Public Affairs

Overseen by Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, General Counsel and Secretary Michele S. Warman, the Public Affairs (PA) program in 2019 continued support for the critical role of the arts, humanities, and philanthropy in fostering human agency, dignity, and a just society. Key to PA’s strategy is supporting organizations that offer arts and educational programming that is intentionally accessible, meaningful, and impactful to people of all abilities and circumstances. PA grantmaking in this vein has focused on programs designed to help people with dementia and their care partners engage with the arts in a supportive environment, leveraging the documented intellectual, emotional, and social benefits of the arts for such participants. Following a late-2017 grant to support the Lincoln Center Moments (LCM) concert series, in 2019 PA provided further support for the successful program’s expansion. These funds will enable LCM to increase performances and workshops, pursue additional partnerships with community organizations, and provide staff training specifically to address the needs of disabled visitors and their caregivers, all in an effort to extend the transporting reach of the arts.

26_Wage_Islands_5.jpgEkene Ijeoma’s Wage Island, a three-dimensional map of New York indicating parts of the city where housing is affordable based on wages. The work was included in Who We Are: Visualizing NYC by the Numbers, at the Museum of the City of New York.

A second critical component of PA’s grantmaking strategy is the support of programming that inspires and invites broad civic participation and learning in order to promote a healthy and inclusive democracy. With Foundation support, last year the Museum of the City of New York launched Who We Are: Visualizing NYC by the Numbers, an innovative exhibition that incorporates elements of the visual arts, the humanities, civics, and data science in order to raise awareness of the importance of Census participation. Both interactive and immersive, Who We Are utilizes a combination of projections and physical objects to mobilize Census data and bridge the gap in understanding between how individuals self-identify and how they are ultimately counted and classified. Through the museum’s vision, it is hoped that the knowledge gained from this exhibit will support a fuller and more diverse representation across all Census categories. Relatedly, PA provided continued support for PBS NewsHour’s “Race Matters” series, which focuses on issues of diversity and social justice in the United States and seeks to advance national conversations about race. PA’s support of such projects aims to further collective understanding of our shared humanity and the urgent need to forge paths for a more equitable and inclusive society.

27_harpist.jpgA grant for Lincoln Center Moments supported performances and workshops, community partnerships, and staff training to extend the reach of the performing arts to disabled adults and their caretakers. Photo: Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Finally, PA grantmaking in 2019 sought to further undergird the philanthropic sector by supporting efforts to increase transparency, collaboration, and sharing of informational resources. A pair of grants provided support for the merger of GuideStar USA, Inc. with Foundation Center—two formerly independent organizations that for a combined eighty-eight years led sector-wide efforts to compile and organize data on nonprofits—to form a new entity, named Candid. With other support as well, Candid will position the collective resources and experience of its formerly disparate parts to serve as an important institutional anchor for the field of charitable giving. And finally, two additional grants—to Nonprofit New York (formerly Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York) and Philanthropy New York—will support the organizations’ work to create and disseminate resources to enhance nonprofit management and facilitate meaningful connections across the sector.

28_GrowNYC_LGE_YM_Amanda_Gentile_ADGPhotography_8_19-50.jpgGrowNYC’s Bronx Borough Hall Greenmarket, one of more than fifty such markets across New York City providing fresh, locally grown food to consumers. Photo: GrowNYC/Amanda Gentile.