Astor Fund at New York Community Trust Awards $9.2 Million

The New York Community Trust has announced grants totaling $9.2 million in support of education and literacy programs, the arts, and conservation from a fund created with assets from New York philanthropist Brooke Astor's estate.

The first round of grants from the $43 million Brooke Astor Fund for New York City Education, which was established a year ago as part of New York State attorney general Eric Schneiderman's settlement of the Astor estate, includes grants totaling nearly $2.1 million to six organizations working to improve reading skills among disadvantaged elementary school students. Recipients include the Reading Excellence and Discovery Foundation, which was awarded $586,000 to offer its program at three elementary schools in the Bronx, and Teaching Matters, which was awarded $120,000 to develop a system to help kindergarten through third-grade teachers teach reading.

Literacy and reading were among Mrs. Astor's highest philanthropic priorities, Linda Gillies, a longtime adviser to Astor, told the Wall Street Journal. "She loved to read herself," said Gillies, "and believed that everyone should be able to read."

The remaining $7.1 million will be shared among fifteen charities favored by Astor, who died in 2007. Recipients include the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Shawn V. Morehead, a NYCT program officer, told the Journal the grants are very much in the spirit of the charitable work that Astor supported during her lifetime. "She looked for the best programs that had the potential to help as many kids as possible," said Morehead. "We worked with our panel of outside experts to do the same."

For a complete list of grant recipients, visit the NYCT Web site.

"Astor Estate Donates Money to New York Education ." Wall Street Journal 12/08/2013. "First Grants Made from New $43 Million Brooke Astor Funds in The New York Community Trust." New York Community Trust Press Release 12/09/2013.