Philanthropy New York Currents May 2011


Dear Members,

Think of us as a multiplier.

Haiti is hit by an earthquake, and New York foundations quickly come together through Philanthropy New York to learn about and strategize on disaster relief. Philanthropists seek a greater impact on school reform and join the Education Working Group. Foundation trustees and staff convene in our meeting space for conversations with luminaries from both inside and outside philanthropy. Grantmakers learn from peers through our communities of practice, both online and in-person.

There is power in numbers. When foundations join forces, they can accomplish what, in most cases, would not be possible on their own. Traditionally, philanthropy has been faulted for steering clear of collaboration. But if you had the chance to observe our members in 2010, you would see collaboration in action. Philanthropy New York worked together with them to inform public policy. We helped them unite to assist people left reeling from natural disasters. We brought both emerging and established leaders together to exchange knowledge. We supported them as they responded to the struggles their grantees face in a stagnant economy. We engaged them in putting their heads together to share good grantmaking practice across all fields.

Philanthropy New York helps make this collaborative spirit possible. In our 2010 Annual Report, you'll find stories that demonstrate philanthropy's collective potential in four areas of work that regional associations like Philanthropy New York are uniquely equipped to advance: programs, peer-to-peer networks, public policy, and rapid response to disasters.
Consider them demonstrations of this equation: [members] x [philanthropy new york] = collective impact.

We welcome your thoughts and engagement.

Best regards,

Chris Park
Chair, Philanthropy New York Board of Directors
President, New York Life Foundation

Ronna Brown
President, Philanthropy New York

Welcome New Members

Paul Rapoport Foundation Awards Five New Grants in the Second Funding Cycle of Its Four-Year Spend Out

The Paul Rapoport Foundation, an independent private foundation established in 1987 to serve the lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual (LGTB) communities of the metropolitan New York area, with a particular focus on the nexus between racial and economic justice, has announced five new grants, totaling $731,000, bringing the total grants awarded for fiscal year ending June 30, 2011 to over $2.8 million. The foundation will bring its grantmaking operations to a close as of June 30, 2014 and cease operations entirely by June 30, 2015.

The foundation is narrowing its focus and increasing its grant size so that it can help ensure the sustainability of key organizations serving youth, seniors, and transgender persons in LGTB communities of color. Through emphasis on infrastructure development and collaborations as well as on expansion of current demonstrably effective programs, the foundation hopes to have significant impact on services to and advocacy for and by LGTB communities of color.

Learn more about the foundation's latest grants.

Memory from the Joan Mitchell Foundation

The Joan Mitchell Foundation and the CUE Art Foundation are pleased to announce an exhibition of artworks by 300 New York City students who have participated in the CUE Art Foundation's ARTworks Program and the Joan Mitchell Foundation's Saturday Studios Art Education Program. This year, the young artists explored the theme of memory and its many interpretations.

The exhibition will run until Saturday, June 4th at the CUE Art Foundation, with a closing reception (hosted by the Joan Mitchell Foundation) to be held on that date.

Learn more about Memory and the closing reception.

Open Society Foundations Announces 2011 Soros Justice Fellows

The Open Society Foundations has announced an award of $1.6 million to an outstanding group of advocates, journalists, lawyers, grassroots organizers, and filmmakers working on a range of vital criminal justice reform issues at the local, state, and national levels.
The 2011 Soros Justice Fellows, who hail from 14 different states and Washington, D.C., will explore a wide array of issues, including prosecutorial misconduct, federal immigration enforcement, and the harsh treatment of youth. The 18 Soros Justice Fellows will each receive a stipend of $74,000 to $108,750 for projects lasting between 12 and 18 months.
The fellows range from an exonerated man who endured 14 years on Louisiana's death row—with seven execution dates—and went on to found a New Orleans reentry service and advocacy organization; an investigative journalist who is writing the first book to comprehensively document how the "war on terror" has dramatically transformed our criminal justice system; to a former police officer who, since leaving the force, has become a recognized authority on police misconduct, citizen complaint processes, and police-community relations.

Learn more about the other Soros Justice Fellows and the initiative.


  • Jennifer Buffet, President of the NoVo Foundation, received the Vision Award at the 2011 New York Women's Foundation Celebrating Women Breakfast on May 12th. The NYWF Vision Award is presented to women leaders with extraordinary accomplishments in strategic philanthropy on behalf of women and families.
  • M. Christine DeVita, President of The Wallace Foundation, has been elected to a three-year term on the Center for Effective Philanthropy's Board of Directors.
  • Burt Freeman, President of the Freeman-Harrison Family Foundation, received a 2011 Innovations in Reading Prize from the National Book Foundation for the My Own Book Program, which he established in 1999 to support child literacy and foster a love of reading among the most disadvantaged of New York City's children.
  • The Louis August Jonas Foundation has received the 2nd Annual Brooke W. Mahoney Award for Outstanding Board Leadership, which was awarded on May 10th. VCG Governance Matters established the award in 2010 to honor the memory of Brooke W. Mahoney, who served for thirty-eight years as VCG's Executive Director and Innovator-in-Chief.
  • The Mertz Gilmore Foundation has elected Mikki Shepard, Executive Producer of the Apollo Theater, as Chairman of its Board of Directors. She succeeds Larry E. Condon, former President and Board Chairman, who will become Chairman Emeritus. Elizabeth Gilmore, the long-serving Board Vice-Chairman, will become Director Emeritus.
  • The New York Community Trust has elected two new members to its Board of Directors: Barron (Buzz) Tenny, the Director of the City Bar Fund and a former Executive Vice President, Secretary, and General Counsel at the Ford Foundation; and Ann Unterberg, the Chairman of the Lincoln Center Institute, the Vice-Chairman of the International Women's Health Coalition, and a Trustee of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.


(View a full text, PDF version of Philanthropy New York Currents, May 2011.)


  • Member Transitions, May 2011
    New appointments and departures at the Camphill Foundation, the Citi Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation.

Members in the News & Resources

  • Deficit Plans Show Wide Political Gap
    Source: The Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2011
    The six think tanks asked by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation to find ways to address the nation’s deficit revealed their plans on May 25th.
  • U.S. Billionaire’s Debt Crusade Finally Center Stage
    Source: Reuters, May 24, 2011
    An examination of Peter G. Peterson and the work of his foundation to address the national debt.
  • In Free Market, Seeds of Africa's Food Solution
    Source: The New York Times, May 22, 2011
    This article discusses in part the work of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), set up in 2006 by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is working to help distribute better seeds to African farmers.
  • NoVo Foundation Establishes $80 Million Initiative to End Violence Against Women and Girls
    Source: Philanthropy News Digest (PND), May 20, 2011
    Over ten years, the Move to End Violence initiative will engage more than a hundred individuals and organizations in a two-year cohort experience, establishing a national network to lead the effort to end violence against women and girls.
  • How We Would Cut America’s Debt
    Source: The Washington Post, May 20, 2011
    With U.S. debt projected to grow more than 275 percent by 2035, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation asked six think tanks to find ways to address the nation’s long-term budget challenges; the details from the plans that will be unveiled at a fiscal summit the foundation is hosting on May 25th.
  • Serving the Military Families Who Serve New York State
    The Huffington Post, May 18, 2011
    An op-ed by James R. Knickman, President & CEO of the New York State Health Foundation.
  • Timothy Wirth on leadership: A conversation with the UN Foundation president and former U.S. representative
    Source: The Washington Post, May 18, 2011
    This interview appears on the Post's "The Federal Coach" blog.
  • Citi Foundation, NeighborWorks America Launch Expanded Financial Capability Program
    Source: Philanthropy News Digest (PND), May 18, 2011
    NeighborWorks America has announced a two-year, $5 million collaboration with the Citi Foundation to expand and strengthen its financial capability programs for low- and moderate-income Americans.
  • $60 Million Gift to Bolster Bard College’s Global Work
    Source: The New York Times, May 16, 2011
    The gift from the Open Society Foundations will help the college bring its disparate programs under a new umbrella, the Bard College Center for Civic Engagement, and assure their continuing operation and growth.
  • A Car Company and a Conservation Group Groom Innovative Leaders
    Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy, May 15, 2011 (subscription required)
    Toyota and Audubon have created a program to support environmental projects as well as to train and develop the next generation of environmental leaders. A $20-million grant—the largest ever made by Toyota or received by Audubon—will support the program through 2013.
  • Acquisition helps philanthropy consulting firm expand research capacity
    Source: The Washington Post, May 15, 2011
    Arabella Advisors has acquired a San Francisco-based analytics company to help it meet growing demand from foundations for quantitative evidence to assess the social impact of their programs.
  • America’s Most Polarizing Big Donor Looks Back—and Ahead to His Legacy
    Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy, May 15, 2011 (subscription required)
    A profile of George Soros, Founder and Chairman of the Open Society Foundations.
  • A Report Card on Transportation Spending
    Source: The New York Times, May 11, 2011
    A study released by the Pew Center on the States and the Rockefeller Foundation examines how states account for billions of dollars spent annually on transportation and found that most are not tracking how their investments are performing in six important areas, among them mitigating the effects of transportation on the environment.
  • Head of George Soros’s Philanthropy Network Plans to Retire
    Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy, May 9, 2011
    Aryeh Neier, a veteran international human-rights advocate who for 18 years has led what is now called the Open Society Foundations, plans to step down as President in April 2012.
  • Chase Announces Latest Winners of Community Giving Program
    Source: Philanthropy News Digest (PND), May 9, 2011
    JPMorgan Chase has announced the names of the one hundred charities that will advance to the second round of the 2011 Chase Community Giving Program. The charities, each of which will receive a $25,000 grant for making it to the next round of the competition, span twenty-seven states and Washington, D.C., and represent a range of causes. All are eligible for the grand prize of $500,000.
  • Ford Foundation Gives $100,000 Awards to 12 Social-Change Leaders
    Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy, May 4, 2011
    To mark its 75th anniversary, the foundation announced that it is giving $100,000 apiece to a dozen people working in new and creative ways to tackle some of the world’s most persistent social problems.
  • Gates, Ford, Kellogg Families Target Food to Ease Unrest
    Source: Bloomberg, May 3, 2011
    Foundations supported by Bill Gates and the Ford, Kellogg, and Walton families (with additional support from the Rockefeller Foundation) are combining to relieve stresses on the food supply that are pushing prices higher and adding to unrest around the globe.
  • Bank of America Charitable Foundation Awards $2 Million to NeighborWorks America
    Source: Philanthropy News Digest (PND), April 30, 2011
    The $2 million grant from the foundation will support various initiatives, including affordable homeownership and training for local nonprofit organizations.
  • New York Community Trust Awards $1.3 Million for HIV/AIDS Prevention, Testing Initiatives
    Source: Philanthropy News Digest (PND), April 27, 2011
    The grants will go to twenty-six organizations working to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and improve care for those with the disease.
  • Aetna’s $1M backs four care R&D studies
    Source: Hartford Business Journal, April 20, 2011
    The Aetna Foundation is dispensing $250,000 each to four U.S. hospitals and medical schools to underwrite their R&D into improving future delivery of health care to children, the needy and the chronically diseased.
  • Diversity & Inclusion Action Kit
    Published by the Minnesota Council on Foundations, April 2011
    PDF, 1 MB

    The 2011 Action Kit, designed around the Diversity Framework, MCF's groundbreaking guidelines that frame the discussion of grantmakers' diversity practices around the four roles they play in a civil society, is intended to help foundations identify what steps they can take to advance diversity and inclusion.
  • Wired Workforce, Networked CSR: Employee Involvement in the Age of Social Media
    Published by the NYU Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising and CauseWired Group, April 2011
    This white paper presents several case studies of large American corporations who are using social media tools as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts and who have found ways to involve employees, customers, and stakeholders as they seek to achieve their CSR goals.
  • A Harder Struggle, Fewer Opportunities: The Impact of the Governor's Proposed Budget on Women, Children and Families
    Published by The New York Women’s Foundation, in partnership with the Fiscal Policy Institute, March 2011
    PDF, 362 KB

    This new gender budget analysis report reveals that low-income women across racial lines—already vulnerable to the continuing effects of the economic recession—bear a disproportionate burden of cuts in Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget and are placed at even greater risk of poverty and other factors that contribute to long-term economic stagnation.