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The Foundation supports groups in New York City that are working on problems of urgent concern to residents of disadvantaged communities and neighborhoods. We are particularly interested in start-up grants to new, untested programs that have few other sources of support. We are enthusiastic admirers of the resilience and energy of New York's neighborhoods. We believe the vitality of its neighborhoods is the city's greatest resource.
We do not limit our grants to specified issue areas, although under the terms of a restricted endowment, half our grants are reserved for projects involving youth or the elderly. Instead, we look at the characteristics of the organization or project applying. Because we believe in a pluralist, inclusive democracy, we seek to support programs emerging from communities where existing services and institutions do not reach, neighborhoods taking action for their own betterment, and population groups organizing to create a collective voice where they have not been heard.
Our grant decisions weigh whether pressing human needs will be alleviated, but place greater emphasis on whether, in the process of carrying out their work, individuals and groups will become more educated and active participants in the overall life of the city.
In recent years, the Board has reaffirmed the Foundation's strong interest in community organizing and in advocacy by and for the populations of concern to us. It has also limited the circumstances in which we will support direct service programs. We will give preference to organizations that look likely to move toward advocacy and organizing.