The B. Robert Williamson Jr. Foundation

in Action

A fundamental element of the B. Robert Williamson Jr. Foundation’s mission is to provide financial support in the form of charitable contributions to nonprofit organizations that primarily focus on the education and empowerment of young people. Our core principles include:

  • Dedication to under resourced, vulnerable populations
  • Investment in high-impact, preventive strategies
  • Provision of general operating support
  • A belief in open and transparent communication with grantees

When the Foundation started, we spent much of the first year collaborating with our three grantees to help define what they needed most to succeed. Following extensive interviews and site visits, they identified leadership training as a critical, yet often neglected, area. By investing in leadership training, the B. Robert Williamson Jr. Foundation could help these grantees to decrease staff turnover, increase engagement and enhance long-term outcomes for program participants of each organization.

The B. Robert Williamson Jr. Foundation concluded its three year, $300,000 nonprofit collaboration grant to support Inwood House, New Life of New York City, Inc. and PAVE Schools in using the adaptive leadership training and development process at the end of 2016.

What is adaptive leadership? To create intentional and tangible change in these organizations, we sought new, exciting approaches to leadership training. Our grantees are facing many new challenges as a result of a rapidly changing environment. In order to survive and thrive, our grantees must have the capability to learn and adapt to changes. Collectively, our grantees have to create a new way to engage their staff in the process of adaptation rather than relying on simple solutions such as implementing a new policy to solve a problem. This process of adaptation will require a change in values, behaviors, beliefs, roles, relationships and approaches to work.

We expanded our adaptive leadership grants to include support for courses taught to post graduate students by Dr. Linda Lausell Bryant, MSW, PhD at the NYU Silver School of Social Work (and the former Executive Director of Inwood House). We have also funded 6 cohorts of NYU Fellows each spring to integrate the adaptive leadership training into their social work field placements.

We also offer general operating grants to several organizations working with education and youth development

We invite you to meet some of our grantees

Inwood House and Children’s Village
Inwood House was a 185-year-old direct service nonprofit that  merged with The Children’s Village (CV) in 2016 and serves more than 1,200 young people throughout New York City each year.

Through prevention and support programs, the Inwood House programs at CV help youth overcome the cycles of poverty associated with teenage pregnancy. The holistic needs of young people are of the utmost concern, and programs focus on physical and mental health, education, employability, relationships, parenting skills and infant wellbeing. Inwood House’s prevention and teen family support programs are designed to help teenagers take charge of their lives, actively participate in their families, communities and society, and serve as positive examples to other young people.

New Life of New York City, Inc.
New Life of NYC has increased its capacity over the last four years to serve 950 students a year and is collaborating with a new partner to extend its mission to the Bronx for the first time, and to serve an additional 150-200 youth.

For more than 30 years, New Life has served urban youth through programs and relationships aimed at improving the lives and communities of the poor and at risk. Founded in Manhattan by Robert and Mary Nixon, New Life provides inner-city kids with educational opportunities, field trips, sports leagues, counseling, skills training and self-improvement programs. These offerings continue to fulfill New Life’s mission of challenging New York City youth to expand their world, explore new places and help them develop their potential and fulfill their dreams.

Pave Schools
In elementary school, PAVE is close to having eliminated the achievement gap in both ELA and Math! In 2015-2016, our PAVE 3rd and 4th graders were 60% proficient/advanced in ELA and math combined vs. 61% for white and Asian students.

Founded on the belief that a strong school can transform a community, PAVE focuses its efforts in neighborhoods where schools have historically struggled to prepare children to graduate from high school. PAVE students are two times more likely to be on a college trajectory than students attending the other neighborhood public school options. Using the school’s four core values of Perseverance, Achievement, Vibrance and Excellent Character, PAVE prepares students for a lifetime of success in competitive high schools and four-year colleges. PAVE’s team of highly qualified, certified educators and school leaders reaches economically-disadvantaged students, many living in public housing, and continues to lead their charge of: Building Citizens and Scholars Brick by Brick.  Today PAVE Schools educates over 750 Pre-Kindergarten through 8th Grade students in New York.

Additional Grantees

Boys and Girls Club of Wake County

Culture for One

Harlem Grown, Inc.

Horizons at Saint David’s

Hudson River Community Sailing (HRCS)

New York Botanical Garden

NYU School of Social Work for a Masters level class in Adaptive Leadership

UNC Chapel Hill Foundation for the B. Robert Williamson Scholarship