, affordable housing in the Bronx for charitable artists, early reading programs for poor families, and specialty food manufacturers in Brooklyn.
Just two months later, in early April 2015, NYCT announced yet another $4.3 million in grants, and 40 nonprofits are splitting the cash. This time around, the issues in play include helping the former prisoners get jobs, getting tech gurus to teach high schoolers, supporting LGBT immigrants, and getting rid of lead-based paint and fuel.
These are examples of some of the recent local NYCT grants:
- $200,000 to JobsFirstNYC to manage and expand sector employment partnerships for unemployed young people.
- $130,000 to Community Service Society of New York to help eligible elderly and disabled New Yorkers enroll in a program to freeze their high rents.
- $50,000 to City Limits for the Bronx Bureau, an online news source covering the Bronx.
- $100,000 to Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance to coordinate development of resilient waterfront design standards for the City and region.
- $100,000 to Human Services Council of New York City to participate in the City’s interagency task force to improve nonprofit contracting procedures.
- $75,000 to Advocates for Children of New York to advocate for reducing student suspension and keep students in school while improving classroom management.
- $55,000 to Legal Services NYC to expand legal help for immigrants on Staten Island.
- $150,000 to United Hospital Fund of New York to conduct research on affordability and access of State plans and advise officials who operate New York State’s health insurance exchange.
Although NYCT does keep large, nationwide issues in mind during its frequent grant cycles, the main focus is consistently local. Grant decisions are typically made at least by April, October, and December each year.
Unlike some New York funders, NYCT awards grants to an incredibly wide range of nonprofits in various issue areas. This funder is a bit like the New York Times of Gotham philanthropy; it covers everything. Funding areas up for grabs lately: health, human services, education, elderly, housing, historic preservation, strong nonprofit sector, jobs, and the environment.
And across these categories, grants almost always fall into the $50,000 to $300,000 range. Just keep in mind that this is a programmatic support funder, not a general operating support one.
Learn more by reading IP’s profile of NYCT and by browsing NYCT’s Grantmaking Guidelines and Requests for Proposals page. Certain funder groups under NYCT’s administration, such as One Region Fund and Donors' Education Collaborative, also issue separate requests for proposals, meaning that there’s almost always an open funding opportunity to check out.