September 2013 Working Group Updates

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Community Food Funders (CFF)

Partners: CFF is funded through the support of several Philanthropy New York members, including the David Rockefeller Fund, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, the North Star Fund and the Surdna Foundation.

Background: CFF is a philanthropic organizing project formed in 2011 to provide information, resources and networking opportunities for funders in the New York, New Jersey and southern Connecticut region to invest in the transition to an equitable and ecologically sound regional food system that emphasizes local growing, processing and distribution.

Update: On Saturday, October 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., North Star Fund Executive Director Hugh Hogan and leaders in the good and fair food movement will visit with activists in Queens and Brooklyn during a Van Tour on Food Justice to explore how grassroots, community-based organizations are working on food justice issues, including healthy food access and public health, urban farming, and the injustices faced by food chain workers. The tour will depart from and return to North Star Fund's office on 8th Avenue between 36th and 37th Streets in midtown Manhattan.

Speakers will include Maria Blacque-Belair, Founder and Executive Director of the Refugee and Immigrant Fund; Liz Accles, Executive Director of Community Food Advocates; Daisy Chun, Executive Director of Restaurant Opportunities Center of NYC; Nancy Romer of the Brooklyn Food Coalition; and representatives from City Growers and Milk Not Jails. To RSVP for this event, please email Marisol Ybarra at or call 212-620-9110 by Tuesday, October 8.


Education Working Group

Partners: Philanthropy New York members; this group is led by two Philanthropy New York members: the Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Ford Foundation.

Background:  The Education Working Group grew out of policy discussions among a group of members with the State Education Department in late 2009. Since then, members have met several times with former State Education Commissioner David Steiner, current Commissioner John King and Merryl Tisch, Chancellor of the New York State Regents, as well as with Dennis Walcott, Chancellor of the City Department of Education, and key policymakers there.  The Working Group has co-sponsored a series of policy briefings about key issues in education reform, including teaching effectiveness, assessment and the Common Core Standards. While the briefings may have looked at different aspects of reform, each addressed the central question of how foundations could build the capacity of public schools across the state to serve all their students effectively.

Update: Philanthropy New York is publicly launching the Education Funders Research Initiative (EdFunders), a PNY project supported by 16 funding organizations that have pursued a diverse array of education reform strategies. On October 8, from 8:45 to 11:00 a.m., at Trinity Wall Street, a panel including New York State Education Commissioner John B. King and President Scott Evenbeck of the Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, and moderated by WNYC's Beth Fertig, will discuss the first two papers (of three) commissioned by EdFunders, the first looking at over a century of education reform and putting the drive for "college and career readiness" in context, and the second looking at how students are actually moving through the NYC educational system.


Health Policy Working Group

Partners: Philanthropy New York members; this group is led by the NYS Health Foundation and the United Hospital Fund of New York.

Update: The program planning committee of the Health Policy Working Group will meet on October 9 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at Philanthropy New York to map out a slate of health policy-related programs for the fall and early winter. Topics for these programs may include new health care enrollment strategies for nonprofits and unexpected populations (freelancers/artists, immigrants, low-wage workers); opportunities for innovation in health care service delivery and care coordination; and a meeting with the new mayoral administration’s health care officials. For more information, contact Michael Hamill Remaley at


New York City Human Services Data Project

Partners: Philanthropy New York is a partner in this Blue Ridge Foundation‐led project. This working group was formed by New York’s Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services and reports to the Deputy Mayor’s Nonprofit Infrastructure Roundtable, of which Philanthropy New York is also a member.

Update: PNY members joined HHS Accelerator Management Advisor Rien Murray for a special webinar where they walked through the basics of the new HHS Accelerator system and were able to ask questions about its implementation. A video recording of that webinar is now available.


Service for Impact Working Group

Partners: The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, Gap Foundation and Blue Ridge Foundation provided initial leadership in convening funders to determine how the sector should respond to President Obama’s call for expanded service.

Update: The next Service for Impact Working Group meeting will be held on October 3, from 8:45 to 10:30 a.m., at Philanthropy New York. Attendees will learn more about the latest trends in corporate volunteerism from the 2013 Edition of CECP’s “Giving in Numbers” report and also how to apply the principles of Reimagining Service to their work.