A.G. Schneiderman Announces $42 Million Brooke Astor Fund For NYC Education

Primary Focus Will Be On Improving Reading Skills Of Disadvantaged Students In NYC

Fund Will Also Benefit Educational Programs At NYC Institutions Named In Mrs. Astor’s Will, Including The New York Public Library And Metropolitan Museum Of Art

Fund Created As A Result Of Settlement Obtained By A.G. Schneiderman


NEW YORK - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the appointment of New York Community Trust to administer The Brooke Astor Fund for New York City Education. The Fund, which was established under a settlement of the Astor estate obtained by Attorney General Schneiderman earlier this year, will support educational programs that benefit New York City students, with a particular focus on improving reading skills of students in the early grades who are from disadvantaged backgrounds. Initially estimated at $30 million, the Fund is now likely to be approximately $42 million, due in part to the successful auction of Mrs. Astor's personal property held at Sotheby's in September.

“This new fund will advance Mrs. Astor’s passionate commitment to educating and improving the lives of New Yorkers, especially those most in need,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. "The Community Trust knows firsthand the challenges that face students from New York City's disadvantaged communities, as well as their parents and teachers. This landmark fund will make a real and lasting difference for future generations of New Yorkers."

The New York Community Trust, founded in 1924, is a nonprofit community foundation serving the greater New York metropolitan area, and is a leading grant-maker in the field of education.

Lorie A. Slutsky, president of The New York Community Trust,said, “The New York Community Trust is honored to be able to carry out Brooke Astor’s charitable legacy. In a city of truly great philanthropists, her personal connection to the New Yorkers she helped was singular. We’re grateful that we can combine our experience in the field of education together with Mrs. Astor’s vision to help our youngest students get a great start.”

Under the settlement of Mrs. Astor’s estate, most of the Fund, about $35 million, will be used to improving reading skills of students in the early grades who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Grants from this Fund will be made to nonprofit organizations over a five-year period. Grant proposals will be solicited through a request for proposals (RFP) to be issued by the New York Community Trust. Grants will be awarded by the New York Community Trust in consultation with an outside advisory panel.

The remaining portion of the Fund, approximately $7 million, will be distributed over a one-year period to educational and cultural institutions named in Mrs. Astor’s will to support educational programs that serve New York City students. Among the institutions that may qualify to receive grants from this portion of the fund are the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Morgan Library and Museum, Carnegie Hall, Rockefeller University and the Brooklyn Museum.

David R. Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Service Society of New York,said, “So many New York City students from low-income families struggle to keep up in school, due largely to a lack of basic reading skills. By supporting programs that will focus on this disadvantaged student population, the Brooke Astor Fund will help level the playing field and will give these students a better chance for success in school and, later, in the workplace.”

Grants from the Fund are expected to begin in 2013.

The Attorney General's settlement creating the Fund allowed over $100 million to flow to charities. It also cut by more than a half the inheritance that would have been paid to Brooke Astor's son, Anthony Marshall, who was convicted in 2009 of stealing from his mother.

Matters concerning the settlement of the Brooke Astor estate on behalf of Attorney General Schneiderman, including the creation of the Fund, have been handled by Charities Bureau Chief Jason Lilien with assistance from Assistant Attorney General Carl L. Distefano.