Illumination Fund Launches New $10 Million Arts In Health Initiative

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.

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.”

Conversation on the Future of Journalism with Andrew Lack and Rebecca Blumenstein

On June 6th, Aspen Institute’s Walter Isaacson sat down with Andrew Lack, Chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, and Rebecca Blumenstein, Deputy Managing Editor of The New York Times to discuss the future of journalism in a difficult financial and political climate. Both Andrew and Rebecca  noted that media coverage has changed since the election and consumers are beginning to realize that they may need to pay for truthful and factual news. With both organizations thriving under media scrutiny, the New York Times added 300,000 new subscribers in the first quarter; and in the fourth quarter of last year added more than the entire 2012 and 2013 combined.

The event took place at Hunter College’s Roosevelt House, and is part of the Leadership Series in memory of Preston Robert Tisch sponsored by Steve Tisch, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. Watch the full conversation here.