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For Nonprofits


Which nonprofits are eligible for grants?

Most of our competitive grants go to public charities, or to groups sponsored by one. While our focus is on New York, we support some organizations headquartered outside the City. For example, our environmental and social work education programs are national. Grantees (or fiscal agents) should have a board of directors with at least four members, and no more than one paid board member.

What types of programs do you fund?

We fund programs that promote change in policy or systems, build capacity of organizations, and expand and/or improve direct services.

We do not make grants to individuals, or for general operating support, capital and building campaigns, endowments, equipment, deficit financing, conferences and meetings, or religious purposes.

What do program officers look for when reviewing proposals?

We prioritize support for projects that promote change across a system or sector. We support advocacy efforts that articulate a set of specific goals and strategies to achieve them. For direct services, our grants can help test a promising program or support the expansion of a proven program. Our grants also sometimes fund the gathering of data to build proof of a program’s value. We generally do not support events, exhibitions, performances, or conferences. 

What makes a proposal competitive?

Beyond systemic or sector-wide improvement, we consider whether the proposed activities and outcomes are clear and realistic. Details about how the organization is qualified to carry out the activities, including knowledge of the field and relevant experience, will help build a case. If the project aims to reach a historically underserved population, the organization should have input or representation from that community. We also consider whether the organization has stable governance and finances to support the project. 

What’s the difference between an organizational, grant, and project budget?

The Trust requests an organizational and project budget. An organizational budget lists the expenses and reasonable income projections for the entire organization, usually for a fiscal or calendar year.  

Project budgets itemize the full cost of completing the activities outlined in the proposal, including personnel, program costs, and administration. For example, if the proposal seeks support for an advocacy campaign, the project budget would include the entire cost of the campaign—salaries, benefits, materials, travel, and overhead/administration—even if the grant you are requesting from The Trust would cover only a portion of the total cost.     

A grant budget itemizes how you would spend the requested grant. For example, if the proposal requests $100,000, the grant budget might say that you would spend $65,000 on personnel costs, $15,000 for program costs, and $10,000 for administration or overhead—totaling $100,000. The Trust does NOT require grant budgets. However, we do ask grantees to report back at the end of the grant period, and sometimes at an interim point, on how the funds were allocated. 

Do you have budget caps on administrative expenses?

We do not have caps on administrative expenses but will assess whether the requested percentage is appropriate. For nonprofits with budgets under $4 million, we permit grantees, on a case-by-case basis, to use up to 25 percent of our grants flexibly to meet their organizational needs. We do have a 5 percent cap for grants administration on awards to universities and affiliated nonprofit fiscal sponsors, such as research foundations.

What expenses should I include in my project budget?

Expenses outlined in the project budget should be consistent with the project activities described in the proposal narrative. In other words, the staff salaries included in the budget, as well as the costs for materials, technology, travel, and other program costs, should be necessary to complete the proposed project. In most cases, budgets that include salary or portions thereof for all the agency’s staff will be construed as a request for general operating support. Budgets also should include funding received or projected from other sourcesprogram officers will ask about any budget gaps or surpluses. 

Does The Trust renew grants or make multi-year grants?

We make project-focused grants. We look for a specific opportunity, expansion, replication, or launch of an effort. We do not fund ongoing projects. We rarely support projects for more than three years. However, we recognize that many projects—especially new initiatives or advocacy efforts—take longer than a year. For this reason, we make multi-year grants when it makes sense for the project and we have sufficient funding.


We also renew grants. We look at the progress and success of the grant along with context, such as changes in city government or policy, to assess whether a renewal makes sense.  

What is a donor-advised fund and how can we contact them?

A donor-advised fund (or DAF) is a charitable giving vehicle created to manage donations on behalf of organizations, families, or individuals. The Trust established the country’s first DAF in 1931 and today houses hundreds of DAFs that make frequent grants, but the process differs from the competitive proposal process. We make sure our donors know about the great work of our grantees through our publications, website, and social media. We cannot refer you to donors. 

Why doesn’t The Trust provide general operating support?

Our competitive grants support projects that allow us to advance the goals our board has set for each grantmaking program, which are described in our strategies. Our competitive grants are supported by hundreds of funds. Some of these funds are unrestricted, but many must be used for particular purposes, which means we cannot allocate them to general operating support.

What should I do if I want to share success stories about a grant or use your logo on our website?

You can find The New York Community Trust’s Brand Kit and Media Flyere here. Please don’t forget to tag us on social media at @thenytrust, @thenytrustlongisland, and/or @thenytrustwestchester. If you have any questions about sharing your story or using our logo you can email Mar Asayan.

Still have questions? Contact us.

Sheila R. Dinkins

Senior Grants Administrator


Phone: (212) 686-0010 x554

Still have questions? Contact us.

Marie C. Smith

Director of Donor Relations & Communications, Long Island


Phone: (631) 991-8800 x223

Still have questions? Contact us.

Laura Rossi


Executive Director, Westchester


Phone: (914) 948-5166 x3