NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund Issued Over $110 Million in Emergency Funds to 768 New York City-Based Nonprofits

768 Critical Arts and Social Service Nonprofits Across the 5 Boroughs Received Support to Weather Onset of Pandemic

NEW YORK, NY – July 29, 2020 – The NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund announced that more than $110 million in emergency support has been distributed to 768 New York City-based social services and arts and cultural nonprofits affected by the coronavirus public health crisis. More than $73 million in grant funding was managed by the New York Community Trust and over $37 million was managed by Nonprofit Finance Fund for no-interest loans. Small to mid-sized nonprofits across New York’s five boroughs applied for grants or interest-free loans to ensure the continuity of their daily operations and to help counteract lost revenue that challenged their ability to pay rent, make payroll or fulfill their public service missions.

In total, the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund provided relief including:

Over $110 million raised for grants and zero-interest loans
$73,098,950 awarded in grants to 754 nonprofits
Grants range from $5,000 to $250,000
374 social service and health nonprofits received grants 
380 arts and culture nonprofits received grants 
$37,005,000 is being awarded in loans to at least 43 nonprofits (*$35,490,000 in loans has been issued to date; the remaining loan funds will be allocated in August 2020)
Loans range from $100,000 to $3,000,000
33 social service and health nonprofits received loans
10 arts and culture nonprofits received loans 

The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund was a founding member, along with the New York Community Trust, the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Joan Ganz Cooney & Holly Peterson Fund, Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund, The JPB Foundation, The Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation, Jennifer and Jonathan Allan Soros, Jon Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović, Charles H. Revson Foundation, Robin Hood, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, UJA-Federation of New York, and Wells Fargo Foundation.

The NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund was created in early March, as the urgency and scale of the needs accelerated, and immediately mobilized funders who contributed an initial total of $75 million.  An advisory committee of leaders in public health, community development, and the arts helped guide the efforts. Nonprofits submitted proposals online to the New York Community Trust (NYCT), which is administering the fund and also was a donor to the effort.  NYCT oversaw the grants while concurrently Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) is administering the interest-free loans as well as providing additional resources to organizations receiving loans through this initiative.

Additional donors, including foundations, corporations and individuals, joined the effort, increasing the initial $75 million to a total of $110 million.

More than 1,600 nonprofit organizations submitted proposals.

In human services, priority was given to direct service providers, such as those supporting essential healthcare, housing, and food insecurity.

In the arts and cultural sector, the fund provided support to organizations that are community anchors, providing employment as well as creative content and enrichment for young people, adults, and families.

“As we have learned from crises in the past, the way to address this challenge is to work together, said Lorie Slutsky, President of the New York Community Trust. “The Trust has been honored to have been a part of this wonderful collaboration, which has been an inspiration and a financial lifeline for hundreds of New York’s nonprofits and the people they serve.”

“We’re proud that the Fund’s rapid, coordinated deployment of emergency funding helped keep the doors open at nonprofits as the COVID-19 crisis hit,” said Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO of Nonprofit Finance Fund. “New York’s nonprofits are committed, creative, and responsive, and poised to drive equitable recovery in our communities if they can access continued financial backing.”

While the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund is concluding its work, both The Trust and NFF continue to address the needs of New York City nonprofits moving forward, by providing additional funding and free planning and budgeting resources.

This initiative provided grants and no-interest loans for needs including:

Flexible funding to support new and emergency needs and meet community demands, particularly for service offerings outside normal operations required to respond to social distancing, isolation and quarantine.

Technology to support remote work and services – laptops and remote calling capacity (e.g. Zoom) for staff.

Temporary staff support to cover for shortages due to employees becoming ill, having to quarantine, or stay home to care for family members or children during school closures.

Equipment and supplies such as masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, and cleaning supplies.

Additional cleaning services to augment in-house operations.

Support to aid the loss of operational revenue from facility closings, cancelled programs, events, and other disruptions.

To learn more about the unique stories of the organizations supported by the Fund, check out the videos below.

A full list of the Fund grantees is below and available here, and loan recipients are available through the links provided.


52nd Street Project
651 ARTS
A Better Jamaica
A Blade of Grass Fund
AABR (formerly Association for the Advancement of Blind and Retarded)
Acts Community Development Corporation
Adhikaar for Human Rights and Social Justice
Adult Resources Center
Advance Care Alliance of NY, Inc
African Film Festival
African Refuge
African Services Committee
Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance of NY
After Hours Project
AIDS Service Center of Lower Manhattan
Alarm Will Sound
Ali Forney Center
Alice Austen House
Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York
Amas Musical Theatre
American Composers Orchestra
American Folk Art Museum
American Tap Dance Foundation
Ansonia Music Outreach Organization
Anthology Film Archives
Apicha Community Health Center
Apollo Theater Foundation
Arab American Association of New York
Arab-American Family Support Center
Argus Community
Ars Nova
Art Lab
Artists Space
Artopolis Development
Arts for Art
Ascend Learning
Asian American Arts Alliance
Asian American Federation
Asian American Writers’ Workshop
Asian Americans for Equality
Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development
Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless
Association of the Bar of the City of New York Fund
Association to Benefit Children
Astoria Performing Arts Center
Atlantic Theater Company
Auditory Oral School of New York
Ballet Hispanico
Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association
Bang On A Can
Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services
Bartow Pell Conservancy
Baryshnikov Arts Center
Beam Center
Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
Betances Health Center
Beth Morrison Projects
Bethel Hamliri
Billie Holiday Theatre
Black Spectrum Theatre Company
Bloomingdale School of Music
Bohemian Brethren Presbyterian Church
BOMB Magazine
Boro Park Y
Boundless Theatre Company Inc.
Bowery Residents Committee
Bowne House Historical Society
Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens
Braata Productions
Breaking Ground
Breakthrough New York
BRIC Arts/Media/Bklyn
Bridge Fund of New York
Bridging Access to Care
Bridging Education & Art Together
Broadway Community
Broadway Housing Communities
Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance
Bronx Children’s Museum
Bronx Council on the Arts
Bronx County Historical Society
Bronx Documentary Center
Bronx House
Bronx Museum of the Arts
Brooklyn Arts Council
Brooklyn Arts Exchange
Brooklyn Ballet
Brooklyn Book Festival
Brooklyn Botanic Garden Corporation
Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Brooklyn Community Bail Fund
Brooklyn Community Housing & Services
Brooklyn Conservatory of Music
Brooklyn Defender Services
Brooklyn Historical Society
Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A
Brooklyn Movement Center
Brooklyn Music School
Brooklyn Rail
Brooklyn Rescue Mission
Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy
Brooklyn Youth Music Project
Buglisi Dance Theatre
Builders Association
Building Beats
Bushwick Starr
CAAAV (Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence
Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC
CABS Home Attendants Service
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
Calpulli Mexican Dance Company
Camille A. Brown & Dancers
Cardinal McCloskey Community Services
Care for the Homeless
Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute
Casa Belvedere, The Italian Cultural Foundation
Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education
Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
Catholic Guardian Services
Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES)
Center for Anti-Violence Education
Center for Book Arts
Center for Comprehensive Health Practice
Center for Educational Innovation
Center for Employment Opportunities
Center for Hearing and Communication
Center for Jewish History
Center for Performance Research
Center for the Holographic Arts
Center for Traditional Music and Dance
Center for Urban Community Services
Central Family Life Center
Chamber Music America
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Cherry Lane Theatre
Child Center of New York
Children’s Aid
Children’s Health Fund
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Children’s Museum of the Arts
Chinatown Manpower Project
Chinese Theater Works
Chinese-American Planning Council
Chocolate Factory Theater
Church of the Holy Apostles
City Lore
City Parks Foundation
Classic Stage Company
Classical Theatre of Harlem
Clubbed Thumb
CO/LAB Theater Group
Coalition for the Homeless
Coalition on Positive Health Empowerment
Colonial Farmhouse Restoration Society of Bellerose
Community Access
Community Connections for Youth
Community Counseling & Mediation
Community League of the Heights (CLOTH)
Community Mediation Services
Community Options New York
Community Solutions International
Community Voices Heard
Community-Word Project
Comprehensive Development
Concern for Independent Living
Concerts in Motion
Coney Island Anti Violence Collaborative
Coney Island USA
Consortium for Worker Education
Cool Culture
Cora Incorporated
Correctional Association of New York
Council of Peoples Organization
Counseling in Schools
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
Creative Capital
Creative Time
Crown Heights Youth Collective, Inc
Culture for One
Cumbe: Center for African and Diaspora Dance
Cypress Hills Child Care Corporation
Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation
Damayan Migrant Workers Association
Dance Entropy
Dance Theatre of Harlem
Dances For A Variable Population
Dancing Classrooms
Dancing in the Streets
Danspace Project
Day One
Dia Art Foundation
Diaspora Community Services
Dieu Donné Paper Mill
Directions For Our Youth
Dorrance Dance
Doug Varone and Dancers
Drama Club Inc
DreamYard Project
Dyckman Farmhouse Museum Alliance
East Harlem Tutorial Program
East Side House Settlement
Education Through Music
Educational Alliance
Educational Video Center
El Museo del Barrio
El Puente De Williamsburg
Elevator Repair Service Theater
Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts
Elmy’s Special Services, Inc
En Foco
Encore Community Services
Engagewell IPA
EPIC Players Inc.
Exalt Youth
Exodus Transitional Community
Family Center
FDNY Foundation
Federation of Organizations
Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
Fifth Avenue Committee
Film Forum
Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School
Fiorello H. LaGuardia Community College Auxiliary Enterprise Corp.
Firelight Media
Fist and Heel Performance Group
Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana
Flatbush Development Corporation
Floating Hospital
Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts
Flux Factory
Food Bank for New York City
Fortune Society
Fostering Change for Children, LTD
Foundation for New York’s Strongest
Fountain House
Fourth Arts Block
Fractured Atlas
Fresh Youth Initiatives
Friends of Hudson River Park
Friends of Island Academy
Friends of the High Line
Friends of the New York Transit Museum
Friends of Wheels
Fund for Public Health in New York
Gallim Dance Company
Gay Men’s Health Crisis
Getting Out and Staying Out
Ghetto Film School
Girl Be Heard Institute
Girls Educational & Mentoring Services
Girls Write Now
Global Kids
God’s Love We Deliver
Goddard Riverside Community Center
Good Shepherd Services
Graham Windham
Grand Street Settlement
Grandma’s Love Inc.
Greenbelt Conservancy
Greenwich House
Green-Wood Historic Fund
Haitian Centers Council
Harlem Needle Arts
Harlem Stage
Harlem United Community AIDS Center
Harmony Program
Health People
HeartShare Human Services of New York
HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services
Hebrew Education Society
Hebrew Home for the Aged
Helen Keller Services
HELP Social Service Corporation
Henry Street Settlement
Hester Street Collaborative
Hispanic Federation
Historic House Trust of New York City
Hook Arts Media
Hot Bread Kitchen
Hour Children
Housing + Solutions
Housing Conservation Coordinators
Housing Works Health Services III
Hudson Guild
Hunger Free America
Hunts Point Alliance for Children
ID Studio Theater Performance and Research Center
Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy
Imani House
Immigration Equality
IMPACCT Brooklyn
India Home
Instituto Arte Teatral Internacional
International Center for the Disabled
International Center of Photography
International Contemporary Ensemble
International Print Center New York, Inc
International Rescue Committee
International Studio and Curatorial Program
Internationals Network for Public Schools
Irondale Productions
IRT Theater
Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum
Issue Project Room
Jack Arts
Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement
Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning
Japan Society
Jazz Foundation of America
Jericho Project
Jewish Association for Services for the Aged (JASA)
Jewish Child Care Association of New York
Jewish Community Center in Manhattan
Jewish Community Center of Staten Island
Jewish Community Council of the Rockaway Peninsula
Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst
Job Path
Kaufman Music Center
Keen Theatre Company
Kentler International Drawing Space
King Manor Museum
Kings Bay YM-YWHA
Kingsbridge Heights Community Center
KIPP New York Inc.
Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York
Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion
L’Refuah Medical & Rehabilitation Center
La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriquena
La Casa de Salud
La Mama Experimental Theatre Club
Lambda Literary
Lark Theatre Company
Latin American Theater Experiment and Associates
Latksy Dance Inc
Lawyers Alliance for New York
Learning Through an Expanded Arts Program
Legal Action Center
Legal Information for Families Today
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center
Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
Lewis Howard Latimer Fund
Life of Hope
Lifestyles for the Disabled
Little Flower Children and Family Services
Little Orchestra Society/Orpheon
Live Source Inc.
LiveOn NY
Louis Armstrong House Museum
Lower East Side Tenement Museum
Lower Eastside Girls Club of New York
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
LSA Family Health Service
Lubovitch Dance Foundation
Lutheran Social Services of New York
Mabou Mines Development Foundation
Madison Square Boys and Girls Club
Madison Square Park Conservancy
Magic Box Productions
Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance
Make the Road New York
Manhattan Class Company
Manna of Life Ministries
Mark Morris Dance Group
Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center
Ma-Yi Theater Company
Maysles Institute
Mekong NYC
Mercy Center
Metropolis Ensemble
Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty
Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council
Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center
Mobilization for Justice
Monica Bill Barnes and Company
Montefiore Medical Center
Morris-Jumel Mansion
Mosholu Montefiore Community Center
Mount Sinai Hospital
Movement Research
Museum at Eldridge Street
Museum of Arts and Design
Museum of Chinese in America
Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA)
Museum of Food and Drink
Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
Museum of the City of New York
Museum of the Moving Image
Music Forward
Music on the Inside
Muslim Community Network
National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City (NAMI)
National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS
National Black Theatre Workshop
National Center for Law and Economic Justice
National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse
National Dance Institute
National Education Equity Lab
National Jazz Museum in Harlem
National Museum of Mathematics
National Sawdust
Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter
Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens
Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners
Network Support Services
New Alternatives for Children
New Dramatists
New Immigrant Community Empowerment
New Ohio Theatre
New Settlement Apartments
New Visions for Public Schools
New York Academy of Medicine
New York African Chorus Ensemble Inc.
New York Cares
New York City Anti-Violence Project
New York City Children’s Theater
New York City Fire Museum
New York City Mission Society
New York City Players Inc
New York City Relief
New York Classical Theatre
New York Common Pantry
New York Congregational Nursing Center
New York Council for the Humanities
New York Foundation for the Arts
New York Foundling Hospital
New York Hall of Science
New York Immigration Coalition
New York International Children’s Film Festival
New York Live Arts
New York Stage and Film Company
New York Theatre Workshop
New York Women in Film & Television
New York Youth Symphony
New Yorkers for Children
No Longer Empty, Inc
Noble Maritime Collection
Noel Pointer Foundation
Noor Theatre
Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation
Northfield Community Local Development Corporation of Staten Island
Northside Center for Child Development
Nuyorican Poets Cafe
NYC First
Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation
Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services
One Hundred Black Men
Only Make Believe
Opening Act
Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center
Page 73 Productions
PAGNY Health and Research Foundation
Pan Asian Repertory Theatre
Parsons Dance Foundation
Part of the Solution
Partnership for the Homeless
Partnership with Children
Paul Taylor Dance Foundation
PEN America
People’s Theatre Project
Per Scholas
Performance Space 122
Person Centered Care Services
Pesach Tikvah-Hope Development
Phipps Neighborhoods
Phoenix House of New York
Phoenix Theater Ensemble
Ping Chong & Company
Playwrights Horizons
Playwrights Realm
Poetry Society of America
Poets House
Power of Two
Pregones Puerto Rican Traveling Theater
Premium Health
Presbyterian Senior Services
Pride Center of Staten Island
Primary Stages Company
Pro Bono Net
Project Basta
Project FIND
Project Hospitality
Project Renewal
Prospect Park Alliance
Providence House
Public Art Fund
Puerto Rican Family Institute
Queens Botanical Garden
Queens College Foundation
Queens Community House
Queens Council on the Arts
Queens Library Foundation
Queens Museum
Queens Theatre
Raga Massive
Ramapo for Children
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
Rebuilding Together NYC
Recess Activities
Red Bull Theater
Red Hook Initiative
Reel Works
Repertorio Espanol
Research Foundation of the City University of New York
Residency Unlimited
Rising Ground
River Fund New York
Riverstone Senior Life Services
Roads to Success
Rockaway Waterfront Alliance
Rockaway Youth Task Force
Rod Rodgers Dance Company
Rosie’s Theater Kids
Roulette Intermedium
Row New York
Rubin Museum of Art
Ryan Chelsea-Clinton Community Health
Sadie Nash Leadership Project
Safe Horizon
Safe Passage Project
Sakhi for South Asian Women
Samaritan Village
Samuel Field YM & YWHA
Sanctuary for Families
Sapna NYC
SCAN-New York Volunteer Parent-Aides Association
Seamen’s Society for Children & Families
Search and Care
Second Stage Theatre
Selfhelp Community Services
Service Program for Older People
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)
Services for the Underserved
Seven Stories Institute
Shalom Task Force
SHARE: Self-Help for Women with Breast or Ovarian Cancer
Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services
Shield of David
Signature Theatre Company
Single Stop USA
Smack Mellon Studios
Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden
So Percussion
Society of the Educational Arts
Socrates Sculpture Park
Soho Repertory Theatre
South Asian Council for Social Services
South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO)
South Street Seaport Museum
Southside United Housing Development Fund Corporation (Los Sures)
St. Ann’s Corner of Harm Reduction
St. Ann’s Warehouse
St. Dominic’s Family Services
St. George Theatre Restoration
St. John’s Bread & Life Program
St. Mary’s Center
St. Nicks Alliance
Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center
Staten Island Arts
Staten Island Children’s Museum
Staten Island Historical Society
Staten Island Museum
Staten Island Performing Provider System
Staten Island Shakespearean Theatre Company
STEM from Dance
Stephen Petronio Dance Company
Street Lab
Student Leadership Network
Studio in a School Association
Studio Museum in Harlem
Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling
Sundog Theatre
Sunnyside Community Services Inc.
Sunnyside District Management
Symphony Space
TADA! Theatre and Dance Alliance
Target Margin Theater
Teach for America
Teaching Matters
Team First
Teatro Círculo, Ltd.
Tectonic Theater Project
The Audre Lorde Project
The Broadway Dance Lab
The Brooklyn Steppers
The Brotherhood/Sister Sol
The Campaign Against Hunger
The Civilians
The Coalition for Behavioral Health
The Door
The Drawing Center
The Ensemble Studio Theatre
The Field
The Flea Theater
The Harlem School of the Arts
The House Foundation for the Arts
The Jazz Drama Program
The Jazz Gallery
The Jewish Board
The Jose Limon Dance Foundation
The Joyce Theater Foundation
The Kitchen
The Korean American Family Service Center Inc.
The Labor Institute
The Liberty Fund
The New 42nd Street
The New Horizon Counseling Center
The New Jewish Home
The New Museum of Contemporary Art
The New York Center for Children
The New York Chinese Cultural Center
The Osborne Association
THE POINT Community Development Corporation
The Possibility Project
The Tank
Theater Breaking Through Barriers
Theater Labrador
Theater Mitu Inc.
Theatre Communications Group
Theatre Development Fund
Theatre for a New Audience
Theatre Lab Inc
Theatre of the Oppressed NYC
Third Street Music School Settlement
Third World Newsreel
Tolentine Zeiser Community Life Center
Tomorrow’s Leaders NYC
Transitional Services for New York
Translatina Network
Trevor Project
Triangle Arts Association
Tribeca Film Institute
Trinity Community Connection
Trinity Human Services Corporation
Trinity’s Services and Food for the Homeless
Trisha Brown Company
Trusty Sidekick Theater Company
UnboundEd Learning, Inc
Uncommon New York City Charter Schools
Union Settlement Association
Unique People Services
United Neighborhood Houses of New York
University Settlement Society of New York
Urban Arts Partnership
Urban Assembly
Urban Bush Women
Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (U-HAB)
Urban Justice Center
Urban Pathways
Urban Resource Institute
Urban Upbound
Urban Word NYC
Vibrant Emotional Health
Vineyard Theatre and Workshop
Violence Intervention Program
Vision Urbana
VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Vocational Instruction Project Community Services
Voces Latinas
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
Volunteers of Legal Service
Washington Heights Corner Project
Wave Hill
Weeksville Heritage Center
Wendy’s Subway Inc.
West End Intergenerational Residence Housing Development Fund Company
West Side Campaign Against Hunger
West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing
Weston United Community Renewal
White Wave Rising Dance Company
William F. Ryan Community Health Center
Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls
Women for Afghan Women
Women in Need
Women Make Movies
Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco)
Women’s Prison Association and Home
Women’s Project Theater
Working Theatre Company
Works & Process
World Music Institute
Writing Revolution
Wyckoff House & Association
Xavier Mission Inc.
Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre
Yemeni American Merchants Association
YM-YWHA of the Bronx
YM-YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood
You Gotta Believe!
Young People’s Chorus of New York City
Young Urban Christians & Artists
YWCA of Brooklyn

Theater of War Frontline NYC to premiere online July 30th: Innovative program employs ancient Greek Tragedy to help medical workers deal with the personal and professional struggles of COVID

Frontline medical workers continue to confront unprecedented professional and personal challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. From their own inadequate access to personal protective equipment to facing impossible decisions about allocating limited lifesaving resources among their patients, clinicians have experienced feelings of betrayal, anger, and fear.

Now, by combining one of the pandemic’s newest forms of communication – the Zoom webinar – with the ancient art of Greek tragedy, an innovative project is reaching frontline medical workers who may be struggling in isolation, providing them the opportunity to name and communalize their experiences, connect with colleagues, and access available resources.

Theater of War for Frontline Medical Providers – developed by Theater of War Productions, the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, and the Johns Hopkins Program in Arts, Humanities & Health – presents dramatic readings by acclaimed actors of scenes from ancient Greek plays for audiences of frontline medical providers to open up powerful dialogue about difficult subjects. In a paper published by The Lancet on July 23, the project’s organizers write “we have found that presenting scenes from ancient tragedies about complex ethical situations for frontline medical providers generates an open, non-threatening space in which health personnel can begin to process, interrogate, share, and bear witness to experiences of loss, betrayal, grief, and other forms of moral suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Theater of War for Frontline Medical Providers events begin with a live reading of scenes carefully curated to address themes and issues that medical providers may be facing during the pandemic, such as personal risk, abandonment, deferred grief, deviation from standards of care, helplessness, and complicity in creating suffering. After the performance, the actors are replaced by four panelists—a diverse group of front-line medical providers—who respond to what they heard in the plays that resonated with their own experiences of caring for patients during the pandemic. After the panelists’ remarks, a skilled facilitator prompts the audience to join the discussion with a series of questions encouraging reflection and dialogue about themes raised by the plays. The discussion provides an opportunity for the medical workers in the audience to take center stage, sharing the impact of COVID-19 on their lives and finding solace in the community of their peers.

The project premiered on May 24, with 417 clinicians from the Baltimore area logging onto Zoom for a performance featuring Frances McDormand, Jesse Eisenberg, David Strathairn, and Frankie Faison. In a post-performance evaluation, 93% of respondents reported that the program offered new insights about their experience during COVID; 92% said the program made it easier to talk about difficult subjects related to COVID. Following that success, the Arts in Health Initiative of the Laurie M Tisch Illumination Fund provided a grant to fund 10 performances of the project in New York City.

The first of these performances, focusing on the EMS/first responder community in NYC will take place Thursday, July 30, at 7 p.m. While focusing on EMS professionals, this first performance will be open to the general public. To register, please visit: Cast members will include: Anthony Almojera, Vice President of New York City’s Uniformed EMS Officers Union; Amy Ryan, whose credits include “The Office,” “Birdman,” and “Gone Baby Gone;” and Chad Coleman from “The Wire” and “The Walking Dead,” among other credits.

Other actors confirmed to participate in upcoming performances include McDormand, Strathairn, Faison, Eisenberg, and David Zayas. The next two performances will be:

August 19, noon-2 p.m.

Lincoln Medical Center, Bronx

Featuring Frances McDormand, Jesse Eisenberg, David Zayas, Frankie Faison

September 16, noon-2 p.m.

Lenox Hill Hospital
Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat
Lenox Health Greenwich Village

Cast TBA

“Ancient tragedies provide a new entry point for clinicians to process moral suffering generated by the pandemic,” wrote Theater of War Artistic Director Bryan Doerries and Berman Institute faculty Cynda Rushton, Jeremy Greene and Gail Geller in The Lancet. “While individual cognitive reframing can be helpful in the treatment of traumatic disorders, there is also a role for collective social interventions in responding to collective trauma. Ancient Greek plays about chronic and terminal illness, moral distress, the challenges of witnessing suffering, and end-of-life care can be used to forge a common vocabulary for openly engaging doctors, nurses, students, and other health-care professionals in creating constructive dialogue, fostering understanding, compassion, and a renewed sense of community.”

NY1: Acts of Kindness: Man Who Lost Both Parents Within Weeks of Each Other Finds Way to Give Back

Illumination Fund supports partners in emergency food project in Washington Heights

by Kristin Shaughnessy

A man whose family was devastated by grief and loss is working through that grief by giving back.

Tom’s mother died on Valentine’s Day from an illness unrelated to. His father then ​contracted COVID-19 and died three weeks later. Tom and his siblings were also infected by the virus.

After fighting his own battle with the virus, Tom and his partner Billy, the co-founders of Company Catered, had to change their business model because their catering business was shuttered.

With generous donations from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and long time clients, they created Company Dinner. 

They worked with the community-based group CLOTH, Community League of the Heights, to serve families in the hardest hit areas of Washington Heights. They are serving about 185 meals a day and plan to continue through the summer.

“Having lost members of my family, and for my whole family to get so critically ill, things get put into a perspective,” Tom said. “Coming out the other side of it you’re thinking to yourself, okay I’m here, what can I do?”

Watch the segment on NY1:
Acts of Kindness: Man Who Lost Both Parents Within Weeks of Each Other Finds Way to Give Back

Inside Philanthropy: A Necessity, Not a Luxury: A Funder Looks to Activate Art’s Power to Heal

by Mike Scutari  

In my recent conversations with arts professionals looking at how philanthropy can build a more resilient post-coronavirus arts sector, respondents repeatedly called for more robust advocacy from funders. 

“Right now, we are seeing a demand for the arts like never before: individually and collectively, societies around the globe are expressing themselves through art, yearning for creative expression, using the arts to heal,” said MCW Projects founder Melissa Cowley Wolf and M+D co-founder Sean McManus. (Wolf and McManus are also partners of the Arts Funders Forum, which seeks to increase private support for arts and culture with an emphasis on engaging emerging philanthropists.)

My thoughts immediately turned to the prescient work of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, which recently announced it would expand its Arts in Health Initiative to include three additional organizations and new programs at seven others.

The fund launched the initiative in 2018 as a $10 million, multi-year effort 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 defines “the arts” as visual art, dance, music, theater and film, and focuses on mental health stigma, trauma, aging-related diseases, as well as caring for caregivers and frontline healthcare staff.

Read whole article in Inside Philanthropy

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COVID-19: Our commitment

“This is a time of unprecedented need. Our most vulnerable populations are impacted by the pandemic more severely than others. It is imperative that philanthropic organizations take immediate action to meet this challenge. From its inception, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund has stepped up to support New Yorkers in times of adversity — from relief efforts after 9/11 to food needs after Superstorm Sandy. Now as we struggle to cope with the global pandemic of COVID-19, philanthropy is more important than ever. People are suffering. We all have to do what we can.”

Laurie M. Tisch, President, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund

A note from Laurie M. Tisch and Rick Luftglass

We are living through a crisis that will be remembered as one of the most traumatic in our time.

Philanthropy, by its nature, aspires to make a difference in people’s lives. But in this time of overwhelming need, we want to be especially conscious of how we can make the most impact for the people we serve with the resources we have.

At some point, we will be able to step back to gain some perspective and insights.

But now it’s imperative that we step forward.

The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund has immersed itself into efforts to support essential services and relief and to shore up the institutions and organizations that will make our City whole.

We have taken three tacks:

1. Coordinating with other funders to identify needs and gaps and to amplify collective efforts;

2. Bolstering the work of our ongoing grantees and partners so they don’t lose ground and can pivot to new ways of serving participants and other stakeholders;

3. Addressing emerging needs, with a particular focus on people and communities that – because of their role in the health system or the pre-existing disparities in their neighborhoods – are suffering a disproportionate impact.

To date, we have made grants totaling approximately $2,500,000.

● We were one of the first major funders to assist the NYC public hospital system’s frontline health workers, giving $500,000 to New York City’s Health + Hospitals (H+H) to provide food and essential supplies and services for staff in Intensive Care and Emergency Room units and to plan for mental health services to help employees who are traumatized by their experiences helping patients. Building upon a partnership with H+H launched in 2019 to expand the hospital system’s Arts in Medicine programs,  the new grant added a focus on using the arts to address frontline staff stress and burnout

● We made additional grants to organizations in the Illumination Fund’s Arts in Health initiative that utilize the arts as a resource to help address mental health stigma, trauma, and aging-related diseases to help them survive this time, as well as to build and/or employ technology to serve their communities during a time of physical isolation and health challenges.

● We were among the founders of the NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund, joining about 20 other foundations and individual donors to create a grants program for human service organizations that are providing essential services and to arts organizations that are anchors in our communities. Within one month, more than 500 donors of all sizes had joined, and to date the collaborative fund had made grants totaling $44 million to 276 organizations.

● We supported board-driven funds to help long-time partners the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the Whitney Museum of Art to help them navigate the crisis, pay wages of hourly employees who have lost wages, and expand online resources for families who are stuck at home.

● We are supporting the Food and Society policy program at the Aspen Institute to bring together leading worker- and food-safety experts in New York City and around the country to assemble the latest and best protocols to keep food preparers and health-care workers safe when preparing and delivering meals. The resources will be shared nationally, as hundreds of restaurants, caterers, and meal programs are “feeding the frontlines”—giving the most vulnerable food-service workers urgently needed income and making meals to serve hospital and health-care workers without the time or access to restaurants to feed themselves.

● We contributed to the newly created Bronx Community Relief Effort, which includes a community-driven fund to support effective on-the-ground operations that are focused on meeting the essential needs of the Bronx community – particularly in the South Bronx, where poverty and profound health disparities have contributed toward disproportionate rates of COVID-19-related deaths, unemployment and food insecurity. We also joined the Robin Hood Relief Fund, which has been making grants to community organizations addressing food insecurity and providing essential services in high-poverty communities throughout the City.

Since its founding in 2007, the Illumination Fund has focused on disparities, whether it’s access to healthy food, access to the arts, education, or economic opportunity.  We believe that zip codes and circumstances of birth should not predetermine someone’s quality of life or their health. Of course, zip codes are simply a proxy for historic inequities based on income, race, ethnicity, and availability of resources and opportunity. Yet, zip codes are a vivid and compelling way to make disparities concrete. And that’s what we’re seeing in the starkest ways.

We plan to do much more as needs evolve. We believe that mental health and trauma will be next pandemic, as people begin to process what they have gone through and find paths forward. Our response to this coming wave of crisis will build upon the work of the Arts in Health initiative, which includes new and impactful ways to address mental health needs.

There is great uncertainty about the future, but we are resolved to using our philanthropic resources and our partnerships to move forward together.

And we will stay the course with the Illumination Fund’s mission: “to improve access and opportunity or all New Yorkers.”

Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund: COVID-19 Grants as of April 28, 2020

NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals COVID-19 Fund To provide meals, groceries and supplies for doctors, nurses and other health care workers in emergency rooms, intensive care units and COVID-19 overflow units in public hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals Helping Healers Heal To support mental health and trauma services for frontline healthcare workers in NYC public hospitals serving COVID-19 patients
Collaborative Philanthropy Funds
NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund To provide emergency grants for nonprofit human services and arts/culture organizations to retain staff and continue to provide programs despite suffering financial losses
Artist Relief Fund To offer financial and informational resources to artists across the United States
Bronx Community Relief Effort To help Bronx residents experiencing food insecurity, unemployment and other crisis conditions in low-income and communities of color that are suffering from disproportionate rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths
Emergency Cash Assistance Program For Low-income New Yorkers To provide financial assistance for New Yorkers excluded from, or only partially covered by, federal stimulus benefits
Robin Hood Relief Fund To provide emergency support through food, housing, job security and financial assistance
Arts in Health Programs: Arts and Mental Health, Trauma and Aging-related Diseases
Arts & Minds Adaptation of museum-based art observation and engagement  programs for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and their caregivers (English and Spanish)
CaringKind Information for caregivers and online training for museums and performing arts organizations to adapt art observation programs for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias
Community Access Adaptation of Changing Minds Young Filmmakers to enable young filmmakers to create and submit short films to combat mental health stigma and to provide resources to teachers and youth program leaders
Fountain House Gallery Adaptation and continuation of opportunities for artists living and working with serious mental illness to pursue their creative visions and to challenge the stigma that surrounds mental illness
Gibney Adaptation and continuation of program using dance as a resource in helping survivors of domestic and gender-based violence
Mark Morris/Dance for PD Adaptation and continuation of dance program for people with Parkinson’s disease
The Art Therapy Project Adaptation and continuation of group-based art therapy for people who have experienced severe trauma
The Creative Center at University Settlement Providing resources for artmaking by patients, survivors of cancer and other serious diseases, and seniors
Arts and Culture Institutions
Children’s Museum of Manhattan To continue to pay staff during closure
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts To continue to pay staff during closure
Whitney Museum of American Art To mitigate COVID-19 organizational losses
Basic Needs and Services
City Harvest To support organization providing emergency food through mobile markets and food pantries, including those providing kosher and halal food
Hunter College To provide financial assistance to help Hunter students pay for rent, food, child care, unexpected medical bills, and other essential expenses
Women in Need (WIN) To provide technology, childcare and education services for women and children in homeless shelters
Beyond New York City
Aspen Community Foundation To provide grants to organizations that are providing economic assistance, food access, and filling gaps in social services
Aspen Institute Food & Society Program To assess and integrate safety protocols and share resources for restaurants providing food donations to hospitals and employing restaurant workers
Sag Harbor Partnership & Sag Harbor Cinema Community Relief Fund  Food security and emergency relief on the East End of Long Island

Illumination Fund Earmarks New Donation to Help Hospital Staff Through the NYC Health + Hospitals COVID-19 Relief Fund

Donation builds on the Illumination Fund’s continuous support for healthcare workers at NYC Health + Hospitals

NYC Health + Hospitals seeks additional donations to provide equipment and support staff with urgent supplies as well as to temporarily hire new staff

Post COVID-19’s immediate crisis, funds will shift to mental health needs of frontline hospital workers suffering from PTSD and stress disorders

New York, NY, April 3, 2020—In response to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis in New York City, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund has increased its support to New York City Health + Hospitals, with an additional $500,000 to the newly formed COVID-19 Relief Fund, bringing the Illumination Fund’s support for New York’s public hospital system to more than $2 million.

Along with basic supplies, ventilators and masks, New York City needs philanthropic funds to support the purchase of meals, pre-packaged groceries, hotel rooms, laundry service, and scrubs as well as to bring in thousands of additional medical professionals to handle the surge in COVID-19 cases in the city. The Mayor has called on the federal government to supply more than 1,000 nurses, 3,000 respiratory therapists, and 150 doctors to support hospital staff across the City.

NYC Health + Hospitals is accepting monetary donations for the COVID-19 RELIEF FUND online through Network for Good.

“Our hospitals need an enormous amount of help right now just dealing with the public health crisis at hand,” said Laurie M. Tisch, President and Founder of the Illumination Fund. “We are proud to help them address urgent needs of the moment across all departments.  But frontline healthcare workers have been under terrible stress over many months, and once we begin to come out the other side of the crisis, they will need mental health support to process the trauma they have experienced during the epidemic. We are working with the public hospitals to stay one step ahead and ensure the support is there. To that end, half of our funds will go directly to support New York City Health + Hospitals’ Helping Healers Heal program, led by Dr. Eric Wei, MD, MBA.”

“Our healthcare professionals are extremely vulnerable right now,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Chief Quality Officer Dr. Eric Wei, MD, MBA. “Our staff is working long hours, often separated from their loved ones to minimize exposing their families from undue risk. We want to provide as many resources as possible, as quickly as possible so they can continue to provide the best care to patients. All of our lives may depend on them, and their lives may depend on us.”

To join the COVID-19 Relief Fund campaign, visit Every donation will go directly to hire and support healthcare workers during these unprecedented times. In an abundance of caution as COVID-19 spreads in our community, and with the increased global shortages of supplies, the healthcare system is not accepting material donations such as personal protective equipment (PPE) or surgical masks to ensure supplies meet medical grade standards.

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 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. Last year, the Illumination Fund supported the creation of NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine Program, expanding programs serving health care staff, patients, and communities in sites across the City. The grant also enabled 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. For more information, visit or follow @LMTischFund on Twitter.

About NYC Health + Hospitals

NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 42,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit and stay connected on Facebook at or Twitter at @NYCHealthSystem.

Foundations Unite to Support NYC Arts and Social Service Organizations: NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund

The New $75 Million Fund will Provide Grants and Loans to New York City-Based Social Services and Cultural Organizations to Support Them in the COVID-19 Pandemic

“The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund has stepped in to support New Yorkers in times of adversity — from relief efforts after 9/11 to food needs after Superstorm Sandy. We have arts grantees, health grantees — and organizations in the Illumination Fund’s Arts in Health initiative are at the intersection, utilizing the arts to address issues such as trauma, mental health and aging-related diseases. The need for services of all kinds will be greater than ever before, but nonprofits can’t meet such needs if they and their staffs aren’t also healthy.”

Laurie M. Tisch, President, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund

Bloomberg Philanthropies, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, Joan Ganz Cooney & Holly Peterson Fund, Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund, The JPB Foundation, The Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The New York Community Trust, Jennifer and Jonathan Allan Soros, Jon Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović, Charles H. Revson Foundation, Robin Hood, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, UJA-Federation of New York, and Wells Fargo Foundation today announced the launch of the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund to support New York City-based social services and arts and cultural organizations that have been affected by the current coronavirus public health crisis. The new $75 million fund will provide grants and interest-free loans to small and mid-size nonprofits to help them respond to emerging needs, cover losses associated with the disruption of their operations, and help them continue their critical work. The founding member foundations, companies, and individuals are building on their prior experience in local disaster recovery and funding, including 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy.

New York City residents rely on a network of local nonprofit organizations to provide a wide range of important services. Social service organizations provide food, home healthcare, housing, childcare, afterschool services, and more. Arts and cultural organizations provide programs throughout our neighborhoods that contribute significantly to the City’s economy and quality of life. Now, thousands of these vital community organizations across New York’s five boroughs are being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, risking the continuity of their daily operations and challenging the stability of the critical services they provide. While many organizations are continuing to respond to the immediate needs of impacted, vulnerable community members, too many are struggling due to lost revenue that will diminish their ability to pay rent, make payroll, and continue to fulfill their public service missions. Most of the organizations facing business interruption are unlikely to collect insurance that would be available for other types of disasters.

“The coronavirus pandemic threatens to cripple New York City’s nonprofit organizations and the vitally important services they provide. This joint initiative with so many incredible philanthropic partners will help ensure that many of our city’s nonprofits can withstand this crisis and continue to serve all New Yorkers,” said Patricia E. Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “In this crucial moment, thanks to Mike Bloomberg’s leadership, Bloomberg Philanthropies has also launched an effort to virtually convene U.S. local leaders to share knowledge and response strategies from experts at Johns Hopkins and Harvard. Additionally, we’ve begun an international effort with the WHO and Vital Strategies to stem the spread of coronavirus in low- and middle-income countries. In partnership with so many dedicated leaders and organizations on the front line, we can make a real difference and save lives.”

“We are grateful that once again the New York philanthropic community has come together to do its best in response to a catastrophe,” said Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “The coronavirus pandemic is disruptive to our entire society, especially to our children, with the potential for lasting setbacks in their development. The Corporation is pleased to join peer institutions in assisting the City of New York with its many urgent needs, including services for the public school system, such as student meals and arts and cultural programs for 1.1 million children. In addition, our education grantees will have the flexibility needed to expand crucial services like online learning and teacher and parent resources to help communities nationwide.”

The NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund will be administered by the New York Community Trust and will provide grants and interest-free loans. Among social services groups, priority will be given to direct service providers, such as those supporting essential healthcare and food insecurity. In the arts and cultural sector, the Fund will provide support to small and mid-size organizations that work from and are attentive to their communities.

“We at the Mellon Foundation recognize the arts and humanities’ unique power to cultivate hope in the midst of challenges and uncertainty,” noted Elizabeth Alexander, President of the Mellon Foundation, whose commitment will go to arts support. “As artists and cultural institutions adjust to new fiscal realities, we call on funders, businesses, and individuals to join us in supporting the arts and the strength, inspiration, and perspective they bring—in New York City and around the world.”

“The Ford Foundation believes we must respond immediately to the human services needs of  vulnerable New Yorkers and also support the arts and culture infrastructure across the five boroughs,” said Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation.

“This is an unprecedented situation, but the philanthropic community has had experience joining together to respond,” said Lorie Slutsky, President of The New York Community Trust. “The NYC Covid-19 Response & Impact Fund will provide critical funding to shore up the safety net provided by nonprofits across the city as they struggle to keep up with the increased demand for their services. We hope everyone who is passionate about our city and its people will join us.”

Needs to be considered

Recognizing best practice from past experience working through crises, this initiative will provide grants and no-interest loans for needs including:

● Unrestricted, flexible funding to support new and emergency needs and meet community demands, particularly for service offerings outside normal operations required to respond to social distancing, isolation and quarantine.

● Technology to support remote work and services – laptops and remote calling capacity (ie. Zoom) for staff, securing staffing and training to fulfill their mission.

●  Temporary staff support to cover for shortages caused by employees who are ill, may have to quarantine, or stay home to care for family members or children during school closures.

●   Equipment and supplies such as masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, and cleaning supplies.

●  Additional cleaning services to augment in-house operations.

●  Support to aid the loss of operational revenue from facility closings, cancelled programs, events, etc.


To be eligible, an organization must meet the following criteria:

●  501(c)3 nonprofit organization

●  Based in New York City

●  Recipient of New York City and/or New York State government funding

●  Annual operating budget of up to $20M (excluding government contracts)

●  Track record of robust programming and services for New York residents

An advisory committee of leaders in public health, community development, and the arts will help guide the efforts of the new Fund. The New York Community Trust will continue to solicit donations from foundations, corporate partners, and individuals committed to the health and wellbeing of New York City.  The donors to the Fund are committed to an expedited process for decisions and payment of funds to recipient organizations.

The New York Community Trust is New York’s community foundation. It brings together individuals, families, foundations, and businesses to support nonprofits that make a difference. Since 1924, The Trust has been and continues to be a critical part of New York’s philanthropic response. The Trust co-created the September 11th Fund after the attack on the World Trade Center and has worked on issues affecting New Yorkers for decades.

Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), a nonprofit lender and consultant with 40 years of local and national experience, will administer NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund loans. NFF will offer implementation support and additional resources to organizations receiving loans through this initiative.

Interested organizations can get more information and apply here.

Hunter Announces Winners of 9th Annual Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize

Jennifer J. Raab, Hunter College President, and Laurie M. Tisch, Founder and President of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, have announced that Families for Safe Streets and Rebecca Telzak of Make the Road New York are the recipients of the ninth annual Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize. These prestigious awards honor both individuals and nonprofit organizations in the New York metropolitan area for distinguished accomplishment in urban public health. Families for Safe Streets advocates for life-saving changes to prevent traffic violence and provides support to those who have been impacted by crashes; Rebecca Telzak is Director of Health Programs at Make the Road New York and a leader in expanding health access for immigrant New Yorkers.

The recipients were honored at a ceremony and reception on Tuesday, February 4 at The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College.

President Raab commented: “We are incredibly proud and excited to honor these urban health heroes. They truly exemplify the Tisch Family’s mission by making a difference within their communities, and they will all benefit enormously from these generous $10,000 prizes. Our thanks again and always go to Laurie Tisch for her innovative spirit and extraordinary generosity—with a special debt of gratitude and affection for Laurie’s mother, the late Joan Tisch, an activist and philanthropist who made healthy living for all New Yorkers both a priority and a passion.”

Ms. Tisch, president of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, sponsor of the prize added: “It is a great pleasure to confer these awards to Families for Safe Streets and to Rebecca Telzak. Families for Safe Streets has had an extraordinary impact on increasing safety for pedestrians and drivers in New York, while Rebecca Telzak, in leading the health initiatives at Make the Road New York, provides vital services and mobilizes immigrant communities to advocate for health as a social justice issue.”

Dr. Raul Perea-Henze, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, stated: “Public health in New York City depends on active and innovative input from community partners to local government, and so on behalf of the de Blasio administration, I am pleased to congratulate this year’s recipients of the Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize. Families for Safe Streets and Rebecca Telzak of Make the Road New York inspire us all with their efforts to advance our shared priorities of safe streets and access to health care for immigrants. Having witnessed Joan’s tireless dedication to those in need as a young doctor on the frontlines of the early HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York City, I am delighted to see these honorees continue her powerful legacy to uplift New Yorkers across every borough.”

Amy Cohen, Co-Founder of Families for Safe Streets, said on behalf of the organization: “We are so honored to receive The Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize. As all of us at Families for Safe Streets know all too well, traffic violence is a silent killer — and is not yet widely recognized as the preventable public health crisis that it is. Every two hours someone is killed or seriously injured in a traffic crash in New York City. One hundred Americans are killed every single day and millions suffer life-altering injuries. These are not accidents. So it is particularly moving to us that Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute is recognizing our efforts and drawing attention to this preventable epidemic.”

Rebecca Telzak, Director of Health Programs at Make the Road New York, commented: “I am honored to receive the Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize. This award is a testament to the work and accomplishments of Make the Road New York’s health team over the years to improve the health of immigrant and working class communities in New York. Thank you to everyone who made this award possible and to Make the Road New York and our members for providing the support, perseverance and creativity to move our work forward.”

The Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize honors not-for-profit organizations and individuals for distinguished accomplishment in the field of urban public health. Made possible by support from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, the Prize is part of the Joan H. Tisch Legacy Project, which is based at Hunter College, and is a tribute to Joan H. Tisch in recognition of her humanitarian activism in health care and social services in New York City.

The jury will open nominations for the 10th annual prize in the spring. Future nominees’ work should focus on improving urban public health in areas such as: reducing health disparities; environmental health; obesity/diabetes/nutrition; chronic disease prevention and management; HIV/AIDS; health problems associated with poverty; healthy aging; mental health; substance abuse and addiction; public health policy and advocacy; using the arts to improve individual and community health; and widening access to quality care.

About the Honorees:

Families for Safe Streets (FSS), Organizational Honoree, confronts the epidemic of traffic violence by advocating for life-saving changes and providing support to those impacted by crashes. Comprised of individuals who have been injured or lost loved ones, FSS was founded in partnership with Transportation Alternatives in 2014 in New York City and has grown into a national movement with chapters across the country dedicated to ending preventable traffic crashes.

FSS members transform their grief by telling personal stories of trauma and loss to raise awareness and bring about policy and legislative change. Through hard-fought campaigns, FSS has lowered the speed limit and brought speed safety cameras to nearly every school district in New York City. Their support services include monthly support communities, peer-mentoring, logistical assistance and a detailed resource guide.

Rebecca Telzak, Individual Honoree,is a leader in expanding health access for immigrant New Yorkers. As Director of Health Programs at Make the Road New York (MRNY), she built its health department into a 25+-person operation that serves over 8,000 community members a year and operates throughout the boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, as well as Westchester and Long Island. She has advised government agencies on the creation of public programs to serve immigrants. Under her leadership, MRNY services have expanded to include health insurance enrollment, health navigation services, food stamp enrollment, community health worker training and home visiting services, two food pantries, and TGNCIQ health services.

Prior to working at MRNY, Ms. Telzak received a Fulbright scholarship to Argentina and lived in Nicaragua for a year while working at a women’s sewing cooperative. She helped found a workers center in Michigan, where she tackled immigrant rights issues. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from the Residential College at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Social Science. She received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Baruch College.

Selection Committee for the 9th annual Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize:

Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, (Co-Chair) Senior Advisor to President of Hunter College and the Former NYC Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services; Harold Holzer, (Co-Chair) Jonathan F. Fanton Director, Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College; Carol Boas, member of the University of Pennsylvania Nursing School Board of Overseers; Elizabeth Cohn, Rudin Professor of Nursing and Interim Associate Dean for Research at Hunter Bellevue School of Nursing; Michael Dean, M.D., Member of the Hunter College Foundation Board of Trustees; Joan Grabe, Chair, Hunter College Foundation Board of Trustees and Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing Advisory Board; Angela Haddad, Senior Associate Dean for Student Success at Hunter College; David Himmelstein, M.D., Professor, Hunter College School of Urban Health; Sue Kaplan, Research Associate Professor, Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine; Rufina Lee, Assistant Professor, Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College; H. Carl McCall, the Hunter College Roosevelt House Leader-in-Residence, former New York State Comptroller and State Senator; Barbara Salmanson, President, Jewish Child Care Association; and Susan Steinhardt, member of the Roosevelt House Advisory Board.

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

Press Release  

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

by Hillary M. Sheets  

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