It’s a simple mission: improve the quality of life in Staten Island. And that’s what The Staten Island Foundation has been all about since its founding in 1997 – since then contributing more than $53 million to help local institutions thrive. Funding priorities have been education, human services (including health, youth development and housing), arts and culture – and, after Hurricane Sandy, community recovery.
Increasingly, the Foundation is focused on building the capacity of non-profit grantees that reach the full range of faiths, cultures, ages, and racial and ethnic groups.
“We support a Staten Island that is a diverse community of tolerant, engaged neighbors, where all residents – especially the least advantaged – have a chance to maximize their potential and improve the quality of their lives,” says longtime executive director and Staten Island resident Betsy Dubovsky. In a time of tight budgets, however, these objectives are easier said than done.
“We have to make tough decisions about the best use of the funds we have. As a non-profit organization, we always need more money to give back to the community.”Betsy Dubovsky, Executive Director,
Staten Island Foundation
Rebuilding Staten Island
In response to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the Staten Island Foundation created the Staten Island Foundation Nonprofit Recovery Fund and matched the first $500,000 from other philanthropic sources.
Another Foundation priority is the Tackling Youth Substance Abuse (TYSA) Initiative, a cross-sector coalition with the ultimate goal of decreasing the use of alcohol and prescription drugs on the Island.
“Our aim is to build strong public awareness of the urgent need to tackle youth substance abuse, help align current efforts and fill necessary gaps, and create a strong strategic framework for improved collective impact,” says Betsy. “Making sure that everyone working on the issue is moving in the same direction is a model we can use again.” The coalition spans city and state agencies, treatment and prevention providers, youth development organizations, pharmacies, law enforcement, schools, hospitals and other medical professionals, philanthropy and more.
Why the urgency? “Because Staten Island has the highest proportion of youth binge drinkers and the highest proportion of youth using prescription pain relievers in the city,” says Betsy. “The effects of this scourge are devastating for our youth and their families. The need for action is urgent. The well-being and future of our community is at stake.”
We’re passionate about helping the community itself. The Staten Island Foundation Vision: A Staten Island that is a vibrant, diverse community of tolerant, civically engaged neighbors, where all residents – especially the least advantaged – have access to the resources necessary to maximize their potential and enhance the quality of life on the Island.
“IDB is a great partner for us. We trust them and value the choices they’re making on our behalf. IDB has a presence in our community, so if they succeed with us, they know they’re - giving back to the community.”Betsy Dubovsky, Executive Director,
Staten Island Foundation