Good Neighbors Initiative - The Long Island Community Foundation
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Good Neighbors Initiative

The Good Neighbors Initiative fuels a new, regional consortium of local experts. With 33 percent of Long Island’s population being of color, Nassau and Suffolk Counties are projected to become majority-minority before the rest of the country. Established in 2019, the fund aims to: advance infrastructure for local advocacy; facilitate people power building; strengthen organizational capacity; coordinate the work of groups focused on organizing, human services, and leadership development; connect immigration advocacy groups with other allies; and, identify opportunities for expanded social justice work across Long Island.

Background and Overview

2020 represents an unprecedented opportunity to build local power on Long Island in pursuit of statewide civic engagement and social justice agendas that echo the rising demand for equity in one of New York’s most segregated regions. The heightened and urgent response to social justice and direct service needs revealed the need for the smaller, grassroots organizations to engage in a more collaborative approach.  In response to their call for a regional consortium, the Good Neighbor Initiative was created. The Good Neighbor Initiative, fueled by the Good Neighbor Fund, seeks to amplify these positive trends via a participatory grantmaking fund housed at the Long Island Community Foundation.

Goals of the Initiative

Good Neighbor Initiative aims to:

1) support region-wide social justice, social service, and civic engagement efforts on Long Island, with a focus on enhancing the infrastructure, leadership, and capacity of grassroots, community-based organizations;

2) increase broad-based and coordinated grassroots engagement with and leadership of local, regional, and statewide policy, and culture change, including with respect to both the passage and the implementation of progressive local and state legislation; and

3) strengthen links between grassroots groups on Long Island, their counterparts in other regions of New York, and statewide organizations and campaigns; and expand foundation and individual donor connections to and support for this vital work

Participatory Grantmaking

In line with the “people-power” focused theory of change, the Good Neighbor Initiative intends to take a participatory approach to the development and implementation of its grantmaking.  It demonstrates a paradigm shift in how donors work with grantees as agents of change in their communities rather than simply as beneficiaries of funding.

The Good Neighbor Initiative convenes representatives from local organizing groups to collectively identify the scope of existing organizing, civic engagement, and leadership development work on Long Island, determine priority capacity and power-building activities and make grant decisions to support these activities and pressing policy campaigns.

Pending receipt of adequate resources, the proposed participatory grantmaking structure is informed by the practices of entities like the North Star Fund’s Community Funding Committees, Amplify Fund, and Brooklyn Community Foundation.

Theory of Change

Good Neighbor Initiative operates with the belief that successful regional, state and national policy and culture change depend on “bottom-up” engagement with and investments in the capacity, interconnectivity, and sustainability of local grassroots groups, particularly but not exclusively in communities of color. Such power-building work – especially in a place as racially segregated, politically fragmented, and geographically diverse as Long Island – depends on breaking down barriers between groups while at the same time respecting their unique identities and localities.

gnf logo peers
Peer Groups

Choice for All

Gender Equality NY

Long Island Jobs with Justice

Long Island Progressive Coalition

New Hour for Women and Children

Padoquohan Medicine Lodge/ Graves Protection Warriors (Shinnecock)

SEPA Mujer

STRONG Youth

Women’s Diversity Network

gnf logo funders
Funding Partners

Engage NY

Ford Foundation

Long Island Community Foundation

Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation

JM Kaplan Fund

Unbound

Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock

For more information, please contact:

Sol Marie Alfonso-Jones, Senior Program Officer, LICF
sjones@licf.org; W (631) 991-8800 x 232

Eva Pearson, Project Consultant
EvaPearson2020@gmail.com