Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

Research Foundation of the City University of New York (CUNY) – Lehman College

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

July 2013

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

February 1, 2008 – August 31, 2011

Community-based organizations (CBOs) serve an important function in the field of public health, working directly with local populations who otherwise may not have direct access to much-needed services.

These connections to vulnerable populations give workers of these organizations a valuable perspective on the true needs of New York City’s neighborhoods. Yet many CBOs face a shortage of financial and human resources, which influences their ability to address effectively and comprehensively community health-related needs.

Realizing the need to build the capacity of these CBOs, the City University of New York (CUNY) Institute for Health Equity applied for and received a grant from the New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) to employ the resources of CUNY public health graduate programs to provide CBOs with capacity-building resources.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Completed organizational needs assessments within four months of program initiation for all of the 14 CBOs selected to participate;
  • Developed and initiated Capacity Action Plans (CAPs) by December 2009 for all of the 14 participating CBOs;
  • Initiated activities to complete CAPs by 100% of the 14 participating CBOs. Though none of the CBOs were able to fully implement every element of their CAPs by the end of the grant period all of the CBOs completed at least one component of their CAPs; half of the CBOs implemented and completed at least half of their CAPs; and of 70 distinct capacity goals identified across all 14 CBOs, 31 (or 44%) were achieved.
  • Found that all but one CBO reported benefiting from capacity-building support in the area of information technology; and twelve of the CBOs took part in some aspect of technical assistance;
  • Supported 36% of the CBOs through funding available for board development and strategic planning, with all indicating they were “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the outcomes of this support; and
  • Continued the original partnerships through the collaboration of activities, including joint grant applications and on-going technical assistance with graduate public health students.