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August 2010 NEWSLETTER


Most of the grants described in our newsletter are made possible through the generosity of past donors who established permanent, charitable funds with us during their lifetimes or through their wills. To learn more about how to set up a fund, please contact our general counsel, Jane Wilton, at 212.686.2563.

Summer: Saved TABLE OF CONTENTS 2 Beyond the Hokey Pokey 3 Good things come in small (and mid-sized) packages 5 Navigating the Medicare and Medicaid Maze


wo thousand middle school children from low-income families faced a summer without free programs. But instead of enduring endless episodes of iCarly and missing out on lots of fun and learning, these kids are going to have a great summer. The New York Community Trust and other funders concerned about the impact of wasted summer days on children’s development came together to find a way to keep these programs running. Eighty-five thousand youngsters, most of whom live in the City’s neediest neighborhoods, took advantage of City-funded Out of School Time (OST) programs last year. But in the first draft of the mayor’s 2011 budget, Middle school boys show off the garden they grew from seedlings as part of their summer camp program at the Children’s Aid Society’s wooded campus on Staten Island.

excel in middle school they are more likely to succeed in high school and beyond.”

(above) Second graders moving to a 15-minute Activity Works video in their classroom. (right) Ringing like the Liberty Bell is one of the exercise moves school children are led through in an Activity Works video that takes kids on an adventure to major cities along the Eastern Seaboard.

funding for 31 of these programs were on the chopping block. The NYC Youth Funders Network stepped in, holding briefings on these spending cuts and meeting with City officials to find a way to restore funding. “Replacing government funding with private funding is often impossible and sometimes unwise,” says Roderick Jenkins, chairman of the Youth Funders Network and a Trust program officer, “but in this case we approached the City to find a way to restore the $1.2 million needed to keep these programs running, and we were able to meet the Department of Youth and Community Development half way.” To get the ball rolling, The Trust created the Summer Matters Fund and committed $100,000. We recruited other funders to raise the rest of the $600,000. They include: the Altman, Bank of America, Booth Ferris, Pinkerton, Helena Rubenstein, MetLife, and New York Life foundations; and individual Trust donors. One recent study shows that two-thirds of the achievement gap between affluent and poor youth is directly related to the dearth of summer learning opportunities in poor communities. The groups that run OST programs play an integral part in stemming this learning loss. “They keep kids engaged at a critical developmental stage, and keep them competitive with more affluent youth, whose learning is often continued in the summer on family vacations and at camps,” continues Jenkins. “If kids can


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“We are strong proponents of getting to know what kids are learning during the school year and building on that through summer projects that enrich and expand on those subjects,” says Katherine Eckstein, director of public policy at the Children’s Aid Society, which runs several of the restored summer programs. At the Madison Square Boys and Girls clubhouses in Brooklyn and the Bronx, kids compete to see which clubhouse can read the most books, in addition to playing sports or working on science projects. “We split the kids into food group teams to teach them about proteins, starches, sugars, etc.—it helps kids make healthier eating choices,” says Madison Square’s Salina Muellich. “Whatever it is we are trying to teach, we strive to make it fun.”

Beyond the Hokey Pokey Kids squirm, and that’s when they’re not playing, running, falling, or painting with food. But they’re not just keeping their parents and teachers busy. “Kids learn better while they’re getting exercise—it’s called kinetic learning,” says Nancy Copperman, director of public health initiatives at North Shore-LIJ Health System. “They retain more while they’re moving because they have increased cerebral blood flow. Kids are also better able to focus after being active.” Unfortunately, City kids don’t get enough exercise— especially in poor communities with little open space and inadequate physical education programs in school. Lack of exercise and bad nutrition has led to an alarmingly high obesity rate in poor children. These kids are far more likely to suffer from serious health problems such as asthma and diabetes—and additional disease if they keep the weight on as adults.

“Physical activity can build self-confidence, improve concentration, and lead to better behavior and more participation in class.” — Irfan Hasan, health program officer

Principals and teachers want to create healthier schools, but imminent cuts in school funding aren’t helping. In these circumstances, one solution is to bring the gym into the classroom. North Shore-LIJ has created a cheap and simple program to do this, called Activity Works. Developed especially for elementary school social studies, science, and math classes, a set of 20 DVDs brings interactive adventures to first, second, and third graders, who are guided through fun 15-minutelong activities that reinforce what they’re learning. A $75,000 grant to North Shore-LIJ Health System Foundation will help it introduce the program into 10 City schools with high percentages of overweight kids. Kids might fly like airplanes over the Great Pyramids of Giza, exercise with Olympic athletes (and learn what they eat), or hop along the Great Wall of China. “When we were developing this program, it was very important to teachers to have a tool that was simple to use, and something that enhanced the subjects they were exploring in class,” continues Copperman. “Physical activity can build self-confidence, improve concentration, and lead to better behavior and more participation in class,” says Irfan Hasan, health program officer at The Trust. “This is a perfect way to engage a restless room full of 6-, 7-, and 8-year-olds who want to do anything but sit down.”

Good things come in small (and mid-sized) packages: Supporting the arts through a tough economy

As incubators of talent and laboratories for the creative process, small and mid-sized nonprofit dance and theater groups are a vital part of the City’s arts world. But in these harsh economic times, some of these groups could end up on the endangered species list,

or worse. The Trust does not typically make general support grants, but extraordinary times call for helping extraordinary arts organizations with their operating costs. Grants totaling $1,000,000 were awarded to 21 groups that provide New Yorkers and global audiences with outstanding dance, theater, and literary experiences. You may not remember his name, but you know his work. Shen Wei is the founder of Shen Wei Dance Arts and lead choreographer of the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics. This New York City company got a $60,000 grant to support its work with other artists, fusing theater, visual arts, Asian philosophy, and modern dance. The dance troupe will perform at the Park Avenue Armory, Judson Memorial Church, and the Brooklyn and Metropolitan museums. It will also hold experimental interdisciplinary art labs and then invite the public to participate in salons to discuss the creative process exhibited in the labs. In 1985, award-winning dancer Ronald Brown founded Evidence, a company housed in his native Brooklyn. His choreography reflects the cultural cacophony of the human experience, blending dance forms from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa, and combining these with kinetic storytelling, modern dance, and hip-hop.  Works by Evidence explore the history of African Americans and pass on African culture to a new generation.  A $60,000 grant will help this group reach a larger audience at various Brooklyn venues and workshops at Medger Evers College and the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. Celebrating Hispanic culture and alternating between English- and Spanish-language performances, Long Island City’s Thalia Spanish Theatre draws a diverse audience to plays and musicals, such as Requiem for Lorca, a Flamenco Nightingale, an homage to the Spanish poet Federico Lorca. A $50,000 grant will support this work, along with interactive musicals, a Three Kings Day celebration, and bilingual theater workshops for kids.

August 2010


in Queens that develops and presents experimental plays and contemporary dance. • Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, $60,000 for a flamenco dance company which, in addition to regular performances, runs a “Flamenco in the Boros” program and is preserving the oral histories of flamenco in New York in partnership with the New York Public Library. Visitors can sit inside or out at events held at the new home of Poets House in Battery Park. • House Foundation for the Arts, $50,000 for an interdisciplinary Poets House just moved to a bigger home in Battery Park performance group founded by Meredith Monk. The City, which means more space for an extensive poetry library company is also starting an after-school program at and audio archives. To make the most of this new space, LaGuardia High School to teach interdisciplinary the organization will use a $60,000 grant to offer readings, performance. lectures, workshops, and seminars year round. It will hold a • Joyce Theater Foundation, $60,000 for dance lecture series exploring the intersection of poetry and science; presentations at the Joyce Soho. a children’s program connecting poetry to art, music, and • La Mama Experimental Theatre Club, $60,000 to nature; and a free lunch series that explores poetry’s evolution present 60 productions, workshops, and readings of new from Homer through post-modernism. and developing plays. • LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, $60,000 to The following grants were also made: present and produce theater and dance at its theater • Asian American Writers’ Workshop, $30,000 for at LaGuardia Community College. The Center’s LAB readings, panel discussions, book launches, and writing program also awards free rehearsal space to 12 dance workshops focused on Asian-American writers. and theater groups, giving them technical assistance, • Atlantic Theater Company, $40,000 for the company’s marketing support, and use of its theater. new play development and production program. • Latino International Theater Festival of New York, • Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, $20,000 for a $30,000 for a presenter of Latino theater. In addition performing arts group showcasing work addressing to featuring artists from New York, Latin America, the issues such as racism, sexism, and homophobia. Works Caribbean, and Spain, it will develop and stage readings include an adaptation of the Wizard of Oz set in the of four plays by winners of its high school playwriting South Bronx and readings by poet Eileen Myles and competition. playwright Sarah Schulman. • Pregones Touring Puerto Rican Theater Collection, • Buglisi Dance Theatre, $30,000 to support a $60,000 for a Bronx theater ensemble that performs contemporary dance company that will tour nationally and tours productions rooted in the Boricua tradition. and hold 40 performances, workshops, and other events In addition to its bilingual performances in its 130for City audiences. seat theater, it will hold educational workshops, master • Chez Bushwick, $30,000 for a Brooklyn contemporary classes, and host other performing companies. dance group that showcases emerging choreographers, • 651 Arts, $50,000 for African-American dance, theater, hosts international residencies, and provides inexpensive and literary performances at Brooklyn venues such as the rehearsal space. BAM Harvey Theater and the Kumble Theater at Long • Chocolate Factory Theater, $20,000 for a small theater Island University. In addition, the company will provide


GRANTS Newsletter

residencies to two artists, which include time working with youth in Brooklyn high schools. • Soho Repertory Theatre, $50,000 for a small theater that develops and produces experimental American plays. • STREB, $60,000 for a Brooklyn contemporary dance company known for its athleticism, acrobatics, and gravity-defying performances. Forty dance, trapeze, and aerial yoga classes each week are offered to the public by the STREB Lab for Action Mechanics. • Urban Bush Women, $60,000 for a Brooklyn African-American dance company. Just back from a tour of South America as an official cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department, the troupe will be performing for local audiences at Harlem Stage and the Joyce, among other venues. Dancers will lead residencies at Queensborough Community College, Long Island University, and the 92nd Street Y.

Medicare Rights Center’s Frederic Riccardi trains Lisa Okamoto to help Medicare recipients who call the Center’s hotline.

You shouldn’t have to be a brain surgeon to be able to figure out if you’re covered for brain surgery. Yet millions of elderly and immigrant New Yorkers are unable to understand the complexities of Medicare and Medicaid eligibility, fees, subsidies, premiums, and drug plans. Because of the recent changes in our national health care system, even the agencies these people turn to for help are struggling to best help their clients.

Even before federal health reform, few elders understood all of their choices and confusion led to gaps in coverage and increased costs. Last year, The Trust helped the Center streamline its enrollment and counseling services to help more seniors through the financial crisis, many of whom saw their retirement savings plummet. A new grant of $75,000 will help Medicare Rights train staff of elderserving agencies, including the Isabella Geriatric Center and the Hamilton-Madison House, to help at least 1,000 seniors apply for low-income Medicare programs and appeal when claims are denied. “Medicare Rights’ staff members helped my sister re-enroll in a Medicare Savings Program,” says the family of one client. “The whole process was very daunting, and without their involvement and care, she would have easily lost her benefits.”

Saving Seniors Money

Figuring Out Who is Covered and for What

While Medicare covers a lot, filling pill boxes and paying premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance can mean foregoing dinner or paying rent for many poor and fixedincome seniors in the City. Subsidies and reimbursement programs are available but with a dizzying array of Medicare options, many seniors don’t know about them or need help enrolling. In fact, less than one-half of those eligible have even applied for help. “These programs can save seniors upwards of $5,000 per year, which means a lot, especially when you live on a fixed income,” says Rachel Bennett, program development director at Medicare Rights Center.

“Will I get deported if I bring my child to the hospital?” “What am I eligible for, and what are my kids eligible for?” “What are my options if I don’t have insurance and I’m undocumented?” “If I’m sponsoring my mother, am I liable for her medical bills?” “Has health care reform changed any of this?”

Navigating the Medicare and Medicaid Maze

The staff of immigrant-serving agencies hear these questions all the time—and answering them has never been simple—but with new changes brought about with health care reform, help is needed to make sure staff is giving out the most up-to-date information.

August 2010


“From an economic and public health perspective it makes sense to have as many

Other Grants

people receiving health care as possible.” —Jenny Rejeske, health advocacy coordinator, New York Immigration Coalition


Citizens Budget Commission, $60,000 to research options for improving the State’s fiscal future. Community Voices Heard, $60,000 to get low-income communities involved in charter revision and redistricting.

Sorting out what programs are available, and for whom, is no small task. For instance, undocumented immigrants are still not eligible for full-coverage Medicaid, nor are they allowed to buy insurance. However, all immigrant youth under the age of 19, pregnant women, adolescents, and those with medical emergencies can get subsidized medical care. And while 85 percent of immigrants are legal residents, many of them do not take advantage of the subsidized health care options available. “Many eligible immigrants don’t use available health programs because it’s complicated and confusing, especially for those who don’t speak the language,” says Jenny Rejeske, health advocacy coordinator at the New York Immigration Coalition. “As a result, immigrants in general use the health system at much lower rates than native residents.”


Fiscal Policy Institute, $75,000 to help the nonprofit sector understand City and State budgets. CITY ENVIRONMENT

Make the Road New York, $60,000 to reduce indoor environmental pollution, such as mold, and hazardous housing conditions affecting the health of poor families. Natural Resources Defense Council, $50,000 to protect the City’s drinking water through advocacy to limit land development in drinking watersheds, restrict disposal of pharmaceutical drugs in the water system, and promote sustainable agriculture. New York State Gas Drilling Protection Project, $150,000 to address the public health and environmental effects of gas drilling in the City’s drinking watersheds. Riverkeeper, $50,000 to protect the City’s drinking water by working with communities in the watersheds to promote smart growth, and by monitoring environmental review of real estate and other developments.

A $140,000 grant will help the Immigration Coalition coordinate efforts to help more eligible immigrants get health care. It will develop materials explaining who is eligible for what types of government insurance. It will also work with nine of the partners, such as Filipino American Human Services and Haitian-Americans United for Progress, to organize fifty community information forums and work with health care providers to ensure that they continue to provide the full range of health services required by State law.

Urban Green Council, $60,000 to advocate for the adoption and implementation of green building codes in the City.

Rejeske continues: “From an economic and public health perspective it makes sense to have as many people receiving health care as possible. Preventive care will save everyone money in the long run, and of course you always want those you work, learn, and commute with to be as healthy as possible.”

Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health, $50,000 for the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling disaster.

GRANTS newsletter


EarthJustice, $100,000 to promote the reduction of black carbon emissions. Great Plains Institute for Sustainable Development, $100,000 to reduce global warming by implementing a part of the Midwestern Governors Association energy accord that expands the capacity of the electrical grid to carry the wind power of the plains.

International POPS Elimination Network, $50,000 to eliminate the use of toxic chemicals through global agreements.

NESCAUM, $100,000 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through development of a low-carbon fuel standard in 11 Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states.

Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation, $60,000 for an after-school program for underachieving students in two Brooklyn middle schools.

Oceana, $75,000 to promote offshore wind development and prevent offshore drilling.


Silent Sprint Institute, $75,000 to study the health risks of chemicals in the environment. Smart Growth America, $200,000 for a national campaign to promote sustainable transportation policies that offer more alternatives, preserve open space, and invest in a greener economy. TEDX, $75,000 to provide scientific information about endocrine disruptors to policymakers and environmentalists advocating for improved chemical policies. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

American Red Cross in Greater New York, $50,000 to improve and expand an interactive volunteer database. CHILDREN, YOUTH, AND FAMILIES

Administration for Children’s Services, $298,000 to coordinate services for children, youth, and families affected by substance abuse and mental illness. Community Service Society of New York, $75,000 to produce and disseminate a report on the concerns and plight of poor New Yorkers in the aftermath of the recession. Futures and Options, $25,000 to expand an internship program for high school students that includes workshops in public speaking, networking, applying to college, and personal finance.

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, $60,000 to help it merge with Dance Theater Workshop. Brooklyn Academy of Music, $100,000 to plan for using the Fisher Building for educational programs, after-school workshops, and professional development for artists. EDUCATION

CUNY Center for Human Environments, $200,000 to improve college readiness and graduation rates in high schools with students from poor families, including disabled and non-English proficient students. Educational Video Center, $50,000 to strengthen the City’s transfer high schools, which offer specialized support for former drop-outs, by starting six documentary production programs. New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation, $30,000 to reduce the number of students arrested for minor offenses in City public schools. NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, $100,000 to expand learning opportunities in high-need neighborhoods by advocating for a longer school day and year. Shinnecock Indian Nation Fund, $46,000 for an internship and mentoring program and life-skills and college prep classes for teenage boys living on the Shinnecock Reservation. HEALTH

Girl Scout Council of Greater New York, $175,000 to expand a career exploration program for girls attending low-performing Bronx middle schools.

Coalition of New York State Public Health Plans, $65,000 to test and evaluate whether the new State health insurance application is consumer friendly.

New York Academy of Medicine, $150,000 to expand a science and health career program for minority girls in middle school.

New York Legal Assistance Group, $100,000 to help people with serious health problems, especially cancer, get treatment.

New York Youth at Risk, $30,000 for an academic and mentoring program for boys in Far Rockaway middle schools at risk of dropping out of school and getting in trouble with the law.

New York University College of Nursing, $124,000 to study the effectiveness of combining two nursing programs to improve hospital care for elderly patients.

Police Athletic League, $80,000 to expand a community program for delinquent youth from the South Bronx, Harlem, and Central Brooklyn.

Prevent Blindness Tri-State, $60,000 to screen and treat preschool children for eye problems. VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, $175,000 to train youth to help visually impaired seniors.

Queens Library Foundation, $88,000 for a program that uses high school and college students to help staff afterschool programs for children in eight Queens libraries.

August 2010


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August 2010 NEWSLETTER

Inside: Saving Summer, Beyond the Hokey Pokey, Navigating the Medicare and Medicaid Maze, and more…


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The grants described in this issue were approved by The New York Community Trust’s governing body at its June 2010 meeting. For grantee contact information, or for more information about the grants, please call The Trust’s receptionist at 212.686.0010, ext. 0. This issue and past newsletters can be found at If you’d prefer to receive our newsletter by email, write to

Shen Wei Dance Arts dancers performing Connect Transfer Calligraphy. Photo by David Massio Studios

Most of the grants in our newsletter are made possible through the generosity of past donors who established permanent, charitable funds with us during their lifetimes or through their wills. To learn more about setting up a fund, please contact our general counsel, Jane Wilton, at 212.686.2563.

August 2010 Grants Newsletter  

Our 2010 Newsletter that gives a complete look at the competitive grants approved at the June 2010 board meeting.