Our Program Areas

The Sills Family Foundation’s primary grants program intends to help children from low income families live up to their highest promise by concentrating on the following four areas:

Comprehensive Services to Families in Crisis

With a special focus on families impacted by incarceration

The Sills Family Foundation has a major focus on programs that support families impacted by the criminal justice system. We partner with programs that work to strengthen the parent/child bond during incarceration through facilitating transportation for prison visits, creating child-sensitive visiting areas in correctional facilities, providing parenting education classes to incarcerated parents, as well as supporting families through the re-entry period. This effort extends to addressing the inequities in the bail system, preventing juvenile detentions, and providing high quality legal services to low income populations.

In considering the rehabilitative opportunities so rarely provided to incarcerated individuals, the Foundation supports higher education and arts programming inside correctional facilities. The Foundation has begun to play a role in deepening policy makers and service providers’ capacity in this field. The Sills Family Foundation is proud to be a member of the NY Initiative for Children with Incarcerated Parents, as well as the New York Youth Justice Initiative.

See grantees working with families impacted by incarceration.

Support to Underserved Communities

Through improved access to early education and reduction of neighborhood violence

Low income neighborhoods and schools experience a disproportionate amount of school suspensions, violence, arrests and damage to the community through involvement in the criminal justice system. We support programs that seek to intervene in this destructive cycle and help young people stay on the path to success.

Early education can make a world of difference in how a child goes on to succeed in school, work and life. This is especially true for children challenged by poverty, homelessness and other forms of trauma. Children who start kindergarten behind their peers may continue to face problems throughout school. Getting kids off to a good start is critical to their future.

We are committed to high-quality education experiences that help children live up to their highest potential. We want to improve chances for all children to succeed in life through access to education, early intervention and family supports such as mental health counseling and job skills classes for their parents.

Programs Supporting Immigrants, Refugees and Asylees

We believe all human beings have the right to pursue their dreams of building a better home for themselves and their families, and that newcomers to the US should have access to necessary legal, educational, and material needs.

See grantees working with underserved communities and families.

Environmental Justice

With a focus on contaminants that harm the developing embryo, fetus and infant

Toxic chemicals are released into our environment every day. Children consume pollutants in their food, air and water, their toys, candy, even baby bottles. These hazards can cause serious health problems, ranging from asthma and cancer to brain impairment and behavioral problems. They take a greater toll on the most vulnerable: pregnant women, fetuses and children.

We want to protect families from lead, mercury and other toxic compounds. The foundation supports organizations that embrace the ideals of environmental justice and that protect against poor communities carrying a greater share of the toxic burden. We invest in programs that work to reduce pollutants in our air, water, food and homes so that the minds and bodies of our infants and children stay healthy and strong.

See grantees working in Environmental Justice.

Arts and Culture

Arts education and other creative opportunities to support underserved populations

Arts and cultural activity can provide people of all ages important tools of self expression, can open paths to new forms of communication and can strengthen self esteem. We believe that high quality arts programming in schools, community centers and senior centers can be a powerful tool of social justice. The Foundation seeks to support culturally sensitive collaborations between teaching artists, educators and community leaders to bring the positive power of the arts to under-resourced schools and communities.

See grantees working in Arts and Culture.

Second Generation Fund

The Foundation’s annual giving includes grants initiated by Second Generation members of the board. This committee makes grants that are typically in the range of $10,000 – $15,000 in the following areas:

  • Climate Change Mitigation
  • Youth impacted by community violence with a focus on restorative justice and commercially sexually exploited youth
  • Immigration and Refugees

See grantees from the Second Generation Fund grantees.