Six Stories from the New York Foundation Archives

“Six Stories from The New York Foundation Archives,” a 30-minute documentary screened at The Anthology Film Archives, highlights the stories of six New York City-based community organizers.

Late in 2003, the New York Foundation interviewed some of the hundreds of organizations it had supported since the early 80’s, when its grants program refocused on the city’s neighborhoods. The Foundation is one of the country’s oldest philanthropies, focusing on support of community organizing and empowerment in New York. As the leadership of the Foundation changed hands, it sought to capture some of its rich history in a series of video interviews. More than 55 hours of interviews now comprise a rich video archive.

In every borough, in dozens of neighborhoods, on streets, subways, and buses, Foundation staff talked with people hard at work in the city’s immigrant and low-income communities. Long-time activists, the founders and heads of community based organizations, share their memories, their unforgettable stories, their successes, and the lessons they have learned. The work is impelled by conviction, love, and a belief in the power of individuals to make change.

Filmmaker Jennifer Callahan has taken those interviews and concentrated on six of the stories they tell. The documentary takes you close to the minds, faces, and spirits of six experienced New York City community activists. We hear from organizers working with youth, with immigrants, with subway riders. We meet people fighting violence in their neighborhood. We meet a woman who captured the discarded bounty of America’s food producing corporations for food pantries around the city. We meet new homeowners in central Brooklyn who fought for decades to see their homes built. Together, they offer affirmation of the challenging work done every day in the city’ s neighborhoods, the remarkable successes of that work, and inspiration for anyone interested in community organizing.

“Six Stories” is available on DVD. If you would like to receive a copy, please send a check in the amount of $10 to the New York Foundation, 10 East 34 Street, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10016, and note in the memo section: 6 Stories DVD. Also, please note that we can only provide one copy to each organization.