BRI News

Grants from Westchester Community Foundation and Galvan Foundation Jumpstart Community Organizing Efforts of the Welcome Home Westchester Campaign

(ARMONK, N.Y.) The Welcome Home Westchester Campaign, a multi-stakeholder advocacy effort consisting of business and nonprofit leaders, homebuilders, academics, think tanks, faith leaders, and community advocates has been awarded financial support from the Westchester Community Foundation and the Galvan Foundation to expand its efforts in creating a new conversation and narrative around housing. This support will help Welcome Home Westchester engage stakeholders and partners in seeking solutions to address the housing shortage facing the county. 

The funds from the grants will be used to hire a full-time Campaign Organizer to help develop and execute a strategy to increase the number of partner organizations, increase the number of volunteers, and increase the number of engaged communities working with the Welcome Home Westchester campaign to address the housing shortage, and correspondingly improve the effectiveness of state and local advocacy programs. The Welcome Home Westchester campaign anticipates that the money from the grants will take their community organizing efforts in the cities, towns, and villages of Westchester County to the next level. 

“We are grateful to receive support from Westchester Community Foundation and Galvan Foundation as we launch the next phase of our campaign to address the housing shortage that has pushed our communities into record-low housing inventory and sky-high housing prices,” said Tim Foley, CEO of The Building & Realty Institute. “We know from polling and from political science research that many of our neighbors are much friendlier to building housing in our communities than the loudest voices who tend to overwhelm local public hearings. Many of them know someone personally who struggled to find housing in their price range or struggled themselves! We believe our local debate is stronger when those voices are at the table, and our Campaign Organizer will be focused on making sure those voices are heard.” 

As stated by Michael N. Romita, President and CEO of the Westchester County Association, “This grant support from the Westchester Community Foundation and Galvin Foundation will be critical to advancing a positive, pro-housing agenda in Westchester. Our businesses, workers, and communities are paying the price for decades of entrenched views on housing. Nothing takes the place of good, old-fashioned campaign organizing.” 

“Nonprofit Westchester is a proud partner of The Welcome Home Westchester Campaign, and grateful that the Westchester Community Foundation and the Galvan Foundation recognize the value of this unique partnership between the business and nonprofit sectors dedicated to addressing the housing shortage in our county,” stated Jan Fisher, Executive Director of Nonprofit Westchester

“New York has a statewide need to address the housing crisis, and Westchester is part of the solution,” said Kate Slevin, Executive Vice President of the Regional Plan Association. “Our analysis shows that we need over 800,000 units of housing supply across the state in the next decade to address existing needs and future demand. We have learned that capacity is critical to proactively address the crisis. We are honored to work with the partner groups on Welcome Home Westchester to expand community support for new homes that help create thriving and diverse communities.” 

“Addressing the housing shortage in our community is urgent,” said Richard Nightingale, President and CEO of Westhab, Inc. “Providing the resources needed for the Welcome Home Westchester Campaign to hire a full-time staff lead will amplify our efforts as we move this necessary effort forward.” 

Though the housing shortage is a statewide concern, it is particularly acute in the Greater New York City region. Nearly all housing decisions are made at the local level, requiring a truly grassroots response to urge decision makers and elected leaders to take the full needs of their community into account, embrace in-context smart growth as a vehicle for dealing with escalating property taxes and infrastructure needs, and be part of the housing solution. Bringing a Campaign Organizer on board will establish the foundation for the campaign’s goals for the year and will also facilitate the implementation of the remaining strategy. 

This first grant was made possible by the Westchester Community Foundation, a division of The New York Community Trust. The Westchester Community Foundation is a division of The New York Community Trust, one of the largest community foundations in the country, with assets of approximately $3 billion. The Foundation envisions healthy, equitable, and thriving communities throughout New York City, Long Island, Westchester, and beyond. The source of this grant is the Elizabeth Meyer Lorentz Fund, which is specifically dedicated to multi-stakeholder campaigns using a community impact model to drive social change. 

“Increased access to fair and affordable housing is essential to our community’s well-being, because housing provides dignity for individuals and builds our local economies,” said Laura Rossi, Executive Director of Westchester Community Foundation. “The Foundation’s investment in the Welcome Home Westchester campaign is an investment in the commitment and collaborative efforts of our county’s leaders who are working together for positive change.”

The second grant was made possible by Galvan Initiatives. Galvan’s mission is to advance the Common Good by supporting strong advocates, vibrant communities, and cultural expressions that foster self-discovery and civic engagement. Through their Civic Advocacy program, Galvan supports organizations that advocate for social justice and the protection of fundamental rights locally, nationally, and worldwide. This year, Galvan announced $250,000 of grant funding to support organizations advocating for increased housing supply in New York State. 

“New York’s housing shortage is causing the homelessness crisis and the housing affordability crisis,” said Dan Kent, a member of the Advisory Board for Galvan Initiatives. “In the face of this great need for more homes, New York continues to build fewer homes than most other states. The solution is clear: state and local governments must remove the barriers to building more homes and treat the housing shortage as the grave emergency that it is.” 

The Welcome Home Westchester campaign was launched in 2021, prompted in no small part by the findings of the 2019 Westchester County Housing Needs Assessment. The partners of the campaign believe this is truly an “all hands-on deck” moment for everyone with an interest in housing and development in our county. Through their research reports, public testimony, grassroots organizing, social media presence, and in-person and virtual educational events, they have demonstrated that a multi-stakeholder campaign can shine a spotlight on the everyday barriers to providing the housing we need, and encourage communities to make different, effective choices to secure a Westchester that is welcoming to all who wish to live and work here – to our shared prosperity! 

The organizing partners of the restructured campaign include Regional Plan Association, the Building & Realty Institute, Westchester County Association, Nonprofit Westchester, Housing Action Council, Land Use Law Center, Elisabeth Haub School of Law, Pace University, Westhab, and Construction Industry Council of Westchester and Hudson Valley. 

To learn more about what the Welcome Home Westchester campaign has been doing to change the conversation on housing, visit


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