In 2012, through the generosity of a bequest from Katharine Scherman Rosin the Foundation established a new giving program, The Katharine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund (Rosin Fund), which provides support for a limited number of innovative, short-term and high-impact projects that address critical issues in the Arts, the Environment and Strengthening New York Communities.
Katharine S. Rosin was born in New York City, the daughter of Bernadine and Harry Scherman, founder of the Foundation. A gifted author of ten non-fiction books, her interests ranged from ornithology and mountain climbing, to classical music and European history. Her broad knowledge and experience, and clear sense of right and wrong, illuminated the deliberations of the Foundation’s board for almost 50 years. Her generous bequest has allowed the Foundation to substantially increase its giving with the Rosin Fund, jointly named for her husband of 62 years, Axel G. Rosin. Born in Germany, Axel immigrated to the United States in 1934 under the looming threat of Nazism. He went on to become the president of the Book-of-the-Month Club, founded by his father-in-law Harry Scherman, and the chairman and guiding spirit of the Scherman Foundation. From the time of his retirement from the Club he committed full-time to the work of the Foundation. His humanity, vision, and belief in the effectiveness of non-profit leaders and organizations in building a more just world guided the Foundation for more than twenty years.
Previous Rosin Fund Grants:
The Scherman Foundation inaugurated its first round of Katharine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund grants in 2013, totaling $4,226,029 over three years, to eight innovative and high-impact projects in the areas of Arts, Environment, and Strengthening New York Communities.
In 2014, the foundation announced a second round of Rosin Fund grants, totaling $3,200,000 over three years, to eight more innovative and high-impact projects in the areas of Arts, Environment, and Strengthening New York Communities.
In 2015, the foundation announced a third round of Rosin Fund grants, totaling $2,230,000 over three years, to five innovative and high-impact projects in the areas of Arts and Strengthening New York Communities.
In 2016, the foundation announced a fourth round of Rosin Fund grants, totaling $1,040,000 over three years, to three innovative and high-impact projects in the Environment area. The Foundation also made an additional $100,000 matching grant to a current Rosin-funded project.
In 2017, the foundation announced a fifth round of Rosin Fund grants, totaling $2,121,000 over three years, to six innovative and high-impact projects in the Arts and Strengthening New York Communities areas.
In 2018, the foundation announced a sixth round of Rosin Fund grants, totaling $889,000 over three years, to three innovative and high-impact projects in the Environment area.
2019 Rosin Fund Grants:
The Scherman Foundation is pleased to support its seventh round of Katharine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund grants, totaling $1,992,000 over three years, to six innovative and high-impact projects in the Arts and Strengthening New York Communities areas. Grants were made to the following projects:
Creative Capital, $306,000 over two years
Creative Capital was founded in 1999, during the “culture wars” of the late 90’s which triggered the NEA’s significant, complete retreat from grant programs for individual artists. Borrowing from the best elements of venture capitalism—investing at strategic moments in an art project’s development, establishing long-term relationships with artists, and providing artists with intensive wrap-around services including financial resources, counsel, and advisory services—Creative Capital has committed $45 million in project funding and advisory services to 561 projects representing 700 artists across disciplines.
The Rosin Fund grant supports its Artist-Driven Engagement Strategy, which proposes to transform Creative Capital’s excellent professional development program into an artist-driven community-building effort, emphasizing the use of existing interactive technologies to enrich and expand the program’s reach.
Movement Research, $375,000 over three years
Founded more than 40 years ago, Movement Research (MR) is one of the world’s leading laboratories for the development of experimental and innovative dance and movement-based performance. It provides a wide variety of creative services to artists—including residencies, subsidized rehearsal space, low-cost classes, written research, and conferences—paying special attention to long-term career development.
The Rosin Fund grant supports the Pre-Production Residency, which is designed to annually identify 10 choreographers who have been offered an important presentation opportunity but lack the means to fully take advantage of it.
OPERA America, $300,000 over three years
Founded 50 years ago, OPERA America (OA) set out to both foster and support the careers of opera singers, composers, librettists and the myriad professionals necessary to this complex art form. It also sought to catalyze the development of an American opera repertoire. Today, having moved to New York from Washington, D.C. more than a decade ago, it is both opera’s undisputed national support organization—with a membership that includes 150 professional opera companies and 1,600 individuals from across the country—and the epicenter of the New York opera community which includes 40% of the nation’s opera professionals.
The Rosin Fund grant supports Artist Development Grants, focused on emerging opera artists who are just beginning to experiment with the form, but have other vocal composing or writing credentials.
Strengthening New York Communities
African Communities Together, $285,000 over three years
African Communities Together (ACT) is a mutual aid, civil rights organization with a mission to empower African immigrants to integrate socially, get ahead economically, and engage civically. ACT employs a comprehensive approach that combines direct services with grassroots organizing, leadership development, and advocacy. To date, the group has built a base of thousands of members who have successfully advocated for several policy reforms.
The Rosin Fund grant supports the New York Immigration Bond Campaign. African Communities Together and the City of Refuge Coalition have launched the Campaign to expose and challenge predatory immigration bond practices, win the first policy breakthroughs on this issue, and achieve concrete reforms that can fuel change at the state and federal level.
New Economy Project, $276,000 over three years
New Economy Project’smission to build an economy that works for all, based on cooperation, equity, social and racial justice, and ecological sustainability. NEP has a long and successful track record of fighting abusive financial practices such as predatory lending, as well as leading cross-sector coalitions and promoting alternative, democratically-controlled economic structures.
The Rosin Fund grant supports The Public Bank of NYC Campaign, which is designing a bank that will leverage its substantial capital to advance social justice goals, making this effort even more unique among public banking efforts across the U.S. The public bank’s capital will come from the City’s deposits of revenues, taxes, fees, and other earnings, which are now held by various commercial banks.
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, $450,000 over three years
The Rosin Fund grant supports the Peak Energy Alternative Kilowatts (PEAK) project, which brings technical, legal, and planning expertise to support organizing and advocacy led by communities harmed by peaker plant emissions. PEAK is a partnership of six organizations: New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, UPROSE, The POINT CDC, Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, and Clean Energy Group.