Philanthropy New York Currents December 2011


Dear Members,

One of Philanthropy New York's most important missions is helping you build relationships with your peers, creating the types of connections that allow our members to learn from each other and increase their impact. Two of our recent initiatives are prime examples of this.

I mentioned our Essential Skills and Strategies for New Grantmakers (ESS) program in my October letter. We offered this intensive two-and-a-1/2 day course designed for new philanthropic program officers to a cohort of 15 members, orienting them to the sector and helping them build a framework for understanding and implementing effective grantmaking. Just as importantly, ESS helped the participants develop relationships and build a sense of community—they said that they valued having the chance to step outside their own foundations, see the diversity of grantmaking organizations, and learn how their work fit in the larger context of the philanthropic sector. Each participant brought different experiences to the program, but the common experience of being new to the sector helped create a common bond and a safe space for exchange.

In January, we will be starting the 2012 season of our Young Leaders Breakfast Club (YLBC). Over a six-month period in 2011, the YLBC organized younger foundation practitioners into small peer groups and then paired each group with a mentor from another organization. These young leaders were able to learn from experienced foundation professionals who were often outside of their own circle, and share what they might have thought were solitary concerns and issues with their peers in the program. Having the opportunity to connect with people at these different stages in a philanthropic career worked well for all involved, and as a result, we are doing the program again in 2012. (Both of these programs benefited from additional support provided by a number of members, for which we are deeply grateful.)

Our best wishes to all of you for a Happy Holiday season and a peaceful New Year. We hope that you take advantage of the many opportunities we provide to connect with each other in 2012!

Best regards,

Ronna Brown
President, Philanthropy New York

Welcome New Members

Henry Luce Foundation Awards $5.5 Million for American Art Renewal Fund

The Henry Luce Foundation has awarded 57 American Art Renewal Fund (AARF) grants to museums across the country for a total of nearly $5.5 million. The AARF initiative was established in 2010 to strengthen museums' American art programs in response to the economic downturn that forced widespread layoffs, cancellation of exhibitions, modified capital projects, deferred building maintenance, shortened public hours, and increased admission fees. It was completed in November 2011.

Instead of its typical project grants, the Luce Foundation considered requests for operating support restricted to American art activities—personnel, maintenance, capital needs, cash reserves, and debt reduction were among eligible expenses. The AARF initiative was open to 93 art museums, all prior grantees with successful track records fulfilling Luce-funded projects. Applicants were required to describe how the economic downturn affected their overall institution, specifically the American art activities, and how an AARF grant would assist in the museum's recovery.

Learn more about the American Art Renewal Fund and its recipients.

Open Society Foundations and Echoing Green Launch Black Male Achievement Fellowship

The Open Society Foundations and Echoing Green have announced a new fellowship program for individuals dedicated to improving the life outcomes of black men and boys in the U.S. It is the first fellowship program of its kind that targets social entrepreneurs who are starting up new organizations in the field of black male achievement.

"We're proud to support innovators working to transform the lives of black men and boys and their communities," said Shawn Dove, Manager of the Open Society Foundations Campaign for Black Male Achievement. "Historically, black males have been prevented from fully engaging in American society due to a host of economic, civic, social, and political barriers. Now for the first time, there's a fellowship program dedicated to providing creative thinkers the space and support they need to tackle this complicated and entrenched problem."

The Fellowship will be awarded to eight fellows who are generating new ideas and best practices in the areas of education, family, and work such as initiatives related to fatherhood, mentoring, college preparatory programs, community building, and supportive wage work opportunities. Fellowships will also be awarded for efforts in the areas of communications and philanthropic leadership. Each BMA Fellow will receive a $70,000 stipend in start-up capital as well as technical assistance over 18 months to help them launch and build their organizations; access to technical support and pro bono partnerships; a community of like-minded social entrepreneurs and public service leaders; and other benefits.
The online application for the Open Society Black Male Achievement Fellowship will be available until January 9, 2012.

Learn more about the Fellowship.

D5 Coalition Launches Philanthropic Inclusion Fund

The D5 Coalition is pleased to announce the launch of the Philanthropic Inclusion Fund, designed to provide small grants to population-focused funds (PFFs) for targeted and strategic capacity building efforts and to pursue opportunities to engage the larger philanthropic sector.
PFFs are community-defined and culturally specific funds that target grant support to organizations and individuals in communities defined by race, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. The D5 Coalition believes PFFs are becoming an increasingly important resource for communities. However, many PFFs need capacity building assistance designed to strengthen financial positions, particularly in the areas of grant resources, operations, and building endowments.
In addition, PFFs need greater access to philanthropic and other gatherings that offer opportunities for board and staff members to acquire new skills, update knowledge about advancements in the field, develop new contacts and networks, and secure additional resources. Therefore, the Philanthropic Inclusion Fund has been established to help address these needs.
The application deadline for participation in the Fund is January 6, 2011.
Learn more about the eligibility criteria and how to apply.

In Memoriam: John P. Casey

We are saddened to report that John P. Casey, CFO and Treasurer of the Altman Foundation, died on Tuesday, December 6th. After a career at B. Altman & Co., Mr. Casey joined the Altman Foundation in 1992, and for almost twenty years made it his mission to contribute to the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors' understanding of financial sustainability.

Mr. Casey was an active member of both the national Foundation Financial Officers Group and the local Foundation Financial Managers Group, and served on the Audit Committee for NYRAG (now Philanthropy New York).

"We will miss his humor, his honesty, and his deep commitment to the well-being of the Foundation, its staff, and its grantees. Our hearts go out to his family and to his endless circle of friends," reads a memorial on the foundation's website.

All of us at Philanthropy New York send our deepest condolences to Mr. Casey's family, friends, and colleagues for their loss. He will be sorely missed and long remembered.

Charity Corps: New Program to Match Nonprofits with Pro Bono Attorneys

The New York State Attorney General's Office and the New York State Bar Association have launched an initiative to match volunteer attorneys with nonprofit organizations in need of legal counsel. The partnership, called Charity Corps, will help improve governance and legal compliance by assisting nonprofits that cannot afford legal counsel.
Charity Corps attorneys will help ensure that nonprofits fulfill their responsibilities and continue to provide critical services through difficult economic times. The Attorney General's Charities Bureau will support the initiative by providing training and guidance to volunteer attorneys and nonprofits. The New York State Bar Association will administer the program.
Charity Corps will begin as a pilot program, serving up to 50 nonprofits in its first year. To be eligible, an organization must have a 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. It must also lack in-house counsel and be unable to afford outside counsel. Organizations interested in participating in the program must file applications before December 31, 2011.
Learn more about the Charity Corps program.


  • Dr. M. Starita Boyce Ansari, Chief Change Officer at MSBphilanthropy Advisors, has been selected as one of the 2011-2012 America's Leaders of Change (ALOC). ALOC is a National Urban Fellows intensive mid-career leadership program designed to enhance the careers of leaders who are currently successful administrators, and who possess the talent to effect positive change through public service leadership. The program's focus is an exploration of some of the most critical issues facing our nation, and it provides strategies that empower leaders to confront issues and offer effective solutions.
  • Janice Nittoli, President of The Century Foundation, has announced the appointment of Philip Li as Chief Administrative Officer. Mr. Li, who is a member of the Philanthropy New York Board of Directors, comes to Century from the Brooklyn Community Foundation, where he served as Chief Operating Officer. At The Century Foundation, he will oversee all administrative operations, including finance, human resources, and technology.
  • The Board of Directors of Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media is pleased to announce the appointment of Vincent Stehle as Executive Director. Mr. Stehle has served on the GFEM Board of Directors since 2008. Prior to joining the staff of GFEM, Mr. Stehle, a former Board Chair of Philanthropy New York, was Program Director for Nonprofit Sector Support at the Surdna Foundation, where he oversaw critical support to innovative public and independent media projects, as well as leadership support in the development of the field of nonprofit technology.


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


  • Transitions, December 2011
    New appointments at the Edwin Gould Foundation, the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and Philanthropy New York.

Members in the News & Resources

  • Diminishing Dollars: The Impact of the 2008 Financial Crisis on the Field of Social Justice Philanthropy
    Published by the Foundation Center, with funding from the Cricket Island Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Edward W. Hazen Foundation, November 2011
    PDF, 1.8 MB

    This report, written by Sara K. Gould, Atlantic Philanthropies Senior Fellow at the Foundation Center, both identifies the major immediate impacts of the 2008 financial crisis on social justice philanthropy and takes a look into the future. It aims to provide new and useful information to both funders and nonprofit organizations seeking funds.
  • The Brooklyn Bureau
    A project of the Brooklyn Community Foundation and the independent investigative journalism organization City Limits, The Brooklyn Bureau website is exclusively dedicated to in-depth reporting on Brooklyn's nonprofit sector, civic and social institutions, and communities (particularly in under-covered neighborhoods) in order to better inform and engage the borough’s 2.5 million residents.
  • State Trends in Premiums and Deductibles, 2003–2010: The Need for Action to Address Rising Costs
    Published by The Commonwealth Fund, November 2011
    Rapidly rising health insurance costs continue to strain the budgets of U.S. families and employers. This issue brief analyzes changes in private employer-based health premiums and deductibles for all states from 2003 to 2010, and finds total premiums for family coverage increased 50 percent across states and employees' annual share of premiums increased by 63 percent over those seven years.
  • The Giving Commitment: Knowing Your Motivation
    Published by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, October 2011
    PDF, 440 KB

    This guide, the latest in RPA's Philanthropy Roadmap Series, explores the ways through which donors can identify what motivates their philanthropy, and how those motivations can be used to create or refine a meaningful giving strategy.
  • Making Change
    Source: Ms. Magazine, Fall 2011
    A profile of Anika Rahman, CEO and President of the Ms. Foundation for Women.
  • Controlling trillions, women drive charitable giving
    Source: Reuters, December 12, 2011
    Three out of four individuals in households with incomes of $200,000 or more report women are either the sole decision maker or equal partner in directing their family’s philanthropy, according to a new Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey.
  • #PhilChat Recap: Philanthropy’s Role in Advancing Global Well-Being
    Source: RE: Philanthropy, December 12, 2011
    Participants joined Rob Garris of the Rockefeller Foundation, representatives from the U.S. State Department and the United Nations Development Programme, and other global philanthropy leaders to discuss philanthropy’s role in advancing global well-being during a special Twitter Chat hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foundations, and The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
  • William T. Grant Foundation Awards $2.5 Million for Youth Health, Social Research
    Source: Philanthropy News Digest, December 12, 2011
    The foundation has announced six grants totaling more than $2.5 million to support researchers and organizations working to understand and improve the environments in which at-risk youth spend time.
  • NY Life Announces $360K Grant for College Advisers
    Source: New York Nonprofit Press, December 9, 2011
    The New York Life Foundation has announced a three-year, $360,000 grant to the National College Advising Corps. The grant will help the Advising Corps increase the number of at-risk students applying to college through the use of college advisers in underserved high schools.
  • Weinberg Foundation Unveils Baltimore Public Schools Library Project
    Source: Philanthropy News Digest, December 6, 2011
    The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation has announced the launch of a $3.78 million multiyear, multi-sector project designed to leverage existing public funding to equip select Baltimore public schools with new or renovated libraries.
  • TD Charitable Foundation Awards $2.5 Million for Affordable Housing
    Source: Philanthropy News Digest, December 4, 2011
    The twenty-five grants, awarded through the foundation's sixth annual Housing for Everyone competition, were made to organizations working in the areas of new unit creation, energy efficiency, and capacity building.
  • Stavros Niarchos Foundation Awards $2 Million to Ease Effects of Greek Debt Crisis
    Source: Philanthropy News Digest, December 3, 2011
    With Greek poverty levels rising alongside a growing homelessness problem and a rapid increase in the number of people receiving food assistance and other material aid, the foundation aims to maximize its impact by focusing on projects that complement rather than replace the work of private- and public-sector organizations.
  • Target Launches $5 Million Giving Competition With 'Ellen DeGeneres Show'
    Source: Philanthropy News Digest, December 3, 2011
    Target will distribute $5 million in grants to elementary and secondary schools recommended by viewers of the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
  • Should Philanthropies Operate Like Businesses?
    Source: The Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2011
    Charles R. Bronfman and Jeffrey R. Solomon, Chairman and President, respectively, of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, argue in favor of businesslike thinking for philanthropic organizations.
  • Before You Join That Board...
    Source: The Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2011
    This article on what to consider before joining a nonprofit's board mentions the United Way's nonprofit board training program.
  • New York Life Awards $300K to Youth Development Institute
    Source: New York Nonprofit Press, November 22, 2011
    The New York Life Foundation has announced a two-year, $300,000 grant to the Youth Development Institute (YDI) to support the expansion of the Ladders to Leadership Program for middle school youth attending afterschool programs at nine sites throughout New York City. (Marlyn Torres, Assistant Vice President of the foundation, is also quoted in the article.)
  • Great Way For Boomers to Prepare for Nonprofit Work
    Source: Forbes, November 22, 2011
    This article on Civic Ventures' Encore Fellowships initiative also mentions a research project from Civic Ventures and the MetLife Foundation.
  • $45M 'revitalization' under way at Duke Farms in Hillsborough
    Source: Somerset Messenger-Gazette , November 21, 2011
    An in-depth examination of the 2,700-acre property in New Jersey that Doris Duke's father created at the turn of the 20th century.
  • Carnegie Corporation Announces Third-Quarter Grants
    Source: Philanthropy News Digest, November 20, 2011
    The Carnegie Corporation of New York has announced forty grants totaling more than $34 million to organizations in the United States and around the world working in a wide range of areas, including international development, education reform, and the arts.
  • Real debt solution must 'go long'
    Source: Politico, November 18, 2011
    An op-ed from Peter G. Peterson on the Congressional supercommittee and long-term fiscal management.
  • How Leona Helmsley Is Revolutionizing Health Care in the Midwest
    Source: TIME, November 17, 2011
    This article describes The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust's efforts to bring high-quality healthcare to sparsely populated areas. (Jim O'Sullivan, Director at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, which helped the Helmsley Trust with this work, is also quoted.)
  • White House and Nonprofits Start Leadership Effort
    Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy, November 16, 2011
    The White House and a coalition of nonprofits plan to start a new effort to improve the quality and diversity of nonprofit leaders following a daylong program in Washington; among the initiative's sponsors are American Express and the Rudin Family Foundations.