What the LICF Funds | Long Island Community Foundation

We are Long Island’s community foundation, serving Nassau and Suffolk counties. Our competitive grants are made possible primarily by funds set up by donor bequests and wills, supporting projects to improve the lives of Long Islanders.

Our Grants

Our competitive grants are supported by hundreds of funds. Some can be used at our discretion, while others were created for particular purposes and range from specific (mental health for veterans, protecting drinking water quality)—to broad (environment or elderly programs). 

 Based on our guidelines, program officers review proposals and identify the best projects to recommend to our board. We also have many living donors who suggest grants from donor-advised funds. These funds do not accept proposals. 

Funder Collaboratives

We are home to several funder collaboratives that bring foundations and charitable individuals together to address issues such as immigration, water quality, and racial equity. These collaborative funds do not accept unsolicited proposals; instead they issue requests for proposals or solicit nonprofits to apply. Please see descriptions of the collaboratives and their RFPs (if any). 

Funder Collaboratives

In our grantmaking decisions, we favor projects that: 

  • Have clearly defined and measurable outcomes with specific plans to achieve and document results in a specified time period 
  • Are led by organizations that have the capacity to achieve desired results and demonstrate commitment to diversity 
  • Demonstrate the potential for local or regional impact that are scalable or can be replicated 
  • Address gaps in current service or program models 
  • Demonstrate solutions that address root causes of problems 
  • Demonstrate collaboration and partnership for greater impact 
  • Demonstrate strong community leadership, engagement, and cultural competence 
  • Employ effective best practice strategies 
  • Serve low-income, underserved, or special needs populations 
  • Have the potential to leverage additional dollars 
  • Have the potential to favorably increase visibility of the LICF and our donors 

Our Grantmaking Guidelines

Here are guidelines in our 8 program areas:

The best way to get a good idea of what we are currently funding is to examine each program area for an overview of our funding goals and priorities. We also invite you to take a look at our 2020 grants to see what organizations and projects we have funded. Although we will occasionally make a larger grant, most grants fall into the $15,000 – $25,000 range. 

 Grants are made for one year at a time; proposals submitted for renewed funding are reviewed on a case by case basis, but only after a final report on the use of the previous grant has been received and approved by LICF staff. In most instances, no more than two renewals will be considered. 

LICF will fund projects in the following areas:

Program Goal: To integrate the arts in community development, civic engagement, and social change 

We fund projects that:  

  • Revitalize and strengthen communities through economic development  
  • Use the arts to engage residents in community problem solving and/or advocating for social change 

Program GoalTo expand quality affordable housing opportunities for all Long Islanders 

We fund projects that: 

  • Advance local and statewide policies and practices that promote safe and decent affordable housing options and protect against displacement 
  • Preserve and create multifamily housing for low-to moderate-income families and individuals 
  • Build local support for affordable housing developments 
  • Ensure public investments targeted to community development align with fair housing laws 

 Program Goal: To prepare students for success in college and the workforce 

 We fund projects that: 

  • Build and mobilize public will for greater equity and quality in Long Island’s school districts 
  • Introduce effective in-school and out of school programs known to improve student performance including academic enrichment (especially in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math); college and career readiness; social and emotional learning; and training for educators 
  • Increase accountability and transparency of school administrations to parents and students 
  • Expand innovative strategies and partnerships for improving low performing middle and high schools 

Program Goal: To protect and preserve Long Island’s natural resources, healthy ecosystems and public health 

We fund projects that: 

  • Promote sustainable land use, land management, and transportation alternatives 
  • Support and strengthen open space and farmland preservation efforts 
  • Improve and protect the health of the region’s bodies of water 
  • Protect drinking water quality 
  • Preserve biological diversity through habitat conservation and protection 
  • Minimize climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the development of alternative energy sources and energy conservation, research and public education  

Note: LICF does not fund environmental youth education programs 


Proposals in this category are reviewed ONLY in CYCLE 3 

 Program Goal: To improve the effectiveness, responsiveness, and equity of healthcare for marginalized and underserved communities and populations. 

 We fund projects that: 

  • Address existing health disparities and improve access to quality healthcare 
  • In Nassau County, only hospitals are eligible to apply 
  • In Suffolk County, hospitals and other health care facilities are eligible to apply 

Program Goal: To improve the effectiveness, responsiveness, and equity of mental health services for veterans 

 We fund projects that: 

  • Address the mental health needs of veterans and their families 
  • Raise awareness and respond to the unique needs of women veterans 
  • Facilitate connection to social and legal services for veterans with mental health issues 

Program Goal: To reduce or alleviate hunger on Long Island 

 We fund projects that: 

  • Increase food access for vulnerable populations 
  • Facilitate connection to social services and other programs (including entitlements, etc.) and/or address root causes of hunger 
  • Increase participation of eligible youth in free school breakfast and lunch programs 

Program Goal: To strengthen the capacity of nonprofit organizations to achieve greater community impact 

 We fund projects that: 

  • Increase the organizational aptitude of nonprofits 
  • Promote sector-wide best practices and organizational efficiencies 
  • Ensure diverse leadership in the nonprofit sector 
  • Foster mergers or consolidations to better serve communities 

Program Goal:  To advance the well-being and economic self-sufficiency of at-risk youth (up to 24 years of age) 

We fund projects that:

  • Expand opportunities for positive youth development and leadership
  • Increase access to employment opportunities
  • Reduce school suspensions and incarceration
  • Support adolescent mental health and addiction treatment