Critical Needs in New York City

Curated by Shawn Morehead
Photo by City Harvest

New York, NY

What’s the fastest, most efficient way to make New York better? Give to The New York Community Trust’s Annual Fund for Critical Needs!

Since 1924, The Trust has worked to find promising solutions to complex problems in New York, and to help make a healthy, equitable, and thriving community for all. Each year, with a staff of nine experts in fields ranging from youth development to older adults to human justice and the City’s open spaces, we identify the most pressing needs across the five boroughs and, with funds raised, make grants to effective nonprofits addressing those needs through research, policy advocacy, and direct services.

Help us champion justice, improve education, protect the environment, expand the arts, make New York healthier, and provide opportunities and care for all. No amount is too small (or too big!) Grouped with other contributions, your gift can make a big impact in the lives of New Yorkers.

We’ll report back throughout the year as grants are made. Below are some of the 2019 grant recipients from the fund:

• HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services – support young adults as they transition out of foster care;
• Release Aging People in Prison – to advocate for the release of elderly prisoners; and
• Planned Parenthood of New York City – to develop and test a sex education curriculum for youth with developmental disabilities.

Nonprofits in this fund

The New York Community Trust

Annual Fund for Critical Needs

New York NY 10022 US

Disclosure: Shawn is the Vice President for Grants at The New York Community Trust

Shawn Morehead's giving strategy

In a City with a budget of approximately $90 billion, investing even $50 million in philanthropic funding is an exercise in precision. Rather than simply add to billions of dollars of public services, I work with our team of subject matter experts to identify timely opportunities to improve the public systems that affect millions of lower- and middle-income City residents. Systemic change often requires a combination of research, advocacy, and examples of better service delivery. In recent years, with The Trust’s support, this combination has (among other things) helped reduce the number of incarcerated young people by raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York State, made the City’s paratransit system more responsive, and improved reading instruction in hundreds of public elementary schools. Of course, better public policy can take years. The Trust sticks with the causes New Yorkers care about, turning donors' interests and nonprofits' good ideas into reality.

About Shawn Morehead

Shawn oversees The Trust’s competitive grantmaking program, which distributes approximately $50 million annually. She also serves as co-chair of the Fund for New Citizens and Donors’ Education Collaborative, and is on the board of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees. Before becoming Vice President for Grants, Shawn oversaw The Trust's education and human justice grants. Prior to coming to The Trust, Shawn collaborated on recommendations to the Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education to improve services for students with disabilities, and prior to that she was the Litigation Director at Advocates for Children of New York, where she managed a docket of systemic reform cases concerning education and civil rights on behalf of New York City public school students. Shawn received her J.D. from Stanford Law School. Before law school, she taught middle school special education in Shreveport, Louisiana.

10 years of grantmaking experience

Experience at The New York Community Trust

More about Shawn Morehead