West Harlem Development Corporation (WHDC) announced on Tuesday that its first grant cycle of 2014 will begin in April. This cycle marks the organization’s bold new direction to invest for measurable impact. In line with its strategic vision, residents of Community Board 9 are WHDC’s customers not the nonprofit organizations. This deliberate emphasis is designed to ensure that needs are met and lives are improved while giving WHDC quantifiable data to use in leveraging additional funds for the community’s human capacity development.
“This new direction promises to make WHDC a model organization,” said Kofi A. Boateng, WHDC Executive Director. “By investing for impact, we will be able to make measurable and significant contributions to the lives of the people of West Harlem.”
WHDC is building on the successes of its 2013 grant cycles and addressing the challenges that arose. The first grant cycle in 2013 impacted 300 more people than projected for a total of 12,910. Grant recipients leveraged their awards into $4.4 million in additional funding. The 2013 Cycle 1 grant total was $2 million.
One of the successes of note was a group of CD9 youth who earned honorable mention in the White House’s first student film awards with their oral history project on West Harlem. Another, a literacy program, bucked the trend and had 75 percent of its third grade students pass ELA testing under the Common Core compared to a 20 percent passing rate for minorities in the community.
Other highlights include:
- 243 jobs created so far
- 536 children taking part in educational programming
- 155 residents at risk of losing their home educated on their rights or saved from eviction
- 10,298 residents either educated in the arts or able to see a high-quality performance.
In 2014, WHDC’s funding priorities will shift dollars towards areas of priorities, and to good performers that will help the organization to solve the community’s problems. The priority areas will include education, workforce development, housing and health but while respecting the eight areas of need—which also include arts and culture, historical preservation, transportation and the environment—outlined in Community Benefits Agreement.
WHDC will use these priority areas as guides in its investing for impact while requiring measurable data that show who in Community District 9 is impacted and how. This move allows the organization to apply for big money from the government and foundations that require such measurable proof of impact in the community.
“When WHDC applies for funds, it must demonstrate measurable results. We shall demand no less from our grantees,” said Donald C. Notice, WHDC Board Chair. “This is the only way to tell a collective story of impact.”
Important dates of the next grant cycle include:
- Tuesday, April 2: Pre-grant application released
- Friday, April 18: Pre-grant application deadline
- Mid May: Grant application invitations to selected organizations
- Monday, June 9: Grant application deadline
- Late July: Grant awards announced