Trust versus Trump

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New funding to nonprofit groups opposing the president’s agenda


  • Support for Planne Parenthood at the New York City Women's March last month. Photo: Narih Lee, via flickr

President Donald Trump’s first weeks in office were met with extraordinary public response from New Yorkers, who flooded parks and streets to protest the president’s policies. The political furor evidenced by the high-profile marches and demonstrations translated into monetary support for nonprofits opposing various aspects of Trump’s agenda. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and the Anti-Defamation League all reported surges in donations in response to Trump’s election and his subsequent actions in office.

The grassroots support for organizations working against Trump has been mirrored by institutional backing. Last week, the New York Community Trust, one of the region’s largest sources of private funding for nonprofits, announced the allocation of over $800,000 dollars to groups working on such issues as immigration, housing, and reproductive health “to respond to federal policy changes and advocate against harmful changes to programs.” Though NYCT didn’t mention Trump by name in its statement announcing the grants, a number of the organizations selected to receive funding by the trust stand to be impacted by the president’s proposed policies and actions since taking office.

Among the most controversial of Trump’s initial measures was his executive order, issued Jan. 25, expanding federal deportation priorities with respect to unauthorized immigrants. Included in NYCT’s grants was a $261,000 contribution to Human Rights First to provide legal assistance to immigrants facing deportation proceedings.

Additionally, the trust announced it would give $100,000 to the New York Immigration Coalition, a policy and advocacy group that recently published what it described as a leaked internal memorandum from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement dated Feb. 11 detailing how ICE had arrested “approximately 40 foreign nationals” in New York City and the surrounding area over the previous week in a “targeted enforcement operation.” The New York Times reported that over 600 people had been arrested in similar operations nationwide over the same period. The memorandum described the ICE actions in New York as “routine,” but on Sun., Feb. 12, President Trump wrote on Twitter, “The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!”

The New York Community Trust, established in 1924, helps fund nonprofits with grants from various charitable funds established by donors. The funding awards in response to federal policy changes were part of a $7.65 million package of grants that also funded health care and education initiatives, cultural institutions, and conservation groups.

Planned Parenthood of New York City received a $185,000 grant from NYCT to help protect access to reproductive health services. Trump spoke during his campaign of stripping Planned Parenthood of federal funding.

Additional grants include $60,000 to the New York Housing Conference to monitor changes to federal housing policy that impact New York City and $300,000 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to advocate for the preservation of federal funding to programs such as Medicaid and food stamps.

“At a time when programs to improve health care, support the social safety net, and safeguard the environment are under assault, the trust is working for the well-being of all New Yorkers,” Patricia Jenny, NYCT’s vice president for grants, said in a statement.

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