Strengthening NY Communities

Core Fund - Strengthening NY Communities

MRNY Democracy Day (Make the Road New York)

Make the Road New York

Today’s New York City is a study in contrasts. It is experiencing significant population growth, driven primarily by new immigrants, while its economy, enriched by high-end services and creative intelligence-based industries, is on the upswing. As urban density has become a formula for cultural vitality and environmental sustainability, the city has become an unlikely poster child for green living. At the same time, economic, social, and political inequality has grown ever more dramatic.

In response to these challenges and opportunities, the Foundation’s Core Fund Strengthening New York Communities Program (SNYC) focuses on strengthening New York City’s low-income communities, which, despite challenges and hardships, are a consistent source of the city’s vitality, resilience, and success. The Foundation believes that organized and active neighborhood residents are in the best position to identify problems and solutions, and to create long-term social justice outcomes. The Foundation therefore funds efforts that mobilize residents to identify and advocate for community-initiated solutions and policy changes. These efforts can address changes on multiple levels, from local and citywide to state and federal.

Chhaya CDC

Current and potential grantees work in a variety of issue areas including sustainable economic and community development; employment opportunities; access to public benefits and income support; unique challenges faced by immigrant communities; equitable financial services; and criminal justice reform. Particular emphasis has been placed on housing policy and the availability and preservation of affordable housing. The Foundation values groups that address multiple issues of neighborhood concern.

The Foundation prioritizes the support of neighborhood-based groups pursuing community organizing and advocacy strategies, through which limited Foundation dollars can be leveraged to achieve significant results. Community organizing brings people together to identify issues, shape an agenda, and take joint action. Organizing groups develop and train leaders, work to promote accountability, and bring about both personal transformation and systemic change. Advocacy provides significant leverage as it rallies public attention and action, bringing issues into the realm of public concern and affecting policy and systematic change. While advocacy may be carried out either by those directly affected or by others working on their behalf, the Foundation will give preference to advocacy efforts that involve grassroots leaders and activists, genuinely integrating them into decision-making.

The Foundation also supports policy reform organizations that provide neighborhood-based groups with assistance including: community planning, policy research and analysis, and advocacy skills. The Foundation supports legal advocacy and litigation efforts, either as stand-alone initiatives or integrated into a comprehensive strategy.

The Foundation maintains its commitment to general operating support, especially to smaller neighborhood groups for whom the capacity to respond quickly and imaginatively to new opportunities and challenges is critical. For larger and policy-focused groups, and in the case of collaborative campaigns, project-specific support may be appropriate.

Type & Size of Grants

General operating and project grants considered. Grants average $35,000 over two-years.

Core Fund SNYC will not fund:

  • Organizations that solely provide direct services
  • Projects focused outside New York City
  • Individuals
  • Annual or capital campaigns
  • Endowments
  • Conferences

Rosin Fund - Strengthening NY Communities

We recognize that traditional strategies and structures can be insufficient in achieving social change. To achieve a just and equitable New York City, the Rosin Fund’s Strengthening New York Communities (RF SNYC) Program is interested in bold projects that test new approaches and ideas. We understand that breakthroughs are not possible without risk and potential failure. Thus, the Rosin Fund will support a limited number of innovative, short-term, and high-impact projects that address the critical needs of low and moderate-income neighborhoods. The RF SNYC Program builds upon the values and priorities of the Core Fund Program. As such, we recognize that structural racism and other forms of discrimination are significant barriers that must be addressed. While the Foundation values multi-pronged approaches, it believes that organized and active neighborhood residents and people most directly impacted by injustice are in the best position to identify problems and solutions, and to create long-term social justice outcomes.

The RF SNYC will consider applications from:

  • Neighborhood-based groups using community organizing and advocacy to pursue social and economic equity goals and to achieve systematic change.
  • Research and policy reform organizations that are engaged in targeted advocacy efforts involving grassroots leaders and activists, genuinely integrating them into decision-making.
  • A single community-based organization, or a collaborative campaign involving multiple partners, including policy, planning, legal, and research groups. This could also include organizational partners in other parts of the state that will have a direct impact in New York City.
  • Direct service organizations that are seeking to use organizing and advocacy to leverage their service activities to create policy and systematic change.
  • An organization needing early funding to launch a project that has the potential to leverage other funding sources, as well as projects that have current support.
  • Projects exploring movement infrastructure needs that could include, but are not limited to, new approaches to sustainability challenges, cross-sector building needs, scalability, or infrastructure needs.

Proposed Projects must:

  • Address a critical community need. Project issues to be addressed may include: protection of civil and human rights, affordable and safe housing, employment opportunities and workers’ rights, criminal/juvenile justice, gender justice, immigrant rights, sustainable community development, etc. Cross-sector approaches, especially those jointly addressing environmental and social justice goals, are encouraged.
  • Present a new approach to the issues addressed, based either on changed political circumstances or an innovative strategy.
  • Emphasize community organizing as a primary strategy within a multi-pronged advocacy effort.
  • Articulate a project plan with defined and measurable goals, achievable within three years. Proposals may include specific requests for funding of assessment and evaluation.
  • Have the infrastructure capacity to manage larger grants. In the case of projects proposed by a single entity, an annual organizational budget at or above $1 million is preferred. While no numeric limit exists in the case of collaborative campaigns, close attention will be paid to the size and capacity of the various partners and the collaborative itself.

Type & Size of Grants

Grants will range between $100,000 and $150,000 per year (with the possibility of larger grants up to $250,000 for extraordinary opportunities) over one to three years.

RF SNYC will not fund:

  • Direct service
  • Research and publications not directly linked to policy outcomes
  • Projects focused outside New York City

To see our current grantees, please see the Katharine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund.