New York Community Trust Awards $6.1 Million In New Grants From Harlem To Hollis

December 15, 2020

The New York Community Trust has announced $6.1 million in 42 grants to nonprofits.

The grant is addressing the current and emerging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to groups focusing on several of the challenges the city is now facing, including climate change, new city election mechanisms, and the rising call to engage young people as advocates for change.

Civic Engagement

The country is at an inflection point. People are more politically engaged, and with November’s election over, New York City faces an unprecedented election in 2021 with a new, ranked-choice voting system and an historic number of campaigns for citywide and City Council seats.

In anticipation, The Trust has given several grants to help inform and engage New Yorkers.

Common Cause Education Fund: $130,000 to begin a public awareness campaign regarding ranked-choice voting through partnerships with community groups in disenfranchised communities.

The nonprofit will train community organizers to become ambassadors for the campaign, organize public forums, and create a multilingual outreach kit with sample ballots and posters.

New York Law School: $130,000 to prepare New Yorkers for the next redistricting process by providing relevant resources on its website, creating a blog with updates, and coordinating a statewide redistricting roundtable of government officials, civic advocates, redistricting experts, and interested citizens.

New York Public Radio: $100,000 to expand local coverage of the 2021 municipal elections by creating more stories on candidates and their political positions, developing partnerships with neighborhood media outlets, creating a digital voter’s guide, and conducting public forums.


As New Yorkers are hit by the second wave of COVID-19, Trust grantees are not only battling on the front lines, but also looking toward the future, anticipating changes in everything from how small businesses function to how to help artists plan for their financial future.

BRIC Arts/Media/BKLYN: $200,000 toward technical support for ten arts nonprofits to build virtual programming, along with continued access to training and resources that can be used to develop their own production capabilities.

Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A: $400,000 for legal services to small businesses in low-income communities as they negotiate commercial leases, apply for public and private pandemic relief, and work to comply with COVID-related regulations.

End of Life Choices New York: $60,000 to develop and test an online end-of-life care training program for a group of health care and social service organizations.

The program will be used so terminally ill patients from underserved communities can receive more thorough information about end-of-life options, pain management, and palliative care.

Eskolta School Research and Design: $154,000 to work with approximately 3,700 students so they can resume working toward obtaining their high school diploma after turning 21, given the learning loss caused by the pandemic.

The group will create bilingual, multimedia outreach and develop policy recommendations to help over-age students graduate.

The Field: $175,000 to ameliorate the chronic financial insecurity experienced by artists, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

The group will create a website with self-help tools on financial planning, develop partnerships with professional advisors who offer long-term planning assistance and create an affordable pricing structure for its services.

The New School – Center for New York City Affairs: $200,000 to continue gathering and analyzing real-time employment and labor data through its COVID-19 Economic Recovery Project.

Funding will also be used to expand InsideSchools+, an online forum with up-to-date information on the city’s schools during the pandemic, by translating content into Spanish and recruiting more Latinx families.

Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility: $100,000 to help students build social skills and improve how schools handle conflict during the challenges posed by the pandemic.

The grant will be used to update training curricula for remote learning, and to focus on trauma resulting from COVID-19 and racial injustice.

Climate Change

Low-income communities continue to suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change.

Nonprofits funded by The Trustare working to advocate on behalf of affected communities, calling for climate change mitigation and benefits from green jobs initiatives.

A Trust is also supporting a program to educate courts to better understand climate-related cases.

Environmental Law Institute: $100,000 to develop an educational program for state and federal judges so they can learn about climate change.

Elected Officials to Protect America: $100,000 to help a coalition of local and state lawmakers, who are veterans and represent communities of color, use virtual avenues to advocate for comprehensive climate action at the state and federal levels.

The Ocean Foundation: $190,000 to continue working with U.S. island communities, preparing them to become more resilient in the face of climate change, and helping them advocate for state and federal policies that recognize their particular circumstances.

WE ACT for Environment Justice: $150,000 to advocate for cleaner air in low-income communities of color and to help these communities benefit from future clean energy initiatives.

The group will also push for legislation promoting environmental justice and creating green jobs.


Many vulnerable New Yorkers struggle with obtaining health care, an issue made more acute by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nonprofits supported by The Trust are working to ensure those with immediate medical needs can continue to receive assistance.

Bridging Access to Care: $100,000 to integrate a trauma screening software that will allow it to organize information about HIV patients across their electronic health records.

Fund for Public Health in New York: $150,000 to capitalize on recent changes to buprenorphine prescription regulations by expanding the use of telehealth to treat opioid addiction among the city’s homeless population.

National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City: $150,000 to study whether peer-led mental-health services provided outside of a clinical setting can be paid for by managed care reimbursements.

Visions/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired: $100,000 for senior citizens with low vision who need help with technology.

The group will train its staff to use assistive technologies, provide instruction to senior citizens, and support clients over time.


The housing market in New York was already difficult for low-income renters before COVID-19, but the inequities have worsened for families living in rent-regulated buildings.

Trust grantees are advocating on behalf of tenants for better regulations and more vigilant action against unscrupulous landlord practices.

Flatbush Development Corporation: $125,000 so tenant associations in rent-stabilized buildings can continue to receive assistance during COVID-19.

The nonprofit will hold forums to educate people about housing rights during the pandemic, connect households with legal counseling, and further develop housing advocacy efforts.

New York State Tenants and Neighbors Information Services: $125,000 so vulnerable residents, including undocumented individuals, in rent-stabilized buildings in East Harlem, can receive expanded tenant services that include assistance with acquiring financial support, rent and utility subsidies, and legal services to prevent evictions.

St. Nick’s Alliance: $150,000 to reduce warehousing, a practice where landlords keep apartments vacant with the hope of circumventing rent regulations and getting higher rents down the road.

The nonprofit will engage with tenants and tenant associations who will document warehousing, and work with government officials to develop policies to end the practice.


Herbert H. Lehman College of CUNY: $104,000 to continue publishing the academic journal, Urban Social Work, and to develop a subscription model so the journal can become financially independent.

Urban Assembly: $170,000 so a program designed to help ninth-grade students with algebra in public high schools can be adapted to remote learning and be offered to eighth-grade students.


City Parks Foundation: $100,000 to help parks combat littering by engaging more volunteers, creating a campaign that will have teams compete to collect litter, and purchasing social media advertising that can reach a diverse group of New Yorkers.

Friends of the Earth: $150,000 to mitigate air pollution from increasing shipping traffic at several ports along the Eastern seaboard, including Newark, by encouraging local officials and regulators to adopt new policies and technologies, such as ship-to-shore electric power connections that will reduce emissions.

The group will work with affected communities to monitor air pollution.

The Solid Waste Environmental Excellence Performance (SWEEP) Standard Initiative: $150,000 to help the Northeast adapt to the closing of China for recycled waste by encouraging technological innovation, creating and analyzing metrics, and holding workshops and conferences.

Workforce Development

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reshape the economy and our daily lives, our grantees are adapting to the new normal, providing job training to the unemployed and helping them develop skills that address new economic needs.

A Better Balance: $100,000 to improve Spanish-speaking workers’ access to paid sick leave by retaining a Spanish-speaking lawyer, continuing to field calls to its helpline, and developing webinars and multimedia campaigns in Spanish.

Brooklyn Hospital Center & Long Island University: $150,000 each to train healthcare workers to use telehealth as a way of providing primary and mental health care to low-income Brooklyn residents during COVID-19.

1199SEIU: $75,000 to work with community groups so people previously employed as food and hospitality workers can be prepared for jobs as nursing assistants in long-term care facilities.

Hope Program: $100,000 to expand its employment services for young people living in shelters and public housing.

Facing a difficult economy, the group will provide more access to technology, engage with community groups to enroll more young people in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and continue offering courses in construction, culinary arts, and other fields.

Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow: $120,000 to offer employment services to young people during COVID-19.

The group will expand its online programming, recruit high school students, resume a masonry restoration program, and continue support for alumni and new enrollees.

New York City Workforce Development Fund: $250,000 to support employment organizations working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, helping them adjust to new labor force needs and prioritizing advocacy for frontline workers.

New York University – Silver School of Social Work: $286,000 to expand a program that teaches leadership skills to social work students by creating a masters-level course, updating teaching content, and engaging more students.

Youth Activism

As young people continue to call for systemic changes, The Trust is supporting nonprofits preparing them to become advocates for themselves and their communities.

African Refuge: $140,000 to launch a youth leadership program in Staten Island that will enroll young people ages 12 to 24, and focus on issues including racial violence, unemployment inequities, and housing discrimination.

Kings Against Violence Initiative: $140,000 to expand a violence-prevention program at Brooklyn high schools. Fifty young people already participating in the program will be trained as paid anti-violence peer educators.

Rockaway Youth Task Force: $140,000 to expand a youth leadership program in Far Rockaway. New participants will be educated on the local lack of access to fresh food, work on a farm, and be prepared to advocate for ways to better mitigate food insecurity in Far Rockaway.

Young People’s Chorus of New York City: $140,000 to create a group of 30 choir members who will—along with musical training—research and develop an agenda for advocacy, learn communications and leadership skills, and advocate with peers and community representatives.

The New York Community Trust’s Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund helps gifted young people of limited financial means who aspire to careers in the arts.

Each year, grants are made from the fund to arts groups for fellowships across several disciplines. Since 1991, the program has opened life-changing opportunities to more than 2,000 young artists.

In addition to the six Van Lier grants we announced in October, we are making the following grants:

Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation: $80,000 for a two-year fellowship for six middle- and high-school students to learn a variety of dance styles, perform for the public, and attend workshops for continued education.

Ballet Hispanico: $110,000 over three years for four young people, ages 10 to 12, to study various dance styles, work with guest artists, receive college preparation assistance, and get help with career exploration.

The New York Community Trust connects past, present, and future generous New Yorkers with vital nonprofits working to make a healthy, equitable, and thriving community for all.

It is a public grantmaking foundation dedicated to improving the lives of residents of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island. For more information, visit

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