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Mertz Gilmore Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-05-11

At A Glance

Mertz Gilmore Foundation

(formerly Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation)

218 E 18th St

New York City, NY United States 10003-3605

Telephone: (212) 475-1137


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $124,493,822

Total giving: $7,887,048






Incorporated in 1959 in NY - In 1959, Joyce Mertz and her parents, LuEsther and Harold, established a family foundation called the Mertz Foundation. Joyce married Robert Wallace Gilmore in 1964, and the couple began managing the foundation's operations. Together with their colleague and friend, Bayard Rustin, they became strong advocates for peace and civil rights, which was reflected in their grantmaking. They also were committed passionately to the quality of life in New York City where they lived and made grants to performing arts institutions and to groups working to protect the city's environment. Their interest in the environment led them to support programs reaching beyond the city to include state, national and global issues as well. Initially, family members provided the foundation with funds on a yearly basis. However, when Joyce Mertz Gilmore died in 1974, her will provided for an endowment to the foundation. Robert Gilmore soon changed the foundation's name to the Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation in her honor and memory. Robert Gilmore died in 1988, but not before he set the foundation on a new course by expanding the Board beyond the family. His heirs donated a generous portion of his estate to the foundation. In 2002, the Board of Directors changed the name of the foundation to the Mertz Gilmore Foundation to honor the memory of Robert Gilmore.

Purpose and Activities

Current concerns include human rights, the environment, and New York City cultural, social, and civic concerns.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Climate Change Solutions

The foundation’s Climate Change Solutions program builds on longstanding Mertz Gilmore investments to understand climate change, promote more efficient energy usage, and develop renewable energy sources in the U.S. The program will consider grant requests in 3 categories: 1) Northeast regional efforts; 2) New York City; and 3) New constituencies and approaches for a national climate movement. For more information contact Rachel Young, tel.: 212-475-5581 or e-mail: .

NYC Communities

As New York City struggles with an economic downturn, the impacts are especially difficult for low-income New Yorkers. The downturn is felt in the city’s underserved communities in numerous ways, including: disappearing jobs, rising health care costs as a share of income, home foreclosures, less affordable housing, and new vulnerability to abusive practices in the low-income workplace. Faced with daunting challenges, community groups throughout the city use a variety of methods, including grassroots organizing and advocacy, to address human needs and strengthen communities. Often such groups take on multiple issues, recognizing the connections between community problems, and work in partnership with other non-profit organizations and city agencies. To support these efforts and to promote an equitable and sustainable city of vibrant communities, the foundation supports work in low-income neighborhoods that emerges from, and actively engages, local efforts while looking for opportunities to support collaborative campaigns. The program's grants fall into three categories: 1) community-based organizations (unfortunately, no new inquiries are being considered in this category); 2) Technical assistance providers; and 3) Collaborative campaigns. For more information contact Rachel Young, tel.: 212-475-5581 or e-mail:

NYC Dance

The foundation will continue to fund contemporary dance presenters located throughout the New York City’s five boroughs. Its objective remains to support and invigorate the presenting field to serve New York City’s artists and audiences. The program’s grants fall into two categories: 1) Presenters: The foundation provides operating support for presenters of small to mid-sized dance companies in New York City. A presenter is an organization, or department or program of a larger organization, which facilitates exchanges between New York City’s artists and audiences through creative performance opportunities. Grants are available only to groups that present contemporary dance (exclusively or as a part of multi-disciplinary programs); and 2) Advocacy/Support Services: On a limited basis and for opportunities that meet strategic concerns of the foundation, organizations may submit proposals for technical assistance projects. The foundation will consider discrete capacity building and support service projects. Prior to submitting a letter of inquiry, grantseekers are encouraged to contact Leah Krauss to discuss the nature of the proposed project, tel.: 646-723-2225, e-mail:

Program-Related Investment

The foundation has made a PRI, in the form of an interest-free loan. Historically, the foundation has made PRIs in the areas of economic development and the environment. PRI support was sometimes provided through a financial intermediary, and has also provided for interim financing, facility acquisition, debt restructuring, and capitalized an earned income venture.

Fields of Interest

  • Arts and culture
  • Community and economic development
  • Community organizing
  • Dance
  • Energy efficiency
  • Modern dance
  • Performing arts
  • Renewable energy
Population Groups
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Ethnic and racial groups
  • Low-income and poor people

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $124,493,822 (market value)

Gifts received: $3,760,000

Expenditures: $10,516,202

Total giving: $7,887,048

Qualifying distributions: $9,455,005