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Posted on: May 12, 2023

The Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Fund Awards $301,000 in Grants to 12 Nonprofits

Screenshot 2023-05-12 at 10.17.54 AM

For information, contact Marty Lipp at or 917-774-8159

New York—May 12—The Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Fund (the Fund) has announced $301,000 in two-year grants to 12 nonprofits working to benefit Roosevelt Island residents and enhance their quality of life.

Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) was created in 1984 by the State of New York to plan, design, develop, and maintain Roosevelt Island. RIOC asked The New York Community Trust (The Trust) to administer its public purpose grants and created the Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Fund in The Trust in 2022.

“RIOC is always proud to support our incredible community groups with these Public Purpose Fund grants,” said Shelton J. Haynes, president and CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. “This grant money will go a long way toward ensuring our nonprofits can continue to maintain programming that enhances the quality of life on the Island. Our thanks to New York Community Trust for once again helping to manage this process, from the grant application phase through the award disbursements.” 

“As the community foundation for New York City, The Trust is proud to help bring these needed services to Roosevelt Island residents and to strengthen the nonprofits serving the Island,” said Julia Chang, philanthropic initiatives officer at The Trust.

The awards program, which began in 1989, supports projects to make life on Roosevelt Island more enjoyable and equitable for all. The $301,000 in two-year grants will go to 12 nonprofit organizations for a variety of services to Island residents: from arts education for young students to food pantry services to classes for older adults.

The Trust convened an independent, five-person advisory committee of members of the Roosevelt Island community to review applications and make grant recommendations. The committee members live or work on the island; have nonprofit and/or public service experience; and reflect race, age, and gender diversity. Members were anonymous during the review period to keep the process fair and confidential. Their names and affiliations are:

●      Carlos Chavez, manager of the Roosevelt Island Library

  • Skip Hartman, owner of Roosevelt Island Racquet Club and founder of New York Junior Tennis and Learning Network  
  • Jessica Klein, associate design director at Change.Org
  • Sharon Pope-Marshall, executive director of CIVITAS and Manhattan Community Board 8 member

●      Jax Schott, owner of Island Om

In April, the committee met to discuss each application and to collectively make decisions about grantees and grant amounts. Based on formal criteria laid out in the Request for Proposals, they prioritized projects that enhanced the well-being of Roosevelt Island residents; organizations with a history of commitment and a proven track record of serving Roosevelt Island; that filled a critical gap in services to historically under-resourced communities (such as low-income populations, communities of color, older adults, and people with disabilities); that clearly articulated project outcomes and activities; and that aimed for long-term engagement with beneficiaries.

The grant recipients are:

●      The Carter Burden Network, $29,000, to provide case management services to Korean-speaking residents.

  • iDig2Learn, $20,000, for a community meals, composting, and beautification project.
  • Island Kids, $20,000, for summer camp scholarships for 15 or more children.
  • Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance, $40,000, for 200 scholarships and work-study placements and 30 internships.
  • Open Doors, a project of the Center for Transformative Action, $25,000, to publish a poetry anthology and provide poetry workshops.
  • PTA PS/IS 217, $26,000, for dance arts education for 300 3K, Pre-K, and kindergarten students.
  • Roosevelt Island: A Living Library/Life Frames, $28,000, to expand the “Vegetables and Me” workshop series, provide nutritional workshops, and expand accessibility offerings.
  • Roosevelt Island Concerts, $13,000, to hold a performance and community outreach concert series.
  • Roosevelt Island Disabled Association, $40,000, to provide food pantry services, field trips, and a mental health fair to disabled and older adult communities.
  • Roosevelt Island Historical Society, $20,000, to support the Roosevelt Island visitor center and educational lecture series.
  • Roosevelt Island Senior Association, $20,000, for community events and weekend and evening classes for older adults.

●      Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association, $20,000, for a series of community events and exhibitions.

In addition, the Fund provided a grant of $15,000 to Community Resource Exchange to offer a series of free management and network-building workshops to grantees and other Roosevelt Island nonprofits. The workshops will help strengthen nonprofits in areas such as marketing, fundraising, and creating strategic partnerships.

About The New York Community Trust

The New York Community Trust is a public charity and New York City’s largest community foundation. It connects generous people and institutions with high-impact nonprofits making the city and its suburbs a better place for all. It builds stronger communities, influences public policy, fosters innovation, improves lives, and protects our environment.

About the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation was created in 1984 by the State of New York as a public benefit corporation with a mission to plan, design, develop, operate, and maintain Roosevelt Island.


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