Mar 10, 2022

FUEL for 50: Robin Hood Awards 50 NYC-Based Organizations with $25K

Celebrating programs supporting parents & caregivers of children 0–3

By David Hernandez, Associate | Fund for Early Learning (FUEL)

Earlier this week, Robin Hood announced the initial awardees of FUEL for 50, our new initiative to support young children’s learning and development through programs focused on their parents and caregivers. These 50 awards — the first phase of a 3-year initiative — are Robin Hood’s latest investments in a six-year commitment to make New York City a model for cultivating and scaling new approaches to supporting the development of children ages 0–3.

FUEL for 50 was born out of Robin Hood’s Fund for Early Learning (FUEL), which launched in 2016 with a mandate to help transform New York City into an “early learning metropolis” by focusing on children three-and-under living below the poverty line. And, in early 2018, we began work on our first-ever open funding challenge, FUEL for 50, with two goals: to reduce the barriers to accessing Robin Hood support and to recognize and reward the diverse community organizations that step up for vulnerable families in our city.

In planning FUEL for 50, we reflected on Robin Hood’s historical grantmaking and challenged ourselves to better engage communities of the greatest need and opportunity. First, we examined the geographic landscape of our previous grantmaking in New York City, particularly noting neighborhoods where Robin Hood support had not adequately kept up with demonstrated need. Next, we heard directly from community organizations about their thoughts on a challenge like FUEL for 50. In partnership with the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) and Blue Ridge Labs’s Design Insight Group, FUEL conducted two sets of focus groups with organizations across the city. During one group, we gained insights about current work supporting children and caregivers, and in the other, we gathered feedback from community organizations about our draft plans for FUEL for 50.

We then launched FUEL for 50 with an open call for applications in August 2021, working with all three New York City public library systems, the MTA, and the Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network (HITN) to do direct outreach and help spread the word in neighborhoods throughout New York City. By November, we’d received more than 350 applications, most of them from organizations not explicitly focused on early childhood. And we worked with a committee of 18 local parents, nonprofit leaders, and early childhood researchers and educators to choose the 50 awardees.

Representing all five boroughs of New York City and with missions ranging from mental health and job training to immigration and legal services, the 50 awardee nonprofits will each receive $25,000 in unrestricted funding, access to expert workshops and support, and opportunities for up to $1 million in funding over the next two years.

50 Awardee Organizations:

  • Asiyah Women’s Center
  • Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP)
  • Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services (BACDYS)
  • Barbershop Books
  • Betances Health Center
  • The Brave House
  • Brooklyn Community Housing & Services
  • Carroll Gardens Association
  • Chances for Children — NY
  • Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech
  • Cornell University Cooperative Extension
  • CounterForce
  • Cypress Hills Child Care Corporation
  • Day One NY
  • East Harlem Tutorial Program
  • FamilyCook Productions
  • Forestdale Inc.
  • Friendship Circle of Brooklyn
  • Full Circle Life Enrichment Center
  • Henry Street Settlement
  • Her Justice
  • Her Village Inc.
  • Homes for the Homeless
  • Hour Children Inc.
  • Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison
  • Hunts Point Alliance for Children
  • ImmSchools
  • Jericho Project
  • Kingsbridge Heights Community Center
  • La Colmena
  • Lexington School for the Deaf
  • Life of Hope
  • Literacy Partners
  • Literacy Inc.
  • LSA Family Health Service
  • Lutheran Social Services of New York
  • Masa
  • Mixteca
  • New York City College of Technology, Division of Continuing Education
  • New York Council on Adoptable Children
  • The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
  • New Yorkers For Children
  • North Brooklyn Coalition Against Family Violence
  • Northside Center for Child Development
  • Relume Foundation
  • Safe Families for Children
  • Safe Horizon
  • Sheltering Arms
  • Vibrant Emotional Health

We also released a comprehensive report on the goals and implementation of FUEL for 50, including data and insights gleaned from the pool of 355 applicant organizations. Despite the non-traditional aspects of the initiative, Robin Hood found community organizations of all sizes and mission areas working on creative ways to support parents and caregivers of young children. Caregiver stress was a predominant theme, with more than 80% of programs focused on reducing sources of stress and 40% of applications citing mental health support. FUEL for 50 applicants also overwhelmingly cited community knowledge, experience, and trust as tentpoles in their program design and approaches, uplifting the value of lived experience.

So what’s next?

In November of 2022, FUEL will award up to 10 of the selected organizations $250,000 in additional funding as well as access to intensive 1-on-1 technical assistance to test the efficacy of their programs, and — in 2023 — up to three awardees will receive an additional $1 million to scale their efforts across New York City.