What Is HFNY’s Community Grants Circle?
Have you ever wondered how you can get more involved with Hope for New York? Would you love to get a behind-the-scenes look at the work of HFNY affiliates? Or want to know more about how HFNY allocates funding to our affiliates?
That’s exactly what our Community Grants Circle (a.k.a. CGC) does.
Our CGC, which was started in 2014, is made up of about 40 of our most committed volunteers, church staff, donors, and friends of HFNY who participate in and advise on our grantmaking process. Below, you can learn more about how we select members and what it is they do.
How do we select our CGC?
Each spring, we look for people who have a deep commitment to mercy and justice and are currently volunteering and/or investing financially in our work to participate in our CGC. Members must also be able to evaluate programs and organizations objectively and work collaboratively with a team.
Anyone interested in joining the CGC is asked to submit an application. HFNY staff members will review all applications and select individuals from the application pool to join our CGC. Members commit to doing about 1-3 hours of work per week for six weeks during the spring.
What do members of our CGC do?
One hope for our CGC is that members would increase the knowledge of and passion for our affiliates among their networks and key leaders (church leadership, HFNY Board, major donors, committed volunteers). It is the CGC’s job to join together as a community to inform HFNY’s investment in organizations—and, in the process, members learn more about these organizations and their leaders.
Another desire is that the CGC would bring a fresh perspective and new level of insight into our grantmaking process. Each CGC member is assigned to a regional team (East Side, West Side, or Downtown) and asked to review the applications from three affiliates in their region. They also attend site visits to three affiliates, where they hear from program directors to get a sense of their vision and needs.
From there, CGC members make grant range recommendations as a regional team for funding either at, above, or below the affiliate’s requested amount. They give feedback to HFNY staff and Board based on having read the applications and visited our affiliates.
What’s new with the CGC?
This year, given their thorough due diligence process (find out even more about that here!), we wanted to give the CGC the chance to nominate the organization they felt was most deserving of an additional $10,000 grant, given on top of the direct grants we award.
Each CGC regional team nominated one affiliate for a chance to win our inaugural Community Investment Award. Ultimately the CGC voted to award the grant to the Downtown nominee, Brooklyn Arab American Friendship Center, for their work with the Arab American immigrant community in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. (Read more about the award and nominees here!)
We’re always looking for people who are passionate about mercy and justice and the work of Hope for New York and our affiliates to join our Community Grants Circle. If you’re interested in learning more, contact Lauren Jezequel at firstname.lastname@example.org.