Civil Society and Democracy

Special Program in Race & Urban Problems

In 1968, the Fund developed an umbrella organizing mechanism for addressing the complex problems of race in the inner city. Focusing on New York City, the Program foreshadowed the Fund’s later Equal Rights and Opportunities Program. Coordinated by RBF staff, it made modest grants to a range of organizations, each of which worked on a facet of the broader issue. Direct enrichment programs included the Architects’ Renewal Committee in Harlem, which encouraged young people to pursue careers in architecture and planning; ASPIRA’s remedial summer education and cultural enrichment for Puerto Rican youth; the Cultural Council Foundation’s workshops offered through New York’s Department of Cultural Affairs; Judson Memorial Church’s summer programs for disadvantaged youth in lower Manhattan; and the New York Housing Authority’s free outdoor performances and arts activities on the Lower East Side. The Program also funded seminars for business leaders on minority group problems at the New School for Social Research and the Young Life Campaign’s summer wilderness camp for urban youth. 

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Photo courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center.

The Fresh Air Fund's Camp Hidden Valley for inner city youth, 1969.

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