Special Initiatives

When we identify critical gaps in service or unmet needs, we launch special initiatives to create innovative solutions that augment our core grant-making portfolio.

Fund for Early Learning (FUEL)

In 2016, we launched a $50 million five-year effort – called the Fund for Early Learning (FUEL) – to transform New York City into an “early learning metropolis.” Our vision: to ensure that all parents in low-income communities can provide their young children with the best possible start to their lives.

Relief Fund

There are moments that change our lives, our city, and the world. New York has never been the same since 9/11 or Hurricane Sandy. At times like these, our city is called upon to rise to the occasion. As a New York City institution, we were humbled to help our city—and neighbors—rebuild.

Mobility Learning and Action Bets (LABs)

Mobility Learning and Action Bets—or Mobility LABs—is a pioneering $25 million, four-year initiative to spur the development of new solutions to sustainably lift families out of poverty, and to promote dynamic leaders who will aim to change the national conversation around social and economic mobility.

Technology is transforming the way we shop, communicate, and work, but it has not yet achieved its full potential across the education system. The Robin Hood Learning + Tech Fund is working closely with visionary school leaders, educators and organizations to help solve this problem for all students.

Blue Ridge Labs is a Robin Hood-funded technology incubator that supports entrepreneurs, designers, and developers that build technology products aimed at helping low-income New Yorkers.

Grant Readiness And Insights Training (GRIT)

GRIT aims to help operational nonprofits with promising models communicate their outcomes and costs effectively to funders. The goal of the GRIT program is to help build the capacity of New York City’s nonprofit sector.

Past Initiatives


2020 Census Initiative

In response to the expected undercount of New Yorkers in the 2020 Census, especially of historically undercounted and under-resourced communities, Robin Hood spearheaded the 2020 Census Initiative, a three-pronged strategy to (1) allocate targeted grants to trusted community groups; (2) provide our partners with the resources needed to get out the count, even in the wake of COVID-19; and (3) share learnings and coordinate our strategy with the field.

American Dream Fund

Sixty percent of New Yorkers are immigrants or children of immigrants, and for the first time in our city’s history there is serious concern that the next generation will not be better off than the parents who sacrificed so much for them. Through our American Dream Fund, Robin Hood helped tens of thousands of low-income immigrants remain in their homes, attend college, get health insurance, and start building a career.

College Success Prize

Launched in 2014, the College Success Prize seeks to identify a scalable, technology-based tool that doubles the graduation rate of students attending community college who initially enroll in remediation courses.

Early Childhood Research Initiative

Early childhood presents us with a unique problem. Far too many low-income children will enter kindergarten months, if not years, behind financially stable peers. The need for highly effective early childhood programs is critical to help change their trajectories.

Start By Asking

Over 800,000 low-income New Yorkers don’t receive the critical food, health, and income benefits they’re eligible to receive. We’re trying to close the gap.

Street Cart Vendors of NYC

In 2020, Robin Hood partnered with Morgan Stanley and the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center to help vendors and their families pay for rent, utilities, food, and other critical necessities.

Veterans Initiative

A few underlying principles have guided our investment in programs that serve veterans; lessons that we believe can be replicated in communities across the country to benefit thousands of veterans and their families.

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