Urban Affairs

The Urban Affairs program is focused on projects that enhance New York City’s vitality as a leading and livable urban capital.

We partner with civic and cultural institutions, local government, and independent nonprofits that design innovative, feasible initiatives to address the common needs of diverse New Yorkers.

The Foundation continually seeks opportunities to strengthen the city’s pluralistic communities and civic spaces, re-envisioning public libraries, affordable housing, and local public affairs journalism to cultivate engaged, creative urban citizens.

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Featured Project: The Advertising Boost Initiative at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism’s Center for Community Media

There are more than 270 community media outlets in New York City who publish in over 35 languages and overwhelmingly serve immigrants, ethnic and religious groups, and communities of color. Though these outlets are often their communities’ most trusted sources of information, they frequently lack necessary funding. So, in 2012, the Revson Foundation funded the Center for Community Media (CCM) (then called the Center for Community and Ethnic Media) at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY to research and develop solutions to strengthen the financial underpinnings of New York’s community media outlets.

CCM published a white paper analyzing the size of the City of New York’s advertising budget and its support of community publications relative to mainstream publications. The study spurred advocacy efforts by CCM and members of the community press. As a result of this advocacy, Mayor de Blasio signed Executive Order 47 (EO 47) in 2019, which mandated all city agencies to devote half of their annual print and digital publication advertising to community and ethnic media.

This investment has proved so successful, other cities across the nation are trying to replicate EO47 with similar legislation. In fact:

  • In just the first year EO47 was implemented, New York City’s print and digital ad budget invested into community media nearly $10 million, reaching more than 220 outlets serving New Yorkers in all five boroughs and in 37 languages.
  • In 2020, fifty outlets in CCM’s community media directory received advertising from the city for the first time ever, and more than 185 outlets saw dramatic increases in their ad revenues from city agencies, including 19 who received more than $100,000.
  • In 2021, community media outlets received a record $15.6 million, an increase of more than $5 million from the previous year.

The Revson Foundation has continued its support of CCM to monitor and support the implementation of Executive Order 47 by building relationships with city agencies’ marketing directors and the advertising agencies that work with the city, training community media publishers and advertising directors on all aspects of the city’s advertising process, and creating a guidebook for publishers to receive ads. CCM is also working on expanding this work across New York State and beyond.

Read more about this national model here: