Photo by Adi Talway, courtesy of City Limits

October 17, 2023

City Limits Op-Ed: How Philanthropy Can Help Drive Public Policy Solutions

We invite you to read this op-ed by FJC CEO Sam Marks in City Limits, an investigative journalism nonprofit that identifies urban problems, examines their causes, explores solutions, and equips communities to take action.

Read the entire op-ed, which is excerpted here:

We often hear that solving New York City’s myriad challenges—from an affordable housing crisis to growing a more equitable economy that works for all New Yorkers—will require an all-hands-on-deck approach. Usually, leaders use the “all hands” phrase to signal the need for cooperation between the public, nonprofit, and private sectors.

It can be challenging at times to bring these parties together, but the charitable sector, when it’s working at its best, can act as a catalyst to invent new solutions. With its creativity, flexibility, and mission-driven focus, philanthropy can be a linchpin, capable of bringing together the public sector’s authority and agenda-setting power and the private sector’s financial resources and dynamism.

The piece continues with a description of the Boss Up program, administered by FJC through a Scholarship & Award Account, and funded by the Ron and Kerry Moelis Family Foundation.

The initiative was inspired by research from Center for an Urban Future, and partners included the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), NYC Department of Small Business Services, the BOC Network, and the Brooklyn Public Library.

The program supports entrepreneurs living in NYCHA housing expand their businesses, providing $20,000 grants and business development courses to the  winners of a “Shark Tank”-style competition.

As Marks wrote in the piece, “The Boss Up program is an example of philanthropy at its best and it should prompt all of us to think differently about how we work. If we can form more connections between imaginative donors, entrepreneurial nonprofits, and the public sector there is no limit to the new, creative solutions we can develop to improve people’s lives.”

This fall FJC is working with the Moelis Foundation and the NYC Department of Veterans’ Services to replicate the program with veteran entrepreneurs.