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