In 2010, a group of local, regional, and national funders with shared investments in New York state began meeting to share information, as well as align and leverage efforts. Representatives from Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Ford Foundation, Hagedorn Foundation, New York Foundation, Solidago Foundation, and Universalist Unitarian Veatch Program at Shelter Rock, initially formed the community engagement funders group. Through a strategic planning process in 2013, the group determined a purpose, core strategies, and focus for a new funder vehicle called the New York State Grantmakers for Community Engagement (Engage New York).

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Core Values: 

The following values represent the shared beliefs of Engage New York, and serve as a foundational pillar for the work forward.

  •  Equity: Communities most impacted and closest to social and economic problems should be engaged in process of problem solving.

  • Systems Change: A systemic analysis is critical for addressing the underlying and inter-connected factors of social inequity and economic insecurity.

  • Democratic Leadership and Participation: We value all communities as active and informed participants in the range of spheres that comprise civil society including schools, work, and neighborhoods, regional and statewide organizations.

Guiding principles

  • To promote transformative and intersectional analysis that encourages cross-issue and cross-constituency strategies and collaboration.

  • To be grounded in relationship building among funders and field leaders to promote cohesion and trusted relationships across the state.

  • To be centered in building the leadership of low-income communities, communities of color, and immigrant communities to meaningfully engage in shaping policy that impacts their lives.

  • To build relationships and infrastructure that link policy advocacy, civic engagement, and community organizing strategies in promoting equity, systemic change and addressing the underlying causes of poverty, structural inequity and disenfranchisement.


Sol Marie Alfonso Jones
Long Island Community Foundation, Melville, NY

Rini Banerjee
Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, New York, NY

Simeon Banister
Rochester Area Community Foundation, Rochester, NY

Randi Hewit
Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Horseheads, NY

Eileen Jamison
Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock, Manhasset, NY

Maria Mottola, Co-Chair
New York Foundation, New York, NY

Jerry Maldonado
Ford Foundation, New York, NY

Cara Matteliano, Co-Chair
Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

Faron McLurkin
Neighborhood Funders Group, New York, NY

John Monaghan
The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, Utica, NY

Chimene Okere
Ford Foundation, New York, NY

Altaf Rahamutalla
New York Foundation, New York, NY

Kara Williams
Allyn Family Foundation, Syracuse, NY

Kolu Zigbi

Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, New York, NY