The New York Foundation looks to connect its grantees and other nonprofit organizations in New York City with resources useful in achieving our common goals. With our Knowledge Center we collect reports, case studies, policy briefs, and other knowledge assets produced by New York Foundation grantees and affiliated organizations. While some of these works were funded by the Foundation, our goal in providing this collection is to put a spotlight on the contributions that Foundation grantees have made to social issue analysis and problem solving.
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Featured

Celebrating 100 Years: Taking Risks That Matter

November 3, 2009

In 1906, the U.S. economy was in shambles. Banking titan Jacob H.. Schiff, who was to become founding chairman of the New York foundation, issued a stern warning that America would face critical failure if the nation didn't modernize its banking and currency systems. There would be "such a panic," he said, "As will make all previous panics look like child's play." The country did not heed his call, and in 1907, economic conditions worsened, the situation capped by two stock market crashes and a global credit shortage. Depositors lined up to take their money out of the banks. A little more than a hundred years later, the U.S. economy plunged once again. This time, investor Warren Buffett shared his view on the crisis, saying the economy has "fallen off a cliff." At first it might seem paradoxical to celebrate grantmaking amid the current economic conditions. But rich traditions of philanthropy deserve special honor not just in flush times, but also in times of greatest need. And one foundation--established in an economically stressful period of American history, when there were few templates for grantmaking--warrants recognition. Even during the toughest times of the past century, that foundation has stubbornly clung to the ideals upon which it was founded: social justice, grassroots giving, and faith in the resilience of New Yorkers. That foundation is the New York Foundation. This is its story.

The Climate and Community Investment Act: An Engine for Good Job Creation

May 14, 2021

For NY Renews, our hundreds of allied organizations, and tens of thousands of supporters statewide, the answer is clear: we rebuild our economy by jumpstarting the just transition to renewable energy and investing in our communities--especially disadvantaged communities hit first and worst by both Covid-19 and the climate crisis; we enact the Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA) in New York and pass the Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy (THRIVE) Act in Congress.Just as the CCIA will cut climate and air pollution, it will send ripples of investment throughout the economy. By supporting worker training, fueling small and large-scale infrastructure projects, electrifying our state's energy production, providing direct rebates to up to 60% of New Yorkers, and jump-starting community-driven climate solutions, the policy will invigorate many sectors of New York's economy.To be conservative in its estimates, this report analyzed two areas of the CCIA's spending that will create significant calculable new jobs in New York either because they replace expenditures out of state for fossil fuel or because they replace or expand employment in more labor and value intensive sectors of the economy: the CCIA's Climate Jobs and Infrastructure Fund and the Community Just Transition Fund.

Asian Pacific Americans for Educational Equity: Values and Policy Recommendations

April 22, 2021

Educational equity requires putting systems in place that acknowledge and address the specific challenges, histories, and needs impacting students from different backgrounds, to holistically support them as they learn. Despite the systemic inequities APA public school students and their families face, they are often excluded from or misrepresented in discussions on educational equity issues including school integration, opportunity gaps, systemic racism, and poverty. However, APA students continue to be impacted by overcrowding in schools, bullying, lack of quality language-accessible and culturally-responsive services, under referrals in special education, underfunding of programs for English Language learners, and more.It is true that the complex diversity of our community can make outreach difficult within the current system. However, the Department of Education and schools can take key steps to address inequities that involve building and funding strong partnerships with community-based organizations who often have the language proficiency and cultural responsiveness to help support families, collecting and providing disaggregated data, and increasing the representation of APA educators and staff.

Our Stories and Visions: Gender in Black Immigrant Communities

February 12, 2021

Because this report discusses topics that some may find triggering, we have broad content warnings for the whole report which include: racism, displacement, civil war, misogynoir, xenophobia, sexual assault, police brutality, immigration enforcement (ICE), deportation as well as mental and physical health. At the beginning of each chapter, section-specific content warnings are also provided. Below each graph and image, we include descriptive captions for accessibility.Our report is story-driven, which means that we center the voices and experiences of the individuals that we interviewed. We include quotes from them throughout the report. While we may not necessarily agree with all of the content or the language used in each quote, we include them because we believe they help paint a holistic picture of the stories and visions of Black immigrants.For confidentiality reasons, we have removed most personal identifiers and only refer to participants by their location and age. Towards the end of the report, we have a works cited page where you can see some of the articles, projects, and stories that inspired our research. 

Licensing A Legacy

December 8, 2020

Hair braiding is a profession largely by and for Black women.  It represents an integral part of many African cultures and is a part of cultural heritage for African women.  For many African immigrant women, hair braiding is also the most marketable skill and accessible employment to support their families here and back home. However, working as a hair braider is not as simple as one might think.  African immigrant hair braiders are a marginalized workforce facing numerous challenges, including regulatory and structural barriers to practicing their craft.  Most have not been able to obtain the Natural Hair Styling license, which is required by the State to do their work. Our report sheds light on these issues and lays out recommendations to make the license more accessible.The report is the culmination of a Participatory Action Research project that centered on the leadership of African hair braiders.  ACT conducted nearly 350 surveys, three focus groups, and interviews with braiders.  Our research found that surveyed hair braiders want licenses and feel the pressure and fear of being unlicensed: they are concerned about the fact that they are unlicensed, which leaves them vulnerable to theft of services and penalties from authorities for license violations. Our data also show that the State licensing process imposes significant barriers on braiders who want to obtain a Natural Hair Styling license. Most braiders lack information about the requirements to apply for the license. Barriers like language access, literacy, and the time and cost of training programs put the license out of reach for most braiders. The report details policy recommendations to improve African hair braiders' access to licensure, including improving access to information about the license, revising the course and examination requirements, streamlining the process by which braiders can document prior experience, and more.

VOUCHERS TO NOWHERE: How Source of Income Discrimination Happens and the Policies That Can Fix It

September 14, 2020

VOCAL-NY partnered with TakeRoot Justice to conduct a participatory action research project to document the experience of looking for housing with subsidies. The findings derive primarily from matched pair testing: the representatives of 114 apartment listings advertised on Zillow and Trulia were contacted by researchers. Each representative was contacted by someone presenting as having a housing subsidy as well as by someone presenting with income from employment. The outcomes of the outreach were then compared to evaluate differences in treatment. In addition to matched pair testing, we also called the Brooklyn-based property management companies and apartment buildings listed on a resource list provided by the New York City Human Resources Administration to evaluate the usefulness of that list.This research was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York City and our communities. Stable housing has always been a public health issue, and the pandemic has brought that issue into great relief, as the City has struggled to meet basic safety standards for homeless New Yorkers. As more New Yorkers find themselves in need of support and safety nets to survive the economic fallout of the pandemic, housing must be more accessible to subsidy holders. The findings from our research are more salient than ever. As housing insecurity grows throughout the city, more protections need to be in place for tenants who rely on subsidies to pay their rent.

Laal (2019-2020 Annual Report)

September 9, 2020

In the same spirit of striving for change within one's community, Laal conducted a thorough needs-based assessment in Norwood, from March to August of 2019, where we surveyed 200 Bangladeshi and South Asian womxn. These surveys asked qualitative and quantitative questions to determine what resources the community needed and what the most prominent problems facing the community were. These surveys were also imperative in establishing a rapport with the local community members and laying a foundation within a community that has historically been overlooked and underserved for over 30 years. Through programming and resources, Laal aims to create an active community of womxn who can empower themselves and one another through direct action and deliberative dialogue. Historically, immigrant Bangladeshi womxn in New York City have lacked the necessary space and resources to learn English, obtain a job, or vote because they have been treated as second-class citizens-- culturally, systematically, and institutionally. Laal is eradicating a stigma that has been culturally, traditionally, and religiously interwoven into this community's foundation; in following Septima Clark's legacy, we too, believe that Bangladeshi womxn will find liberation through literacy. 

What Happens When Communities Organize Through a Crisis?

June 8, 2020

The stories shared here illustrate the ways community members are caring for one another while also using strategies that engage and activate people to win a more just and equitable city.By securing collective well-being, these groups are building collective power.

State of the Homeless 2020

March 11, 2020

Modern mass homelessness in New York is now entering its fifth decade. New York's catastrophic affordable housing crisis continues to fuel record homelessness throughout the city and state, devastating the lives of tens of thousands of men, women, and children. The number of single adults sleeping each night in New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) shelters increased by a staggering 143 percent, from 7,700 in December 2009 to 18,700 in December 2019. While the number of families sleeping each night in DHS shelters has levelled off in the past three years, that figure remains stubbornly high: In December 2019, 14,792 families slept in shelters each night, a 7-percent decline from the all-time high of 15,899 in November 2016, but a 46-percent increase compared with December 2009. Shockingly, 1 in every 100 babies born in New York City last year was brought "home" from the hospital to a shelter.As disturbing as these statistics are, they constitute just the tip of the iceberg. The depth of the crisis goes far beyond what is reflected in nightly shelter census figures. State of the Homeless 2020 analyzes the institutional forces that drive record homelessness, highlights the plight of those sleeping unsheltered on the streets and in the subways, and illustrates how the City's bureaucratic shelter application process for homeless families may actually conceal the true scope of family homelessness in New York.

What Happens When Communities Organize? Short Version

February 1, 2020

As a long time supporter of the city's vibrant community organizing and advocacy groups, often in their earliest stages, we wanted to illustrate how these organizations — large and small—are often the connective tissue between community members and campaigns to win significant public policy change. We wanted to capture the rich complexity of our grantees' experiences and suspected that the most interesting, compelling parts of what we knew to be true couldn't be easily explained by turning them into data sets. 

Streets to Statehouse: Building Grassroots Power in New York

January 1, 2020

This report shares the lessons learned from two 2019 statewide campaigns that were led by grassroots organizations working in coalition with broader policy and advocacy networks. Housing Justice for All and Green Light NY won significant changes for low-income renters and driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, respectively. The campaigns challenged the model of traditional top-down advocacy by centering directly-impacted people from low-income communities of color in leadership and decisionmaking. Both campaigns also demonstrated that community power can be leveraged between grassroots electoral organizing and issue-based legislative campaigns. Finally, by centering member-led organizations from rural, suburban and urban communities, the campaigns demonstrated how progressive policy changes require long-term investment in groups that build people power across regional difference through shared mass mobilization strategies. 

Public Action Public Value

November 1, 2019

The Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn, known for its unique mix of industrial, artistic, and commercial activity is poised for significant changes driven by public actions and planned neighborhood investment. The polluted Gowanus Canal, designated as a Superfund site1in 2010 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is in the process of being cleaned up. The responsible parties, which include the City of New York and National Grid, are required to contribute to remediation costs currently estimated at $1.257 billion.Despite this public housing crisis, the City has not meaningfully linked its Housing New York and NYCHA Next Generation strategies to preserve public housing as part of the Gowanus rezoning. By excluding Gowanus NYCHA developments from the rezoning boundary, the City prevents NYCHA from directly benefiting from the land use action and therefore risks exacerbating the existing inequalities between residents of public housing and the community's wealthier and white neighbors.The City is missing an opportunity to address the public housing crisis that deserves its full attention, especially given NYCHA's extensive capital needs and the amount of property value being created through the City's land use actions. In New York, when regulatory actions such as zoning changes increase land values, landowners or speculative investors disproportionately reap the benefits. Property values increase, rewarding landowners while soaring rents often displace longstanding businesses and existing residents.

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