Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund Expands its Arts in Health Initiative

2020 grants support new programs that increase access to the arts to address mental health stigma, trauma, and aging-related diseases

Programs include visual arts, dance, and film-making to serve community members, caregivers and people facing health challenges across New York City

(New York, February 4, 2020) Philanthropist Laurie M. Tisch announced today the expansion of the Illumination Fund’s Arts in Health Initiative to include 3 additional organizations and new programs at 7 others. The new grantees are Mekong NYC, CaringKind’s connect2culture, and Queens Museum’s ArtAccess.

In 2018 the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund launched a $10-million multi-year initiative to support organizations working on health issues that impact New York communities and that utilize the arts as a tool for healing, with a special emphasis on improving access and addressing disparities in health outcomes. The initiative highlights the value of multiple artistic disciplines, including visual art, dance, music, theater, and film, and focuses on three main issues: mental health stigma, trauma, aging-related diseases, as well as caring for caregivers and frontline healthcare staff.

The Illumination Fund is providing new grants to support arts in health initiatives in these organizations:

Mekong NYC focuses on improving the quality of life of Cambodians, Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian communities in the Bronx and throughout New York City. These refugee communities are challenged by health and mental health disparities as well as collective trauma due to war, genocide, and resettlement.  The organization provides access to essential social services, and through cultural and community-building programs Mekong NYC utilizes traditional visual and performing arts to strengthen intergenerational connections, build community pride, foster healing from trauma, and support resilience.

CaringKind’s connect2culture harnesses the power of creative arts and culture and of positive social interaction to improve the lives of persons with dementia and their caregivers. CaringKind, formerly known as Alzheimer’s Association, New York City Chapter, has a particular focus on supporting families and caregivers, who experience higher rates of depression, isolation, and stress than non-dementia caregivers. Connect2Culture is one of CaringKind’s flagship programs, partnering with museums, performing arts organizations and other NYC-based cultural venues to provide participatory programming and to train staff in develop meaningful access programs for people with dementia and their caregivers. The program is undertaking outreach to establish programs in the Bronx and other boroughs.

Queens Museum: ArtAccess provides programs for thousands of children and adults with varying physical, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive abilities across the New York City area, particularly the residents of Queens, a uniquely diverse and international community. ArtAccess also provides outreach services to members of their community who are in special situations, such as hospital-bound children suffering from extended illness, people with disabilities, special-needs students, caregivers, incarcerated youth, and children in foster care. ArtAccess programs are designed and led by licensed art therapists and arts educators.

Additionally, The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund is providing new grants to advance the work of the following outstanding organizations through initiatives and development of organizational capacity.

Changing Minds Young Filmmakers Competition, a program of Community Access, is an online film submission competition for filmmakers ages 15-25, using film as a storytelling medium to combat mental health stigma among youth. Last year youth from across the country submitted more than 950 films, and Community Access debuted its first Changing Minds Young Filmmaker Festival to show selected films.  In 2020, Community Access is launching a partnership with the Jewish Board to reach classroom teachers, guidance counselors, and mental health professionals at public schools in New York City, as well as at community colleges and youth-serving organizations.

Fountain House Gallery, a program of Fountain House, provides an environment for artists living and working with serious mental illness to pursue their creative visions and to challenge the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Its Gallery in Manhattan is a nonprofit exhibition space.  In 2017, Fountain House established a dedicated studio space in Long Island City to provide working space for artists with mental illness and create opportunities to foster artistic talent, further mental health recovery, and prepare these artists to enter the highly competitive art market.. This year, Fountain House Gallery is building upon its successful Artist Studio Program by hosting artists in residence and providing training workshops and guidance in professional development.  

The Art Therapy Project is the only non-profit in New York dedicated solely to providing free, guided art therapy to adults and youth affected by trauma, including veterans, survivors of sexual assault, and at-risk youth. In partnership with more than two dozen nonprofit organizations throughout NYC, the Art Therapy Project uses the creative process and support from art therapists to learn how to explore feelings, increase self-awareness, and cope with life’s challenges. In 2020, the organization is expanding training for working and aspiring Licensed Creative Arts Therapists, social workers, and mental health professionals.

Gibney uses dance and movement workshops as a vehicle to help survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Gibney’s Move To Move Beyond program helps survivors address issues of choice, self-care and self-expression. In partnership with Sanctuary for Families, Gibney choreographers and dancers offer over 365 workshops yearly at local domestic violence shelters and partner sites. In 2020, Gibney is working with a group of Sanctuary for Families “Survivor Leaders” to offer performance and advocacy opportunities so that their experiences can educate and inspire broader communities.

The Creative Center at University Settlement uses arts participation to promote creative aging and as an outlet for patients and survivors of cancer and other serious diseases. In 2020, The Creative Center will advance core programs, including Artists in Residence at hospitals in New York City, daily workshops in visual, performing, and literary arts, and a Training Institute for Artists and Administrators in Healthcare and Creative Aging.

Dance for PD, a program of the Mark Morris Dance Group, provides dance and movement workshops for people with Parkinson’s Disease, with classes available in all five boroughs. The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund’s grant will support ongoing programming as well as expansion of these programs to communities in need in Upper Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Central Brooklyn, as part of an initiative to increase diversity, equity, inclusion, access to, and engagement in classes.

Arts & Minds provides museum-based workshops for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementia and their caregivers at 14 museums. In 2020, Arts & Minds is expanding outreach in the Spanish-speaking communities of East Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood, where rates of dementia are disproportionately high, and will be formalizing a training program for museum staff and docents to design and implement programs in additional sites.  

“In 2018 a national Harris Poll found that more than 8 in 10 Americans believe the arts can help address key health challenges in their lives and in the lives of their loved ones,” said Rick Luftglass, Executive Director of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. “The public sees the power of the arts in challenging mental health stigma, overcoming traumatic events, and providing therapeutic benefits and quality of life for people with aging-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, other dementias and Parkinson’s. Our Arts in Health initiative helps strengthen and advance these innovative programs.”

About the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund

The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund is a New York City-based foundation that strives to improve access and opportunity for all New Yorkers and foster healthy and vibrant communities.  The Illumination Fund plays an active role in supporting innovative approaches across a range of issues – ensuring that the arts and arts education are accessible to all, increasing access to healthy food, promoting civic service, and promoting economic opportunity. In 2018, the Illumination Fund launched Arts in Health, a $10-million multi-year initiative to support organizations working on health issues that impact New York communities and that emphasize the arts as a tool for healing and building understanding. The new initiative’s areas of focus have included the unique role of the arts in addressing mental illness stigma, trauma, and aging-related diseases. For more information, visit or follow @LMTischFund on Twitter.

Galerie Magazine: How Laurie Tisch is Encouraging Wellness through Access to Art

On a brilliant autumn day, an animated group gathered in the garden at McKinney Hospital in Brooklyn for a painting party. As they worked on a series of panels for an outdoor mural, residents of the nursing home chatted alongside doctors, nurses, neighborhood community members, and the philanthropist Laurie Tisch, who made the project possible. Through her Illumination Fund, Tisch contributed $1.5 million to launch Arts in Medicine, an array of new and expanded programs that use art to benefit patients and staff throughout the NYC Health + Hospitals public health-care system, which is the largest in the country.

“It’s taking what really smart and dedicated people have developed and making it bigger and more accessible,” says Tisch, whose recent grant is one of 13 made so far under the umbrella of her $10 million initiative, Arts in Health, announced last year.

Read whole article in Galerie

NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine program releases Request for Qualifications for 2020 Community Mural Project

Request for Qualifications (RFQ)




NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine (AIM), with support from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, is seeking a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for lead artists to work on the NYC Health + Hospitals Community Murals Project (CMP). Continuing the tradition established in the 1930s when the Works Progress Administration supported hundreds of murals across New York City’s public hospitals, the CMP will connect artists and local community members to re-imagine hospitals and promote greater neighborhood wellness.

Visual artists will engage with patients, staff, and local residents to create an integrated internal or external mural at selected NYC Health + Hospitals facilities. The aim of the program is to use a collaborative mural making process as a tool to build trust and engagement between the hospitals and their communities, build neighborhood pride, and reduce the stigma associated with hospitals through community building activities.

Proposed themes can include:

  • Stronger Together
  • We are Part of Something Great
  • We Make a Difference
  • Health & Wellness for All
  • Freedom to Thrive
  • ICARE Values (Integrity, Compassion, Accountability, Respect, Excellence)

NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine anticipates selecting ten (10) professional visual artists to work closely with ten (10) NYC Health + Hospitals facilities to engage staff and community members in a participatory design process and to create and install ten (10) health themed murals. Murals will be installed in both internal and external locations at the facilities, all of which will be highly visible public areas. This collaboration will last from March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. This RFQ is soliciting ten (10) professional visual artists that have a portfolio of work executing large-scale murals, have connections with the boroughs and communities of New York City, and experience facilitating workshops and events that engage diverse communities in the creative process.

Project Budget:
The Project Budget is $8,000.00 per location for artist fees including design services, community engagement, site preparation, fabrication, travel, and installation. NYC Health + Hospitals AIM will provide any necessary supplies, permits, insurance, and documentation. NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine Department will execute a deliverables-based MOU valued at $8,000.00 with the lead artist. Lead artists will be paid 1/2 upfront, and 1/2 upon completion. NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine Department will cover all costs related to art supplies and additional materials for workshops and community events, equipment for the installation, special insurance, permits for mural sites and other relevant costs relating to the production of the murals.

Who May Apply:
Professional visual artists or artist teams working in any media, legally authorized to work in the United States, and who are at least 18 years of age, are eligible to apply. Artists with ties to neighborhoods and communities of the participating NYC Health + Hospitals facilities are encouraged to apply, as well as artists with experience in community engagement practices. NYC Health + Hospitals is committed to the values of inclusion and advancing diversity in the field of arts and health. We highly encourage applicants that are traditionally underrepresented* to submit to this RFQ.

*Including, but not limited to: Immigrant, Indigenous, LGBTQIA, Person of Color, Person with Disability, Socioeconomic Disadvantaged

The project period will occur from March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

Deadline for Submission of RFQ:

Friday, February 7, 2020 at 11:59 pm EDT
**Late applications may be disqualified from consideration.**

Finalist Interviews will be held during of February 20 and February 21, 2020.

Selected artists will be notified on February 28, 2020

Project Locations:

Size of each mural will not exceed 300 square feet

**You will be able to choose your preferred locations in the application form linked at the end of this description:

Queens Hospital (Interior Wall)
82-68 164th St, Jamaica, NY 11432
Coler Specialty Hospital (Interior Wall)
900 Main St, Roosevelt Island, New York, NY 10044
Judson Gotham Health (Interior Wall)
34 Spring St, Manhattan, NY 10012
Elmhurst Hospital (Interior)
79-01 Broadway, Elmhurst, NY 11373
Lincoln Medical Center (Interior Wall)
234 E 149th St, The Bronx, NY 10451
Woodhull Hospital (Exterior Wall)
760 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11206
Gouverneur Gotham Health (Exterior)
227 Madison St, Manhattan, NY 10002
Harlem Hospital (Interior Wall)
506 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10037
Sea View Hospital (Interior Wall)
460 Brielle Ave, Staten Island, NY 10314
Jacobi Hospital (Exterior Wall)
1400 Pelham Pkwy S, The Bronx, NY 10461

Project Calendar:

Mural Artists will be required to be on site for 5 public events, plus additional days to present to the facility CEO, prepare mural panels before the Paint Party, finish painting after the Paint Party, and installation. Time required for preparation, finishing, and installation will be dependent on mural size and detail.

Each mural project will be executed over a period of four (4) months, on a rolling basis from March 9, 2020 through December 31, 2020. The NYC Health + Hospitals facility will choose their start date and mural artists may be paired accordingly.

All mural artists will be required to attend an in-person training and onboarding in March 2020, exact date TBD

Artists are expected to develop mural concepts, themes, imagery through engaging with the H + H staff, patients, and greater community during Engagement Day, Focus Groups, and CEO Presentation. Designs will not be considered final until approved by the facility CEO. The CEO will be asked to limit rounds of revisions to a maximum of two (2).


To Apply to be a mural artist, visit:

Application Form: 2020 Lead Artists for NYC Health + Hospitals Community Murals Project


If you have any further questions or inquiries about the Request for Qualifications, please email them to:
or you can reach out via: Residency Unlimited’s Contact Page


NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine Program Selects Artists to Lead Hospital-Based Community Murals


Project uses a collaborative mural making process to encourage creativity, lower stress, build trust and increase engagement between the hospitals and members of their surrounding communities

 On July 18, NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine program announced that it has selected nine artists to lead the community-based mural projects at eight hospitals across New York City. The artists, chosen from more than 100 applications, will engage patients, staff, and local community residents to create an integrated internal or external mural at NYC Health + Hospitals facilities. Each collaboration will occur between August 1 and December 31, 2019. The collaborative mural-making process is a tool to encourage creativity, build trust and engagement between the hospitals and their communities, reduce stigma and foster pride in the hospitals through community-building activities. The project is a flagship component of NYC Health + Hospitals’ arts-based initiatives, made possible through the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.

“Incorporating art in medicine encourages a whole person’s approach to healing. With vibrant expressions of color, imagination and culturally meaningful symbols, the community murals will produce, naturally, those surges of pleasure and distraction that reduce pain and frustration. In addition to bringing communities and community members together, these murals will help provide greater insight into the lives and concerns of community residents,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “We are proud to promote this work with talented artists across the city, and look forward to creating more thoughtful and emotionally nourishing spaces in our communities.”

“It is clear from decades of research that the arts promote healing in many important ways. The arts help celebrate shared history and culture, promote physical healing, reduce stress and support mental health,” said Eric Wei, MD, MBA, Vice President and Chief Quality Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals, and Chair of the Art Advisory Council. “With the Community Murals Project and the other programs in our Arts in Medicine initiative we’re able to expand our long tradition of arts in healthcare to more NYC Health + Hospitals’ patients, staff and neighborhoods.

“The Arts in Medicine Community Murals Project is much more than an art installation in our hospitals,” said Dave Chokshi, MD, MSc, FACP, Vice President and Chief Population Health Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals, and Co-Chair of the Art Advisory Council. “We’re engaging patients, staff and local residents to participate in the mural painting process, emphasizing NYC Health + Hospitals’ focus on community building and partnerships.”

“NYC Health + Hospitals is in the vanguard of hospitals in America utilizing art as a tool in healing,” said Laurie Tisch, Founder and President of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. “We are proud to partner with NYC Health + Hospitals and the Mayor’s Fund to bring eight more murals to communities throughout New York this year. The murals and the collaborative process to create them not only increase community engagement and improve patients’ experiences, they are instrumental in creating a more positive work environment for the frontline staff and health care workers who face enormous pressure every day. These murals will be a lasting testament to the power of art to bring communities together, reduce stigma and improve lives.”

The artists and their assigned NYC Health + Hospitals facilities are:

The artists were selected through a rigorous process. Criteria included:

  • Demonstration of prior collaborative community engagement
  • Artistic excellence through a portfolio review
  • Understanding of how to work with materials suitable for a healthcare setting
  • Application of one of four proposed central themes, which included Honoring the Past, Transforming the Future; Joyful: Aesthetic of Joy; Healing Community; and Together as One
  • An interview with members of the selection committee

 The new Community Murals Project builds upon a mural tradition that started in the 1930s when the depression-era Works Progress Administration supported the creation of hundreds of murals across New York City’s public hospitals, and that continued decades later with murals by world-famous artists such as Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf. The Community Murals Project will connect artists, local community members and hospital staff to re-imagine hospitals and promote greater neighborhood wellness.

The Community Murals Project is made possible with a grant from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund through the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. The fund awarded NYC Health + Hospitals a total of $1.5 million in February 2019 to expand programs serving health care staff, patients, and communities in sites across the City. The grant also allows NYC Health + Hospitals to launch new programs that use the arts as a resource to promote employee wellness and resilience and to combat compassion fatigue.

The Arts in Medicine program at NYC Health + Hospitals seeks to foster the emotional well-being, promote healing, wellness, and engagement of patients, families, employees, and the greater health system’s community by integrating all disciplines of the arts such as literary, visual and performing arts throughout the public hospital system.

NYC Health + Hospitals curates the largest public art collection in New York City and is committed to preserving more than 5,000 works of art and making them accessible to the public. The history of the art collection dates back to the 1930s, when the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project hired artists to create works for government buildings. NYC Health + Hospitals was the fortunate recipient of approximately 60 mural panels. Today, the organization recognizes the historic and cultural significance of these murals and works to preserve them.

 Community Mural

Continuing the tradition established in the 1930s the Work Progress Administration supported hundreds of murals across New York City’s public hospitals, community murals leverage artists and local community members to re-imagine hospitals and promote greater neighborhood wellness. Mural artists will engage with patients, staff, and local residents to create an integrated internal or external mural at selected NYC Health + Hospitals facilities, developing cultural ties between artists, patients, staff, and local residents.

To learn more about the programs that are a part of NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine, please visit

Brooklyn Daily Eagle Article: Two Brooklyn Hospitals Are About to Get Some Awesome Murals

Patch Article: Forest Hills Artist to Spearhead Mural Project at Queens Hospital

Illumination Fund Launches New $10 Million Arts In Health Initiative


Building on its 10 years of supporting organizations that help improve the lives of New Yorkers, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund (LMTIF) has launched a $10-million-dollar, multi-year initiative to support organizations working on health issues that impact New York communities and that emphasize the arts as a tool for healing. The new initiative focuses on three main issues in 2018: mental illness stigma, trauma, and aging related diseases.

“Decades of scientific study show that engagement in the arts provides cognitive, emotional and physical health benefits for people from youth to old age, but there are great disparities in access to services in New York City,” says Laurie M. Tisch, president and founder of LMTIF. “This initiative will help organizations doing important work with underserved populations, increase their ability to reach more people, and build awareness of the role the arts can play in healing. At our core, we are dedicated to using the arts to help build healthy and vibrant communities in New York City.”

New York City Organizations Connecting Arts in Health

To kick off the Arts in Health Initiative, LMTIF is providing initial grants to nine New York City organizations spanning disciplines such as visual art, film, community murals, theater, dance and other arts disciplines:

Says Laurie M. Tisch, “LMTIF is deeply committed to increasing access and opportunity in a range of issues, from access to healthy food, access to the arts and arts education, to economic opportunity. That’s why I created the foundation. As with other areas in which we have focused, in Arts and Health we see significant barriers to access, and issues of inequity, so we are funding programs that help overcome disparities in access to those in need.”

In addition to making grants, LMTIF will convene its grantee partners, health experts, New York City arts leaders, foundations, philanthropists and community partners to share ideas and demonstrate impact.  Each event will focus on a distinct theme and will showcase three of LMTIF’s new grantees.

The first gathering in the foundation’s Arts in Health initiative was held April 24th, at Hunter College’s Roosevelt House, in partnership with the Aspen Institute and Hunter College.  The gathering examined ways that the arts are addressing mental health stigma. The event featured leaders of three New York-based organizations and agencies working in the field: Community Access, Fountain House and the NYC Mural Arts Project at the Department of Health. Introductory remarks will be provided by Patrick Corrigan, author, Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and a foremost expert in mental health stigma who has authored or edited more than 400 peer-reviewed articles and 15 books on mental health.

“Many people with serious mental illness are challenged doubly,” says Dr. Corrigan. “On one hand, they struggle with the symptoms and disabilities that result from the disease. On the other, they are challenged by the stereotypes and prejudice that result from misconceptions about mental illness. As a result, people with mental illness are robbed of the opportunities that define a quality life: good jobs, safe housing, satisfactory health care, and affiliation with a diverse group of people.”

According to Corrigan, “The stigma of mental illness is first and foremost a social justice issue. Although stigmatizing attitudes are not limited to mental illness, the public seems to disapprove of persons with psychiatric disabilities significantly more than persons with related conditions such as physical illness. Severe mental illness has been likened to drug addiction, prostitution, and criminality.”

Corrigan’s research has identified several key ingredients to effective anti-stigma initiatives, including face-to-face contact, sharing stories about personal challenges, presenters with “lived experiences,” contact that includes a common goal, and having an uplifting message.  Those ingredients undergird the Changing Minds Young Filmmaker Competition, the NYC Mural Arts Project, and Fountain House Gallery.

Looking Ahead

On September 13, LMTIF will convene experts and stakeholders to discuss the role of the arts in addressing trauma at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, with the Art Therapy Project, Theater of War, and Gibney. On November 28th LMTIF will host a gathering to explore the role of the arts to help address aging-related diseases at the Mark Morris Dance Studio in Brooklyn, featuring Dance for PD (Parkinson’s disease), Arts and Minds, and The Creative Center at University Settlement.


Laurie Tisch Listed in Crain’s 50 Most Powerful Women in New York

Most Powerful Women 2017

Laurie Tisch makes her debut appearance on Crain’s 50 Most Powerful Women in New York list in the #15 spot. Crain’s recognized her commitment to philanthropic areas in education, arts and culture, nutrition and healthy food. Laurie said “My philanthropy comes from a fundamental belief that circumstances of birth should not limit life’s opportunities. It’s about [expanding] access and opportunity for all New Yorkers, whether that’s access to the arts, healthy food, education or economic opportunity.”  Crain’s will host a celebratory luncheon September 26.


The New York Times Profiles Laurie Tisch

Laurie Tisch, Collecting the Giants, of New York and Modern Art

The New York Times showcased Laurie Tisch’s commitment to the visual arts in a special profile in its Art & Design column. In addition to sharing her love of modern and contemporary American artists, which has been inspired by her role as a trustee of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the article also highlighted her decades of leadership in arts education. She gave shout-outs to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the Center for Arts Education, where she was the founding board chair, and she emphasized the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund’s focus in New York City.

Laurie Tisch Launches Children’s Book Drive

On November 30th, Laurie M. Tisch, honorary chair of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) read to 30-40 children, ages 3-4, at Union Johnson Early Learning Center in East Harlem, one of 24 CMOM Health and Learning hubs sponsored by LMTIF. The event kicked-off CMOM’s city-wide holiday book drive benefiting hubs at Head Start centers and homeless shelters throughout the City. Laurie also spoke with Fox 5 NY News  and encouraged everyone to support the book drive by dropping-off new children’s books, in English or Spanish, at the Children’s Museum (212 West 83rd Street) through February 9, 2018. Watch the segment here.

It is a sad fact that 1 in 4 children in the US don’t learn to read. Literacy is an essential building block for a successful, healthy life, and with LMTIF support,  the 24 Health and Learning Hubs of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan provide important services, including arts, and literacy programs, to children in Head Start programs and homeless shelters across New York City in every borough.  Today, the Children’s Museum kicked off its holiday book drive at the Union Johnson Early Learning Center, the first learning hub for CMOM. Laurie Tisch read stories (in English and Spanish) and gave books to about 40 children ages 3 and 4, and then the children participated in artmaking and music programs. At the end of the book drive, February 9, 2018, children in the learning hubs will each receive a book to take home and read with their families.

Seventh Annual Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize Winners

On October 12, a ceremony and reception was held in honor of this year’s recipients of the seventh annual Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize. These awards are given to individuals and nonprofit organizations in the New York metropolitan area for distinguished accomplishment in urban public health.  The 2017 recipients are the Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center in the Bronx and Diane Arneth, Executive Director of Community Health Action of Staten Island and Chief Community Services Officer of Brightpoint Health.

Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center (MMFYC) serves the primarily nonwhite Crotona neighborhood of the Bronx. When its Teen Council researched the diets of children in the area in recent years, it found that fully half would likely develop diabetes in their lifetimes. Inspired to action by the results, the MMFYC empowered the Teen Council and community at large to create a health initiative to support health choices for individuals and collaboration among community leaders to ensure an environment where healthy options were available. The initiative includes a highly successful food buying club, support of a local farmers market, plus other efforts to increase access to healthy food and make systemic change. By expanding opportunities, developing leadership, and building community, it is the goal of the board, staff, and youth of the Center to change the environment of Crotona without gentrification so its residents can achieve “complete physical, mental and social wellbeing” as defined by the World Health Organization.

Diane Arneth, is the Executive Director of the Community Health Action of Staten Island (CHASI) and Chief Community Services Officer of Brightpoint Health. Arneth has consistently demonstrated her ability to address public health challenges as they emerge. As executive director for CHASI for the past twenty-six years, Arneth has overseen the growth of the organization from its earliest days, when it operated with a budget of only $150,000, to the multi-site, multi-service agency it is today, with a budget of $11.2 million. She has been a passionate and committed advocate for the residents of State Island, 20,000 of whom are served annually by the comprehensive range of services her organization provides, including case management, comprehensive substance use disorder services, emergency food and benefits assistance, HIV, HCV, and diabetes testing and prevention services for 20,000 Staten Islanders annually.

The awards were presented by President Raab, Laurie Tisch, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, and Harold Holzer, the Jonathan F. Fanton Director at Roosevelt House. The Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize is made possible with support from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. The Prize is a tribute to Joan H. Tisch in recognition of her humanitarian activism in health care and social services in New York City.

Philanthropy News Digest: 5 Questions for Laurie Tisch

Philanthropy News Digest: 5 Questions for Laurie Tisch

The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund is approaching its tenth anniversary, and with this milestone in mind Laurie Tisch spoke with Foundation Center’s Jen Bokoff to reflect on the foundation’s impact and its future. Laurie shared that the NYC Green Cart Initiative was a defining grant for the foundation. The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund funded this public/private partnership with a $1.5 million grant in 2008 to bring fresh produce to underserved New York City neighborhoods. It also served as a catalyst for starting the Healthy Food & Community Change initiative to support innovative strategies to increase access, availability, affordability, and knowledge of healthy foods and promote healthy choices in high-need neighborhoods. The Illumination Fund is now expanding its arts funding. But this is all within the foundation’s mission because as Laurie says her grant making philosophy is “It’s about leveling the playing field. It’s not about a specific program area.”