Here is what $200 million in renovations did for the Ford Foundation

Ford Foundation headquarters in midtown Manhattan.
Ford Foundation headquarters in midtown Manhattan.
The Ford Foundation headquarters in midtown Manhattan.

Here is what $200 million in renovations did for the Ford Foundation

And other updates from across New York
December 7, 2018

The Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York hosted its inaugural Best Nonprofit Conference on Dec. 6. Representatives from across the nonprofit sector gathered at the Columbia Faculty House in Manhattan to discuss a range of issues. This included a panel discussion on topics such as communication strategies that don’t need kittens to be interesting; fundraising; governance; and management. Get a peek at what went down at the event in the Twitter Moment below.


A new book tells the stories of 13 people who overcame homelessness. Susan Greenfield, professor of English at Fordham University, edited Sacred Shelter: Thirteen Journeys of Homelessness and Healing, which features the stories of each individual. Two of them joined her on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” on Dec. 5. They discussed how personal narratives and systemic barriers push people to homelessness – and what lesson any person can learn both about homelessness and society at-large. Listen here. A discussion of the book will take place on the afternoon of Dec. 9 at Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village.


The New York Women’s Foundation just got a $300,000 grant. The money comes from the Art for Justice Fund – a five-year-old initiative started by philanthropist Agnes Gund in partnership with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and the Ford Foundation – and will support the Justice Fund, which aims to mitigate the effects of mass incarceration on women and girls. The seven-year initiative launched this fall, according to a press release.

“The Justice Fund is a part of The Foundation’s strategy to propel and support bold systemic change across the intersecting systems of criminal justice, public health, housing, child welfare and immigration, while shifting public discourse and understanding about the root causes of economic, gender, and racial injustice,” reads the press release. “Unique to this initiative is its family-centered paradigm. Women and families are seldom at the center of criminal justice reform and when women are incarcerated, the ripple effect on their dependents is profound.”


There will be a new CEO at CoveCare Center next year. Eric Toth will assume the position in January 2019. He will succeed Diane Russon, who is retiring after 20 years of leading the only private nonprofit agency providing recovery-based mental health and substance use treatment and prevention services in Putnam County. Toth has worked for the past 18 years at Family Services of Westchester, and has been the vice president of program operations for five years, according to a Dec. 6 press release.


The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has a new Request for Proposals. The agency is looking for a provider of supportive housing for homeless people, according to the City Record. Proposals are due by Dec. 12 at 10 a.m.


Jonas Philanthropies has added two new executives. Mary Fiore is the new development and partnerships manager at the New York City-based nonprofit. She previously worked at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and is a graduate of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Althea Hicks is the new grants and programs manager. She previously worked in a similar role at Weill Cornell Medicine and has a masters of public health from Hunter College. Both Fiore and Hicks will report to Wanda Montalvo, who became the executive director of Jonas Philanthropies in September, according to a Nov. 29 press release.


The Ford Foundation turned to architects to construct a physical reflection of its mission. A two-year, $205 million renovation of its New York City headquarters includes work on a 13-story glass-roof atrium with offices on the sides, reports the Architectural Record. There were also more practical improvements to the space, such as asbestos mitigation and repairs to fire sprinklers and accessibility. Foundation President Darren Walker says that a greater artistic need was also fulfilled by updating the building.

“It was elitist and hierarchical then,” he told Architectural Record. “Today, philanthropy has to be transparent and open.” The New York Times also did a story and photos of the project last month. Walker also sat for an on-camera interview about the project, alongside architect Kevin Roche, in 2016:

Zach Williams
Zach Williams
is a staff reporter at New York Nonprofit Media and sister publication City & State.