Nonprofits From Harlem To Hollis Get Millions To Address COVID-19 Challenges

October 25, 2020

The New York Community Trust has announced new grants totaling $6.3 million, many of which are going to aid nonprofits helping New Yorkers navigate the ongoing economic and health challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With this latest round of grants, The Trust is continuing its commitment to providing both immediate assistance to those in need, particularly the city’s most vulnerable residents, and investing in projects that address systemic inequities.

[Note: journalists can request background memos that detail the issues and how The Trust and its nonprofit partners are addressing them.]

Grant Highlights

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Training EMTS and Paramedics in Queens: At a time when the need for front-line health workers is critical, Fiorello H. LaGuardia Community College of CUNY will use a $200,000 grant to expand the college’s programs for the emergency medical technician and paramedic training by offering more scholarships to low-income Queens residents. This support is important because federal and state financial aid programs do not cover continuing education programs. The funds will also be used to offer academic support and job placement to all trainees.

Improving Housing Policy: The Citizens Housing and Planning Council of New York will use a $90,000 grant to examine New York City’s housing policies in light of the COVID-19 pandemic’s disproportionate effects on communities of color. The organization will work to understand and document the relationship between housing and health, and to develop recommendations for policymakers and elected officials on how housing and land use policies can mitigate the impact of future health crises.

Addressing Behavioral Health During the Pandemic: Building on the work of a prior grant focusing on primary health care, CareMessage will use its $100,000 grant to determine how to expand its phone-based text messaging system for use by behavioral health patients so the centers can continue to engage with patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supporting Black Theater: With $750,000 over three years, the Billie Holiday Theatre will support the New York portion of the launch of Black Seed, a program that will provide financial, marketing, and peer support to 50 Black theater groups across the country. The grant will be used to hire a manager, help raise funds, award grants, and launch a marketing campaign that will promote Black theaters.

Additional Grants


Alphapointe: $160,000 to add state-of-the-art technology at its Queens facility so the organization can offer a wider variety of career training to people who are legally blind. The nonprofit also will build a simulated apartment that will help train blind individuals to improve their independent living skills.

Andromeda Community Initiative: $160,000 to expand recruitment for its masonry restoration program and help its graduates find employment. The grant will aid current participants in finding off-season employment and upgrading their skills.

Upwardly Global: $100,000 to provide unemployed and underemployed foreign-trained immigrants with job-search coaching and training so they can acquire local credentials and placement into high-paying jobs in areas with documented shortages, including health care.


Brooklyn Communities Collaborative: $150,000 to strengthen relationships between health care providers and community organizations in 10 central Brooklyn neighborhoods that are among the unhealthiest and disadvantaged in the state. Trust funding will be used to develop health care workforce training; improve housing-based health services; provide care management to high-need patients; and regrant $3 million in government funds to at least 50 agencies to advance health policy priorities as defined by local organizations and residents.

Community Healthcare Network: $150,000 to bring a screening and referral service to two clinics in East New York, Brooklyn, so patients can get local non-medical services. The system also will be adapted to accommodate social distancing.

Isabella Geriatric Center: $180,000 to the largest senior nursing facility in Manhattan so its staff can carry out a new set of protocols to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection among nursing home residents.

Meaningful New York Initiatives for People with Disabilities: $120,000 to improve access to a state program that allows people with disabilities to independently select and use neighborhood services.

One Brooklyn Health System: $150,000 to coordinate the continued consolidation of three Brooklyn safety-net hospitals. The grant will help the System integrate medical services across the three campuses, transform the Kingsbrook Medical Center campus, and provide capacity for 500,000 additional outpatient visits annually.


Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School: $60,000 for assistance rebuilding the country’s only comprehensive music school for blind and visually impaired students. The grant will reestablish opportunities for students, including technology training and educational field trips, that were lost during a governance transition.

Jewish Child Care Association of New York: $185,000 to help children at risk of being placed in foster care with remote learning, and to support their families with the additional responsibilities of educating young people at home. Educational plans will be created for 150 children and intensive support will be given to 50 families. In addition, the Association will create a summary of the best ways to help struggling families and press for their adoption by the Department of Education and the Administration for Children’s Services.

New Visions for Public Schools: $500,000 to expand the organization’s Elementary School Data Portal, which collects data on literacy and reading progress for teachers and administrators to access. The Portal will be made more broadly available to schools across the city. 

Human Justice

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: $75,000 to continue the Center’s documentation of the need for fiscal relief and food assistance for low-income families during COVID-19, and to develop proposals to change federal laws to address this need.

Grow Brooklyn: $100,000 to prevent the loss of wealth, especially in family homes, by providing estate planning for senior citizens living in African-American communities.

Youth Development

Adhikaar: $120,000 to promote political advocacy among young girls and women in the Tibetan and Nepali communities of Queens. A full-time organizer will be hired to facilitate advocacy efforts, and workshops on gender equity will be held over the next two years.

Arab-American Family Support Center: $140,000 to engage with Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian girls in Queens. Over two years, various workshops will be offered to participants, including on community and campaign organizing.

Center for Anti-Violence Education: $124,000 to continue and refine the group’s Peer Educator program so teenage girls can learn about advocacy, the political process, public speaking, and self-defense. An emphasis will be placed on learning about discrimination against people of color, particularly Black people and immigrants.

Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York: $140,000 for the expansion of YouthAction NYC, a youth organizing and leadership program. It will teach 100 young people to engage with elected officials on issues they care about. The group also will enlist 25 participants to become peer trainers, who will lead advocacy workshops for youth groups.

Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project: $120,000 to work with Haitian immigrant girls to advocate for increasing access to college. The organization will train the girls in community engagement, conflict resolution, and the college application process so they can work with government and families to raise awareness about the need for higher education.

Girl Be Heard Institute: $140,000 over two years to double the size of a program for teenage girls that combines theater and social activism to develop original theatrical works focused on social justice issues.

Girls for Gender Equity: $140,000 to help teenage girls advocate for policy changes regarding gender equity as city leadership changes after next year’s municipal election. Participants will organize town halls, develop a policy agenda based on what is discussed at those forums, and share their findings with political candidates and elected officials.

New York State Youth Leadership Council: $180,000 to strengthen campus-based advocacy teams led by young, undocumented immigrants.

Arts and Culture

Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute: $120,000 for a program that will provide racial and social justice training to arts and cultural institutions and be incorporated into the center’s new Racial and Social Justice Institute in the Arts.

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute: $100,000 for the group’s Pare Lorentz Center, where students can remotely use new digital media and watch animated videos to learn about the Roosevelt era.

Van Lier Fellowships: Advancing Young Artists

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 in a spectrum of disciplines. Since 1991, the program has opened new, life-changing opportunities to more than 2,000 young artists. This year’s grantees include:

Bloomingdale School of Music: $90,000 for two-year fellowships that will provide four young musicians with mentors, workshops, and help with college applications. Fellows also will perform in an annual recital and receive $1,000 college scholarships, with at least one fellow focusing on classical music.

Dance Theatre of Harlem: $150,000 for two-year fellowships that will give six dancers, ages 11 to 14, training, coaching, and mentorship.

El Puente de Williamsburg: $126,000 for two-year fellowships to provide pre-professional training in theater or visual arts for seven middle and high school students in Brooklyn.

Harlem School of the Arts: $150,000 for two-year fellowships for eight students, ages 14 to 17, to receive training in either theater or visual arts and design, along with at least two performance or exhibition opportunities a year.

Rosie’s Theater Kids: $114,000 for three high school students who will receive three-year fellowships that will include musical theater instruction and at least two yearly performances.

Young People’s Chorus of New York City: $86,000 for two-year fellowships to nine singers, ages 13 to 16, that will allow them to perform at least 80 times alongside professional musicians and receive choral music instruction and academic support.

Community Development

Behavioral Ideas Lab: $100,000 to assist nonprofits—through workshops and technical assistance—to use behavioral science to improve their programming even as they adhere to social distancing during the pandemic.

Green Worker Cooperatives: $110,000, to reduce maternal morbidity among black women by helping three doula cooperatives adapt to COVID-19 regulations, establish new operating guidelines, and work with hospitals so women of color can receive support during their pregnancies.

Van Alen Institute – Projects in Public Architecture: $125,000 to expand Neighborhoods Now, its partnership with Urban Design Forum, which organizes professionals to help neighborhood businesses and nonprofits reopen while staying aligned with health concerns regarding the pandemic. Design experts and other professionals will advise them on how to modify their physical spaces, solicit donations of materials and money to cover the costs of modification, obtain permits, and stay abreast of new government guidelines.

Conservation and Environment

BlueGreen Alliance Foundation: $150,000 to continue working with unions and conservation groups to ensure the offshore wind industry is developed in a way that provides economic and environmental benefits to communities along the eastern seaboard. It will advocate for local employment and wildlife protection during the planning and construction of wind farms.

Climate Group U.S.: $125,000 to guide more multinational companies toward using renewable energy. This will involve online activities promoting collaboration, and helping members develop effective strategies to meet their clean energy goals.

Healthier Products Coalition: $120,000 to foster greater demand for furniture and flooring products that meet stringent health and environment criteria. They will develop lists of products that meet the criteria, fact sheets on the health impacts of current products, and also work with large institutional buyers to develop the markets for products free of dangerous chemicals.

Urban Sustainability Directors Network: $150,000 to work with localities to develop climate resiliency projects, plan for climate-related natural disasters, and reduce their climate impact.

Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative: $80,000 to work with government officials and landowners to preserve wildlife by minimizing human contact through road closures, land acquisitions, and establishment of a grizzly-friendly corridor.

Technical Assistance

Cause Effective: $100,000 to expand professional-development programs for nonprofit fundraisers of color. Professionals will receive support through online workshops, peer support groups, and a network of veteran fundraisers of color for coaching.

The New York Community Trust

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

Photo credit: 1) Dance Theater of Harlem. 2) Harlem School for the Arts.

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