Robert Sterling Clark Foundation



Please submit a recent grant application that represents your organization well, and reflects our funding interests. Feel free to share one that you’ve used to apply to another funder.  

As part of the submission we ask for your IRS determination letter and  your most recent audited financial statements.

Our approach reflects our desire for your organization to keep the focus on your work, serving constituents and the community—instead of spending an inordinate amount of time creating grant applications. We consider it our responsibility to learn more about your organization and the possible alignment of our interests. This approach is rooted in a philosophy of trust-based philanthropy.



Please note that the guidelines below apply to our grants for organizations. To learn more about Sterling Fellows NYC, please visit our Network page.

The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation is interested in funding leadership development programs that:

  • Are focused on social change leaders in NYC

  • Include leaders from multiple organizations

  • Program should be cohort based

  • Meet regularly over a  sustained period (at least six months)

  • Have been operating for at least a year

After an initial one-year grant we make multi-year grants, which provide general operating support in addition to a professional development award.

Please note that we do not presently fund leadership development programs that focus on youth leaders, skills development, or social entrepreneurship. To learn more about our approach to leadership development, and the types of organizations to which we make grants, please visit our Grants page.

We have recently updated our grantmaking strategy. As a result, our focus areas have changed. Please note that we are no longer accepting applications that focus on promoting international arts engagement, protecting reproductive rights, and improving the performance of public institutions in New York.


Sterling Network

We are looking for a diverse and dynamic group of applicants who are:

  • Change makers who understand that no matter how effective their own organizations are, addressing and resolving New York City’s challenging issues—including those around economic mobility—require creative collaboration across the private, public, and social sectors;

  • Boundary crossers who thrive on unlikely alliances and have the ability to get things done;

  • Hungry learners who want to dig deep to understand their city and learn new approaches for long-term systems change; and

  • Decision-makers with a history of organizational leadership and experience in New York City

At the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, we believe that poverty and inequity are at the heart of the challenges we face not only locally, but also a nation and a global society.

Those of us committed to addressing poverty-related issues, and to increasing economic mobility for low- and middle-income New Yorkers, come to the work from many angles.

Sterling Network NYC seeks to bring together leaders who have different work styles, perspectives, lived experiences, and personal and professional backgrounds, who will collaborate to develop new approaches and solutions.