Special Projects & Initiatives

Philanthropy New York has launched several collaborative projects and initiatives to help grantmakers:

  • share and promote best practices;
  • support joint funding responses to urgent needs;
  • address complicated issues creatively; and
  • achieve greater impact.

Below are current and recent examples of this work by issue or focus area.


Diversity & Inclusion

PNY has a long history of supporting programs that seek to increase diversity in our sector and beyond. Over several years, we have forged coalitions with others in the sector, undertaken research, helped bring professionals of color into the field and created a standing board committee to help foster practices among members that promote inclusivity.

  • Find an overview of work in this area and a collection of helpful background resources.


Education Funders Research Initiative (EdFunders) was a special PNY project that brought together private foundations that had invested over $2 billion in New York City public school reform efforts over a decade. These foundations were crucial to many of the reform strategies pursued both by the New York State Department of Education and by other education support organizations. In 2012, they collaborated to engage New Yorkers and focus our leaders on new research into how we can best prepare students for college and 21st-century careers, driven by the question: How can we improve on what's working in NYC education?

Nonprofit Excellence

The Nonprofit Excellence Awards is a joint program of The New York Community Trust, The Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York (NPCC) and Philanthropy New York, sponsored by New York Magazine and WNYC, to recognize outstanding management practices at New York-area nonprofits.

  • For more, visit the Nonprofit Excellence Awards website and blog.


Between 2005 and 2012, Grantmakers in Aging and regional associations across the country partnered on an initiative to inform funders about the implications to American society as our population ages. Philanthropy New York oversaw New York EngAGEment and partnered with area funders — The Atlantic Philanthropies, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, and John A. Hartford Foundation — and Age-Friendly New York City to host a series of programs in the areas of arts and creativity, intergenerational programming and baby-boomers impacted by the recession.

Research & Convenings

Best Practices in Disaster Grantmaking

Natural disasters in recent years, including Hurricane Sandy in the New York region and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Gulf Coast, have resulted in an outpouring of philanthropic support to people in the devastated communities. In the aftermath of the Gulf Coast disasters, Philanthropy New York received funding from the Ford Foundation to produce Best Practices in Disaster Grantmaking. The report was designed to lay the groundwork for future response and recovery efforts, and help foundations as well as individual donors be better prepared.

Following Hurricane Sandy, PNY served as a hub for information on philanthropic response, convened funders and federal, state and local policy makers, and commissioned research to track response and recovery activities.

Philanthropy’s Response to the Needs of Returning Veterans

A 2012 conference explored how philanthropy could respond to the needs of thousands of veterans who have or who continue to return home to New York City from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Money and Power in a Post-Election America: Where is Philanthropy?

In 2013, PNY brought together foundation executives, individual donors and civic leaders to examine what philanthropy’s evolving relationship with public policy and government means in the context of the rapidly changing political scene. Participants discussed pressing issues such as K-12 education, health care reform and poverty. For more on the conference and what it covered, see the links below.