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Grants to New York City Nonprofits to Improve Literacy of Young Children

Improving Literacy Through Arts Education Grant

GrantWatch ID# 207916
Agency: Foundation

Funding Source
New York Community Trust
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: New York CityNew York

Important Dates
Deadline: 03/17/23 4:00 PM EST Save

Grant Description
Grants to New York City nonprofit organizations for initiatives to improve the literacy of young children through arts-related activities. Funding is intended for projects that can be carried out across a significant number of schools. Projects should serve children in prekindergarten through the fifth grade; projects may work with students in one or more of these grades.

The arts have an important role to play in helping students not only decode words, but also build their background knowledge, vocabulary, and oral language skills to improve reading comprehension. Research has long shown that arts education can, among other things, expose children to new vocabulary and help them experiment with different modes of communication. Therefore, The Trust is issuing a request for letters of interest (LOI) from nonprofit arts organizations seeking to augment schools’ reading instruction by helping students develop and master skills (e.g., oral language, rich vocabulary, a broad knowledge base, and deep comprehension) required for reading and writing.

Highest priority will be given to comprehensive and innovative projects that have the potential for expansion or replication in a substantial number of public schools and/or prekindergarten programs, and are consistent with established research on teaching reading and writing. In addition to identifying arts education projects designed to contribute to high-quality reading instruction, support for the following types of programs will be prioritized:

  • Take a systemic approach to ensuring access to arts education (e.g., by working with district superintendents or networks of daycare centers);
  • Provide sequential arts instruction that is culturally responsive and incorporates best practices for serving multilingual learners and students with disabilities; and
  • Work extensively with students over time.

Preference will be given to projects that will serve schools and/or prekindergarten programs with high concentrations of low-income students and little or no arts instruction. Funded projects will take place during the school day and serve a minimum of five public schools or publicly-subsidized prekindergarten programs.


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Eligible organizations must be located in and serve New York City and have an annual operating budget of at least $250,000. Applicants also must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or have a 501(c)(3) as a funds administrator.

Although interested arts groups should be familiar with research-based literacy strategies, the Trust does not encourage projects that directly involve arts organizations in implementing phonics curricula.

Grants will not support work with private or charter schools. Also, as a reminder, The Trust’s competitive grants program does not provide general operating support, and they do not generally fund capital projects or the presentation of particular artistic works (such as plays, exhibits, films/videos, and festivals).

Pre-Application Information
LOIs may be submitted from February 07, 2023 - March 17, 2023 4:00 PM EST.

Applicants will be notified by email if the project described in the LOI is of interest to The Trust, and then will be asked to submit additional information. The Trust’s program staff may also follow up by phone or request a meeting.

Grants will be announced in June 2023.

Estimated Size of Grant
Grants are expected to range from $80,000 to $130,000 per year for one or two years.

Term of Contract
One or two years, depending on the scope and scale of the project.

Contact Information

Please direct questions about the LOI to Leigh Ross, Program Officer for Girls & Young Women, Early Childhood Education, and Arts Education, at

For help navigating The Trust’s grants portal, please contact Melanie DeLorenzo, Grants Manager, at

The New York Community Trust
909 Third Avenue, 22nd Floor
New York, NY 10022

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