Neighborhood Support Chinatown Tour
UA3's Don Hong joins Trinity Church staff during a Chinatown tour in February 2023. Pictured (from the left) are Lorelei Vargas, chief community impact officer, the Rev. Michael Bird, vicar, Don Hong, and Meredith Jenkins, chief investment officer.

How To Apply For Neighborhood Support’s Downtown Fund

Trinity Church launched Neighborhood Support in 2021 with the goal of serving those who live, work, learn, and govern in lower Manhattan. The Downtown Fund is just one way — in addition to in-kind donations and grants — Trinity strives to strengthen child, family, and community well-being in the neighborhoods south of 14th Street. 

Through targeted investments ranging from $500 to $10,000, the Downtown Fund  supports nonprofits working in the areas of education, health, social capital, and economic assets. 

Lorelei Vargas, Trinity’s chief community impact officer, said her team seeks to fund initiatives that address emotional wellbeing, support educational enrichment, alleviate family’s financial burdens, and encourage joy. 

“Our north star is an emotionally well community where people feel a sense of belonging, where they feel safe, and where everyone has equal access to needed resources,” Vargas said. 

In the past, the Downtown Fund has supported everything from science enrichment programming to community-organized street festivals. “Think about something you’ve always felt your community needed, but it’s just hard to find the funds to get it done,” Vargas said. 

The Dorill Initiative is a grassroots arts education nonprofit dedicated to helping young people in lower Manhattan tap into their creative power and potential. With help from Trinity’s Downtown Fund, the Dorill Initiative organized an event last summer that allowed their young people to meet and learn from Misty Copeland, the first African American female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. 

Another recipient, The Doula Program to Accompany and Comfort, trains volunteers to visit individuals facing the end of their lives without the support of family or friends. The Downtown Fund allowed the organization to extend its reach in lower Manhattan.

UA3 supports the community in several ways, including through an extensive pantry that serves Lower East Side residents. Trinity supported the development of an access network that allows pantry clients to identify and share additional needs and be connected with services that can support those needs. 

In addition to the monetary support, recipients said they have benefited greatly from the network Trinity offers.

“That’s probably the greatest gift, the ability to collaborate with a lot of other Lower East Side organizations and foundations,” said Don Hong, UA3’s president and CEO. 

The Neighborhood Support team accepts applications for the Downtown Fund on a rolling basis. To qualify, the applying organization must be a 501(c)(3) based in lower Manhattan, below 14th Street. The nonprofit must be able to guarantee that the funds will go directly to individuals and communities in the targeted area. The Downtown Fund will not sponsor operations, overhead, facility management, or private individuals.

Ready to apply? Submit your project here. 


Downtown Fund FAQs:

What kinds of projects do you fund?
Trinity’s Neighborhood Support team is open to receiving applications for a wide array of initiatives that uplift the wellbeing of individuals who live and work in lower Manhattan. In particular, the team is looking for projects that promote emotional wellbeing, support educational enrichment, alleviate family’s financial burdens, and encourage joy.

What will you not fund? 
•    Private individuals or groups. If you have a great idea for a community initiative, we encourage you to partner with a 501(c)(3) organization based in lower Manhattan. 
•    Organizations based outside of our target geographic area of lower Manhattan, below 14th Street. 
•    Organizations that cannot guarantee that the funds will go directly towards individuals and families in lower Manhattan.
•    Capital projects, operations, overhead, and facilities improvement or repairs. 

Is The Downtown Fund the same thing as Trinity’s Neighborhood Support Grants?
No. The Downtown Fund invests between $500 to $10,000 in local, community-based initiatives. Applications are open to any lower Manhattan nonprofit.

Neighborhood Support’s grantmaking program is by invitation only. Learn more here.

When are applications due? 
Applications for the Downtown Fund are reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis.

What if I have more questions?
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to


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