The WellMet Gazette 
                                      Volume Four, December 2018

Welcome to the fourth WellMet Gazette Newsletter!

Since our inception in 1999, WellMet Philanthropy has made some 170 individual grants, which is now approaching a total of almost $3,000,000! And all along the way, it has been our profound pleasure. So! We are throwing ourselves a 20th anniversary BIRTHDAY BASH and we want as many of our former grantees, friends and past WM members there as possible. There will be some cool surprises as well as a happy celebration for us all.

May 3, 2019, 6:00pm-8:30pm at The Children’s Harlem Zone. We really hope our entire WellMet family will be there to honor our joined pasts and celebrate our ambitious futures.

Deborah McManus,

($25,000 WellMet grant in 2018)

Custom Collaborative provides low-income and immigrant women the opportunity to learn and work in the apparel industry as seamstresses, pattern makers, designers and fashion entrepreneurs. It offers a Training Institute which is a 14 week program in the art, technique and business of clothing. Some highlights from a very busy 2018, when CC:
  1. joined Nest Artisan Guild, a global nonprofit to advance handwork’s in 70 countries.
  2. had pop-up shops at some of NYC’s hottest markets.
  3. introduced a monthly First Fabric Friday Drop-Off
  4. teamed up to hold a History of Modern Fashion Workshop focusing on African textiles and styles.
  5. partnered with Brooklyn Fashion and Design accelerator and the NYC Dept of Education to help lead discussions about careers in fashion.
  6. CC joined Nest Artisan Guild, a global nonprofit to advance handwork’s in 70 countries. During New York Fashion Week, CC joined with NYC’s Parks Dept and ImageNation for the Black Panther-inspired Welcome to Wakanda Fashion Show where an audience of 1,000+ viewed our creations.
AND, karma! WellMet member Gale Epstein is one of the co-founders of Hanky Panky (if you don’t know about this flourishing business, it means you’re a man so just ask any woman near you to explain) and that her warehouse had fabrics and trimmings and fribaloes that they no longer needed. Here’s CC’s dynamo founder and E.D. Ngozi Okaro at Hanky Panky’s warehouse with her trolley of new sewing treasures. 

($20,000 WellMet grant in 2017)
Building Beats provides DJ and music programs that teach entrepreneurial, leadership and life skills to underserved youth. Working in partnership with community organizations, Building Beats offers workshops in low-income neighborhoods across NYC that teach digital and technological skills in music-making. The program equips students with skills in problem solving that are transferable to other arts, academic and career endeavors. BB continues to empower youth through music production and DJ workshops that teach entrepreneurial, leadership and life skills. This school year we work with over 350 youth every week.

BB was featured on Fox 5's Good Morning with Antwan Lewis (above)
($25,000 WellMet grant in 2018)
Emma’s Torch -the name is a nod to crusader Emma Lazarus as well as to another grand lady, the Statue of Liberty- is a nonprofit social enterprise that originally operated its own restaurant in Red Hook. It has since moved to a 30-seat spot in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens serving New American cuisine (i.e., many cuisines) prepared and presented by recent American refugees. Emma serves but also teaches and trains, offering an eight week, paid apprenticeship program which provides refugees with culinary training, ESL classes, interview preparation and job placement. Students are referred by caseworkers from refugee resettlement agencies and all have legal work authorization. Emma has recently been featured in the New York Post, The New Yorker, Vogue, and the New York Times .
($20,000 WellMet grant in 2013)
Flames started 43 years ago for mostly low-income boys, ages 9-19. So far, some 19,000 have traveled weekly to Brooklyn to take part in rigorous basketball training and tournaments and to benefit from mentoring, which is the true heart of the program. Founder Gerald Papa says, "We're a cross section of New York. We got yeshiva kids, madrasa kids. We have Jesus, Moses and Muhammad, all playing on the same court." 
Congratulations to Flames which was featured in the New York Times last September.
($20,000 WellMet grant in 2013)
This ten year old nonprofit is devoted to supporting, through group mentoring, some of the city’s most vulnerable, desperate for a way out of poverty, by primarily working with the youngsters to motivate them to aim high and seek a wider world of opportunities. In January, a group met with Dr. Oz at “The Dr. Oz Show”; in April over 100 students from NYC/CT public schools visited the National Museum of African American History & Culture/ Smithsonian Institution  in DC and the National Portraits Gallery and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial; in May, Misty Copeland (Principal Ballerina/American Ballet Theatre) met with some DtE kids and surprised them with tickets to see “Firebird” at the MET, even visiting with them backstage after the performance. Determined To Educate, Inc. serves about 1000 students a year (a total of some 7,000 so far). 
($18,000 WellMet grant in 2010)
Let's Get Ready just completed a year of supporting 15,370 high school and college students striving to prepare for and succeed in college. This is the largest number of students to date! Highlights: two of these students were awarded  The New York Times scholarship  (recipients receive a partial, four-year college scholarship), and that more than half of their "Success Coaches" (providing support to first and second year college students) were themselves LGR alumni. 
($10,000 WellMet grant in 2017)
Made in Brownsville, a non-profit youth creative agency tackling youth disconnection and workforce diversity in STEAM industries, celebrated the grand opening of its new space, The Labs - the first public innovation hub in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Alumni, team members and supporters gathered for the ribbon cutting which included a poster and video exhibition of work produced by the recently graduated Graphic Design Intensive, interactive art, games and performances by alumni. The event was the first of several Creative Friday events happening every third Friday at The Labs to cultivate the creative community in the neighborhood. This culminates a year of growth for the organization whose Founder, Quardean Lewis-Allen, is a 2018 recipient of The Claneil Foundation's $240K Emerging Leaders Fund. See more of Made in Brownsville's work in this recent video spotlight by Buzzfeed (featured above) .
($20,000 WellMet grant in 2014)
STEM From Dance gives underrepresented minority girls the awareness and opportunity to prepare for a STEM education that excites them—through the creative and confidence-building aspects of dance. This past summer Founder & CEO, Yamilee Toussaint was invited by Inspiring Australia as the keynote speaker of Australia's 2018 National Science Week. Yamilee was able to work with some of their young women and educators to explore dance's connection to STEM education. Read our feature in Particle for more details.
($25,000 WellMet grant in 2017)
  • NYOT has been featured in a number of press articles: TechCrunchRolling Out,  Black EnterpriseForbesForbes
  • NYOT’s staff grew from 4 full-time and 1 part-time staff to 7 full-time and 3 part-time staff members. 
  • NYOT was recognized on the NY Nonprofit Media' 40 Under 40 List of Rising Stars and received the City and State Digital NY Award in Spring 2018. 
  • NYOT's leadership was accepted into the NY Community Trust Fellows program and Columbia Business School's SLP program 
  • NYOT's Executive Director was invited to give a TEDx Talk about creating pathways for young people in technology and received the 2018 Soy Poderosa Award.
  • NYOT' leadership has been participating in speaking engagements throughout the country which include placements at SXSW, Nonprofit Tech Con and Stronger Together Symposium. 
  • NYOT received the NYCDOE Division of Instructional and Information Technology Appreciation Award.   
($25,000 WellMet grant in 2018)
Since April 2018 the Alex House Project was awarded as a new grantee $75,000 from the Pinkerton Foundation. November 1, 2018, we celebrated our 5th year in service.  Our 5th Anniversary Celebration was an enormous success, especially because this was the first event of its kind hosted by The Alex House Project. Guests left informed and engaged! With the support of our community, we were able to raise enough money to fund one semester of parenting classes for young mothers and fathers! Just in October, the E.D had an opportunity to be interviewed on Bronx TV Perspective.  
($10,000 WellMet grant in 2014)
Founded in 2009 to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and act as a respite for their caregivers, Arts & Minds offers educational, hands-on programs in a handful of major NYC museums. Programs help focus attention, encourage self-expression and counteract isolation. In April, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund pledged $10 million to fund arts programs focused on mental health issues in New York City. This is a new open-ended commitment that seeks to improve the lives of those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, fight stigma around mental illnesses and help people overcome trauma. Thanks to this grant, Arts & Minds will add resources, enlarge its staff or expand its programming into other museums. 
($25,000 WellMet grant in 2017)
(Dance, Motivation, Fitness)
Current sites are located in East Harlem, the Lower East Side and the South Bronx, among others. DMF Youth’s goal is to serve as many schools and shelters in need across all boroughs as possible. Its E.D. wrote: “In 2018, we continued to receive funding from several small foundations and we believe it to be directly correlated to the initial investment from WellMet. This year, we implanted programming at an additional Title 1 school in East Harlem, PS 38 and also received a three-year, $23,000 grant from BNP Paribus Foundation. We were one of only two organizations from the USA t o receive this grant.   WellMet played such a huge role in propelling DMF youth into a more sustainable organization and just got word that we received funding from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs for FY 2019. It’s definitely a challenge but the kids make it so worth it!”
($20,000 WellMet grant in 2013)
City Health Works trains health coaches with the aim of reducing obesity and diabetes initially in East Harlem via twelve-week peer-to-peer programs. In October, CHW signed a two-year contract with the Alliance for Better Health, an Albany-area Performing Provider System to deploy community health workers to chronically ill patients’ homes. The nonprofit, founded in 2013, has previously partnered with Mount Sinai Health System, NYC Health + Hospitals and several federally qualified health centers. City Health Works has now received more than $8 million in philanthropic funding from such organizations as the Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Robin Hood, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Mount Sinai. 
($20,000 WellMet grant in 2014)
While cruising through Union Square a few months ago, one WM member spotted Drive Change’s food truck (i.e., moveable kitchen) and had the chance to say hello to founder Jordan Lexton who got this “vehicle for social justice” up and running in 2013. Jordan, a former Riker’s Island teacher, is now employing returning citizens and training them for jobs in the culinary arts industry. As the crowds show, food is also a tool for sparking conversation and building community support for social justice reform. He emphasized that WellMet’s early grant helped them onto their road to success. In 2017, Drive Change was awarded $3.1 million from the Manhattan DA’s CJII fund and this year they will partner with 5-7 affiliated food businesses and break ground on a Commissary for Social Justice.  
($20,000 WellMet grant in 2007)
Rocking the Boat, with its perennial focus on empowering all young people from the South Bronx, is proud to have established two initiatives focused on young women in 2018. A new educational scholarship specifically for female sailors was launched thanks to more than 100 contributions given in the name of a young woman who tragically died well before her time. The first recipient has enrolled this fall at the University of Maine to study marine animal science. With a generous grant from Recreation Equipment Inc., Rocking the Boat successfully hosted its first year-long rowing and environmental education program exclusively for girls in its Hunts Point neighborhood. The 6th, 7th, and 8th grade girls, recruited from nearby St. Ignatius School, will participate as an after-school elective. REI recently renewed its support and the program continued this fall. 
($20,000 WellMet grant in 2003)
The Actors Theatre Workshop, which just celebrated its 28th year as a nonprofit theatre providing creative training to adults and children, recently hosted a successful exhibit of artwork created by the children in our after school program (Builders of the New World) who are living in temporary housing. The theme of the exhibit was  "Living Up to the Ideal of our Democracy".   And they’re having a party! All who wish to witness and be a part of ATW’s mission are welcome to join 70 homeless children on December 11 & 12th at their holiday party and classes. Check here  for holiday activities and volunteer to help make the holidays brighter for NYC homeless children by signing up for the parties and serving food .  
($5,000 WellMet grant in 2010)
Founded in Harlem in 1990, Batoto Yetu engages inner city youth in African dancing, music and folklore, transforming once-shy kids into outgoing leaders. They give performances in December and in February (Black History month). Some 40 younger kids from Harlem are trained and, later, as graduates come back to serve as mentors and teachers. Batoto also urges their dancers to go on to college.
In this December 15, at a 3pm holiday concert, their dancers, musicians, and guest artists will present a dynamic blend of ancient and contemporary art forms as they share the life of Queen Nzinga, a 17th century queen of the Mbundu people in Angola who fought against the Portuguese and their expanding slave trade. Batoto Yetu dancers will be joined by special guest artists from Angola and Cuba.
( $25,000 WellMet grant in 2018)
UpBeat NYC uses the pursuit of musical excellence and ensemble performance to bring about positive changes in the lives of South Bronx children, ages 5-21. Programs are free, instruments are mostly donated and admission is on a first come first served basis. 
In June, UpBeat NYC gave a rousing concert with performances by both children and youth ensembles. In November, their Jazz Ensemble celebrated Puerto Rican heritage and to everybody, make sure not to miss their UpBeat Winter Concert Monday, December 17, 7:30pm at Lincoln Hospital Auditorium (234 East 149th Street) featuring The UpBeat NYC Advanced String Ensemble, Wind & Percussion Ensemble and the Latin-Jazz Ensemble which will perform works by Ellington, Mingus, Bernstein, Handel, Vivaldi and more!
($10,000 WellMet grant in 2001)
Bro/Sis has served mainly black and Hispanic kids, ages 6-22, in Harlem since 1995 by promoting stronger family units through counseling and tutoring. It continues its original mission but has added counseling camps, job training and college prep. In 2007, they purchased a lot adjacent to their brownstone headquarters.
At their May Gala, featuring Soledad O’Brien among others, Bro/Sis announced their next major step - breaking ground on their new 20,000 square foot state of the art building - a model for the field, a home for the education and enlightenment of their children, a space to further train educators, and a center for our organizing and social justice policy work. 
($25,000 WellMet grant in 2018)
KCTL, founded in 2010, serves children 5-15 years old living in the public housing developments in Brooklyn. With a large group of volunteers, KCTL offers free, year-round programming consisting of tennis instruction and off-court educational and community building activities. KCTL has renovated, or built from scratch, tennis courts and is committed to renovating the remaining blacktop spaces on which it teaches.

In addition to an August profile in the New York Times , 2019 will see KCTL adding Ingersoll Houses to their programming, with the use of their community center allowing them to provide year-round programming on-site within the Housing Development. Access to the community center, and the classroom space within, will also allow KCTL to further develop their educational curriculum and continue to offer their students the chance to expand their knowledge as they grow up. 
($17,500 WellMet grant in 2006)
Opening Act was awarded a significant grant from The New York Community Trust enabling expansion of their innovative theater programming within New York City's Alternative School District, District 79 (D79). With the start of the 2018-2019 school year, Opening Act grew to serve six D79 sites with four additional sites planned for the following academic year. D79 engages young adults who have been disconnected from their education due to incarceration, homelessness, teen pregnancy, and other challenges. Operating within D79's Pathways to Graduation sites (P2G), Opening Act has developed a trauma-responsive curriculum based on improvisational theater to best serve students within the D79 community. Leveraging playful, team-focused improv and writing exercises, Opening Act seeks to enhance positive social-emotional outcomes for vulnerable young people navigating an often unjust world. 
($5,000 WellMet grant in 2018 & $10,000 in 2019)
Prison Writes assists participants in successful rehabilitation and reentry through workshops that provide literacy development and writing skills as well as practice in college-essay and resume writing. In November, eight youth participated in a workshop whose topic was community violence. Prison Writes’ E.D. wrote: “I was impressed by the writing and also by the attention that people in the room paid to one another. There was complete focus as everyone read and total support and enthusiasm for the writing.” 
Here’s a sample by Gennesis Williams: 

Block to Block
I’m not going to lie to you,
We had good times on the block
Summer breeze and chillin’ on the stoop
Laughing at each other, but make sure no one
Wasn’t booked.
Watching people pass blazin’ in sweat.
But everything was fine, never open a peep.
No bullets flyin’, no one being sweeped.
Loving the peace from pigs.
Everyone knows everyone
From all ages, from all streets
Block to block, we still chilled
The love was there, the love was sweet.
Never knew one day, this day will end. 
($20,000 WellMet grant in 2016)
RHA is a tutoring and mentoring project that organizes professionals to volunteer plus providing gifted, under-served children and youth with free classes and tutoring in visual art, music and homework help. "During Summer 2018, RHAP and AE Superlab students and a group of dedicated volunteer architects gathered to explore the different processes that architects use to imagine, develop, describe, and build our cities and built environments. Work began by imagining an ideal future home, with different functions and activities. Tools and techniques used to generate these ideas included: functional/spatial programming, hand sketching, diagramming, orthographic and axonometric drawing, 3d modeling, 3d printing, and virtual reality (VR) visualization." 
($20,000 WellMet grant in 2015)
Scholarship Plus finds, encourages and supports outstanding, economically deprived NYC high school graduates to realize college completion and graduate debt-free. The recipients of the 2018 Scholarship Plus award bring the total number of their Scholars to 64. As in years prior, they come from a variety of backgrounds, but all share strong academic records and a philosophy of giving back to their communities while overcoming a strikingly similar range of stark challenges. 
SCRIPT ED (now known as Code Nation)
($20,000 WellMet grant in 2014)
This program uses volunteers from the tech world to teach young people how to code. It also helps older students get internships with tech companies. Founded in 2013, it has already expanded to six schools. ScriptEd has recently hosted hackathons in both their NYC and SF sites. The New York version brought more than 200 students to the Intrepid - details here.
($15,000 WellMet grant in 2015)
The Animation Project targets at-risk youth ages 12-24, using digital art technology as a therapeutic medium and as a workforce development tool. In October, TAP began work at Horizon Detention Center, providing services to the 16 year olds who had just been transitioned out of Rikers as a result of New York’s Raise the Age law. TAP’s program is in partnership with Friends of Island Academy (another WM grantee). Our first cohort is hard at work on an animated story about their dress for life after the detention center.
($20,000 WellMet grant in 2017)
Tomorrow’s Leaders helps over-age middle school students cope with and overcome significant social, emotional and academic challenges to become positive and valuable leaders in their communities. In June, TLNYC celebrated its sixth year of service to the underserved communities of Brooklyn and the Bronx while taking time to appreciate and honor various Leaders in and around New York City, including WellMet’s Mage McManus .
($20,000 WellMet grant in 2005)
Founded in 1990, UWS helped families whose children have special needs to learn their rights within the public school system. We have decided to focus on helping secure the future of our youth by creating Youth on the Move which will be geared to making sure every youth in the academy has a chance despite any challenges faced. Please visit  for more information.
($20,000 WellMet grant in 2016)
The Knowledge Houses serves "at-risk" young adults, 16-24 years of age, with tech-entrepreneurship training, job readiness and career support. In the face of increased poverty, economic inequality and unemployment, TKH is dedicated to placing young adults at the center of leading innovation in their neighborhoods to spur community-based economic development. It invests in underutilized young adults so that they may develop professionally and launch careers or ventures to uplift their communities recognizing an opportunity to prepare young people for the million tech jobs that will be available nationwide by 2020. The Knowledge House estimates that half of these jobs will not require a Bachelor’s degree and are therefore, more attainable by disconnected youth.
Nominate an Organization
WellMet is currently accepting nominations for our 2018-19 grant cycle. In order to be eligible, organizations must serve the NYC population; have either 501(c)(3) status or a fiscal sponsor; have been in operation for at least one year; and have a budget between $25k-$750k. Please email your suggestions to: 
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WellMet’s mission is to support community-based social innovation by funding emerging New York City nonprofits, while actively engaging women in philanthropy.