NYC Communities

Contact: Rachael Young

The economic downturn continues to be felt in the city’’s underserved communities in numerous ways, including: disappearing jobs, rising health care costs as a share of income, home foreclosures, less affordable housing, and vulnerability to abusive practices in the low-income workplace. Faced with daunting challenges, community groups throughout the city use a variety of methods, including grassroots organizing and advocacy, to address human needs and strengthen communities. Often, such groups take on multiple issues, recognizing the connections between community problems, and work in partnership with other non-profit organizations and city agencies.

To support these efforts and to promote an equitable and sustainable city of vibrant communities, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation supports work in low-income neighborhoods that emerges from, and actively engages, local efforts while looking for opportunities to support collaborative campaigns.

The Program’’s grants fall into three categories:

  • Support to community-based organizations working on multiple fronts;
  • Support to technical assistance providers that help community-based organizations address organizational needs; and
  • Support to collaborative campaigns.

I. Community-based organizations: Priority is given to existing community group partners that address multiple issues for their members and/or constituents and work in partnership with other non-profit organizations and city agencies.

Please note: The Foundation is not, unfortunately, considering new inquiries in this category until further notice.

II. Technical assistance providers: The Foundation will provide funding to a select number of supporting organizations to provide assistance in such areas as law, planning, analysis, or advocacy assistance to help neighborhood groups achieve community aspirations. This could also include connecting community organizations working on similar issues in order to influence policy, scale up programs, or expand networks of activism. Priority will be given to inquiries that address the specific needs of the Foundation’’s community-based partners, especially those working on issues of economic and environmental justice. Inquiries can be submitted by the technical assistance provider, but we encourage joint submissions. Letters of inquiry should include the following:

  • Community organization need to be addressed and forms of assistance to be offered by grant-seeking organization.
  • Brief background on the community-based partner(s) who may benefit from collaborative work.
  • Summary of existing community partnerships or past experience with local groups.
  • Proven methods for effectively conveying assistance.
  • Specific purpose of the grant request.
  • Annual budget figure for grant-seeking organization and requested grant amount.
  • Draft budget for the project and other sources of funding (raised or requested).

III. Collaborative campaigns: The Foundation will support a limited number of collaborative campaigns. Priority will be given to inquiries from a coalition or network uniting around a common problem or issue and designed to achieve its goals in 1-2 years. Grants may also be considered for campaigns by a single organization working with partners. Letters of inquiry should include the following:

  • Problem to be addressed and 1-2 year goals for the campaign, including explanation of the campaign’s near-term opportunities and feasibility.
  • Main targets of advocacy (if appropriate) and the background context.
  • Coalition or organization experience with collaborative campaigns.
  • Information on the campaign leaders (organizations and/or individuals).
  • How the campaign is to leverage the contributions of different groups, including a list of campaign partners.
  • Annual budget figure for grant-seeking organization and requested grant amount.
  • Draft budget for the campaign and other sources of funding (raised or requested).

Across all funding categories, the Foundation will consider the ability of organizations to work with and leverage funds from other foundations and city, state, and federal government agencies, where appropriate.

To Apply: Please send a 2-3 page letter of inquiry by email to nyccommunities-program@mertzgilmore.org to help staff determine the possible fit with the Foundation’’s criteria and program priorities. In addition to other information that you may wish to include, please address the specific criteria in the relevant funding category above. All submissions will be acknowledged, and a limited number of proposals will be invited each spring and fall.

Deadline: Letters of inquiry for the upcoming spring 2018 grant cycle are due by Friday, January 19, 2018. Final funding decisions will be made by the Board in April.


2017 GRANTS (Updated June 2017)

Community-Based Organizations

African Communities Together
$100,000 over two years to provide general support. (Year 1)

Battered Women’s Resource Center (Voices of Women Organizing Project)
$90,000 over two years to provide general support. (Year 2)

Brandworkers International
$100,000 over two years to provide general support. (Year 1)

Fifth Avenue Committee (Families United for Racial and Economic Equality)
$50,000 for one year to provide general support to Families United for Racial and Economic Equality.

Make the Road New York
$160,000 over two years to provide general support. (Year 1)

MinKwon Center for Community Action
$100,000 over two years to provide general support. (Year 1)

National Mobilization Against SweatShops
$100,000 over two years to provide general support. (Year 2)

New Immigrant Community Empowerment
$100,000 over two years to provide general support. (Year 2)

New York Communities Organizing Fund
$100,000 over two years to support organizing campaigns for worker rights and tenant rights. (Year 2)

New Settlement Apartments (Community Action for Safe Apartments)
$100,000 over two years to provide general support for organizing tenants in the Bronx to protect and
maintain affordable housing. (Year 2)

Urban Justice Center (Street Vendor Project)
$100,000 over two years to provide general support for Street Vendor Project. (Year 1)

Technical Assistance

Center for Popular Democracy (Advocacy Institute)
$80,000 over two years to provide advocacy training and consulting services to grantees. (Year 1)

Hester Street Collaborative
$25,000 for one year to support technical assistance to grantees related to design, planning, and community development.

Lawyers Alliance for New York
$40,000 for one year to provide a range of legal consulting services to grantees.

Neighborhood Women of Williamsburg/Greenpoint (Women’s Organizing Network)
$20,000 for one year to provide general support.

Pratt Institute ( Pratt Center for Community Development)
$80,000 over two years to provide general operating support. (Year 1)

Urban Justice Center ( Community Development Project)
$80,000 over two years to provide research and policy assistance to grantees. (Year 1)

Collaborative Campaigns

Alliance for a Greater New York
$50,000 for one year to provide general support.

Community Food Advocates
$40,000 for one year to support a campaign for universal free school lunch.

New York Immigration Coalition
$50,000 for one year to provide general support.

Other

New York Foundation (Neighborhoods First Fund)
$75,000 for one year to support community-based organizations and technical assistance providers working to engage community members in the implementation of Housing New York.