The Fund for Social Change is a
public foundation founded in 2002 to use philanthropy to increase
the influence and improve the well-being of disempowered people
in New York City, including poor people, people of color, people
with disabilities, immigrants, and young people.
Partnership for Family Supports and Justice: Bridge Builders
a collaboration of 15 foundations and the Administration for Children’s
Services. It is testing a new neighborhood-based collaborative
approach in which neighbors assist families experiencing difficulties
to prevent foster care placement.
The Parent Advocate Initiative (PAI)
is a collaboration of six foundations, the New York City Administration
for Children’s Services, the New York State Office of Children
and Family Services, the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies,
and the Child Welfare Organizing Project. We are promoting the
hiring of Parent Advocates by foster care agencies. Parent Advocates
in the child welfare system are parents who have had their children
removed to foster care and have successfully reunified with them,
and who subsequently choose to be trained and to work within the
child welfare system. They humanize the child welfare system by
giving voice to parents’ experiences and incorporating their
own experiences into practice.
To view the
PAI Request for Proposals, please click
To view the PAI Workplan and Monitoring
Matrix, please click
For more information on Parent Advocates,
The OMRDD/FAR Fund Collaborative
works to transform agency cultures and to assist individuals on
the autistic spectrum so they have more person centered lives
as they transition to adulthood and independence.
START (Sobriety Treatment
and Recovery Teams):
The New York City Administration
for Children's Services (ACS), in partnership with the Fund
for Social Change, is launching
a Bronx-based pilot of a nationally-recognized approach to working
with families in which
a caregiver is abusing substances. Recognizing the challenges
that families face when they are simultaneously involved in the
child welfare and substance abuse treatment systems, START provides
a team of a child welfare worker and family mentor, to work with
caregivers to keep children safe, to help caregivers overcome
their substance abuse, and to make sure that children are growing
up in permanent and nurturing families. The Fund for Social Change
is employing Family Mentors
to work as members of the ACS START team in the Bronx. Drawing
on personal experience as a former client of the child welfare
system and/or as a person in recovery, Family Mentors provide
support to ACS START clients.
Main Strategies Guide These Programs
First, the Fund for Social Change believes that
people have the right to participate in decisions that affect
their lives, and therefore promotes the independent voice of clients
served by various social welfare systems—parents and youth
involved with the child welfare system, people with autism and
other disabilities, victims of violence, and people who are homeless.
social change is fostered by reforming systems rather than by
continuously fixing problems, so the Fund focuses on long-term,
system-wide reform in public policy, funding streams, and direct
the Fund supports strong organizations, guided by the people they
serve, to improve the lives of disempowered people. To that end,
the Fund helps launch many new organizations, as well as supports
we have tried to promote new types of direct services and new
models of service delivery to meet the unmet needs of various
vulnerable groups. These include exemplary legal representation
for parents whose children are at risk of foster care, individual
living arrangements for people with severe disabilities, outreach
programs for isolated at-risk families, and collaborations within
communities to integrate services.
the Fund for Social Change promotes accountability. Grantees submit
monitoring reports twice a year describing the impact of their
work on the individuals they assist and the social welfare systems
they seek to change. Each fund also supports formal evaluations
of programs that we seek to replicate.
we promote collaboration among grantees, among foundations, and
between government, foundations and nonprofit agencies. We have
created and participate in collaborations among foundations that
pool resources to have a larger and more strategic impact. We
encourage grantees to undertake joint projects, to learn from
each other and to assist each other. We have also brought grantees
together from different service areas to learn from each other’s
experience. Collaboration is often more difficult and time consuming
than operating independently, but the impact and the growth in
the process are often far greater.
The Fund for Social Change in
a relatively short period of time has contributed
to significant improvements in programs and systems:
The Child Welfare Fund was founded in 2017 by an anonymous donor and David Tobis at Hunter College. In 2017 the
Fund for Social Change began administering the Child Welfare Fund.
Since its founding, the Child Welfare Fund has had a profound
influence on changing the New York City child welfare system.
For more information on the Child Welfare Fund go to the Child
Welfare Fund page of the FSC website or the Child
Welfare Fund website.
The Partnership for Family Supports and
Justice: Bridge Builders is administered by the Fund
for Social Change. It is a collaboration of 12 service providers,
15 foundations and the Administration for Children’s Services.
Bridge Builders began providing services in Highbridge, the Bronx
at the end of 2003. It tests the hypothesis that family well-being
and child welfare outcomes will improve as a result of community
members being trained and working to assist their neighbors who
then link the families to targeted social services and legal representation.
Parents and youth are involved in the collaborative with neighborhood-based
service providers. The program is built upon strengthened relationships
with the Administration for Children’s Services, the public
child welfare agency.
Builders provides two key elements which are generally lacking
in community-based child welfare programs. The first is an active
role for parents in policy making, program design and implementation,
particularly parents who have had contact with the child welfare
system. And second, quality legal representation is provided to
distressed families. Bridge Builders is evaluated each year by
a team at the University of Chicago Chapin Hall Center for Children.
For more information on Bridge Builders, go to the Bridge
Builders page of the FSC website.
the FAR Fund was
administered by the Fund for Social Change, it made significant
progress in improving and expanding services for people on the
autistic spectrum, preventing homelessness, and preventing violence
against youth. Starting in 2017 the FAR Fund changed its
focus. The Fund for Social Change continues to administer the
OMRDD/FAR Fund Collaborative which works to transform agency cultures
and to assist individuals on the autistic spectrum so they have
more person centered lives. This collaboration is now in its fourth
year. Other activities of the FAR Fund are administered elsewhere.
the lives of people with disabilities are restricted by a lack
of sensitive, comprehensive services. The FAR Fund launched efforts
to enrich instructional methods, programs, and resources available
to children with disabilities in the New York City public school
system and their families. The Fund also supported quality employment
programs and housing for people with disabilities, to ease their
transition to satisfying, productive adult lives. The FAR Fund
supported an approach called Person Centered Planning, which develops
an individualized plan to nurture each person’s specific
skills, passions and interests. To test this approach for individuals,
as well as to change organizational culture, the Fund for Social
Change and the FAR Fund created the OMRDD/FAR Collaboration, an
unprecedented collaboration between several social service agencies
and the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental
Disabilities (OMRDD). The project was evaluated by the Institute
for Basic Research.
Because of the success of the collaboration during the first
three years, the collaboration has expanded to include six service
providers as part of a learning network with technical assistance
provided by Job Path. The Institute for Basic Research is continuing
to conduct a yearly evaluation of the collaboration.
prevent homelessness, the FAR Fund promoted supportive housing,
providing on-site social services to help stabilize vulnerable
families. The Fund’s support for the Dorothy Day Apartments
helped create a complex with 70 permanent apartments, along with
a childcare center and an array of social service and educational
programs. In addition, the FAR Fund supported the Task Force on
Housing and Services for Families. The work of this Task Force
contributed to several important changes in City and State policy
and funding that will lead to increased supportive housing for
a five-year matching grant to the Doctoral Program in Clinical
Psychology at City College, the FAR Fund revitalized the training
of doctoral level psychoanalytically-oriented psychologists. The
Fund also supported programs that provide psychotherapy to adolescents
with Asperger’s Syndrome, young people in foster care, and
victims of domestic violence. Finally, the FAR Fund Fellowship
enabled individuals to design and implement important new projects
serving people with autism and victims of domestic violence.
Lash Fellowship Program, honoring Trude Lash,
an outstanding leader in child welfare, enabled gifted and passionate
New York City activists to combine research with public advocacy
to help children and families. Fellowships were awarded in 2006.
about the Fund for Social Change in the NY Nonprofit Press