Melville, NY (December 15, 2020) – Grassroots organizations committed to a just and equitable Long Island will receive a substantial infusion of philanthropic support with the launch of the Good Neighbor Initiative, a new funding collaborative convened by the Long Island Community Foundation (LICF). The Fund is launching with an initial commitment of $600,000 over three years.
Long Island, in many ways, is fertile ground for the types of demographic changes that are sweeping across the country. Over the past few years, an unprecedented number of people from Central America have settled on Long Island, seeking safety and community. With one in three Long Islanders now identifying as a person of color, Long Island looks to become majority Black, Indigenous, and People of Color a decade ahead of the rest of the country.
In recent years, an array of local coalitions and networks has arisen on Long Island to advance civic participation, social welfare, social justice, and community well-being. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for local communities to come together, support one another, and consider the region as a whole has never been greater. Long Island typically receives a fraction of the philanthropic investment that New York City enjoys; the Good Neighbor Initiative reflects the Island’s growing importance to statewide civic engagement and social justice goals.
Nine leading Long Island community organizations were selected to establish the first-ever peer-to-peer grantmaking group at LICF that will design the Initiative’s strategy and guide its giving. The organizations include Choice for All, Gender Equality NY, Long Island Jobs with Justice, Long Island Progressive Coalition, New Hour for Women and Children, Padoquohan Medicine Lodge, SEPA Mujer, STRONG Youth, and Women’s Diversity Network.
The Good Neighbor Initiative will support the peer-to-peer groups’ existing work and will help ensure that a diverse range of communities on Long Island have their voices represented and lead the way in advancing solutions that will impact them. This peer-to-peer approach is informed by other participatory grantmaking structures, such as the North Star Fund’s Community Funding Committees and the Brooklyn Community Foundation.
“We believe good relationships make Good Neighbors,” said Sol Marie Alfonso- Jones, LICF Senior Program Officer. “Long Island is still one of the nation’s most segregated places. This Initiative, informed by local leaders, enables our most affected and engaged communities to come together and build collective power in a way that benefits the region and strengthens Long Island’s connection to state and national organizations and funders.”
The funders who support this work, in addition to the Long Island Community Foundation, include the Ford Foundation, J.M. Kaplan Fund, the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, Unbound Philanthropy, and the Veatch Program at Shelter Rock.
The Fund will complement Engage New York, a locus for a statewide strategy to advance equity and increase civic participation of underrepresented groups, and test drive this approach at the regional level across Long Island.
For more information about the initiative:
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