UPPER WEST SIDE — The Upper West Side will receive $685,000 as part of the city's 2015 budget — a bump of nearly $145,000 from last year — with funds earmarked for organizations serving everyone from seniors to at-risk youth.
The money, allocated by City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, will primarily serve local nonprofits and institutions, with the Jewish Association Serving the Aging and Goddard Riverside Community Center getting large infusions.
Rosenthal's District 6 got the additional funding this year under a new, more equitable system of distributing City Council money, which gave all districts at least $685,000, with more going to low-income areas, officials said.
To decide how to spend the money, Rosenthal's office met with more than 400 local nonprofits this spring, but could only fund a little more than 100 of them, she said. The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan, the Wellness in the Schools public school nutrition program, the Broadway Mall Maintenance Fund, City Harvest, Friends of Hudson River Park and Jazz at Lincoln Center were among those chosen.
Her office didn't use last year's recipients as a guide, in order to have a "fresh start," she said, with many nonprofits receiving between $3,500 and $5,000.
However, the Jewish Association Serving the Aging and Goddard Riverside got larger chunks of the budget, receiving $17,500 and $61,500 respectively.
Goddard Riverside's SRO Law Project, which fights against the unfair removal of rent-stabilized tenants, will receive $8,500 of that funding.
"The largest issue is tenant harassment," the councilwoman said. "We’re losing so much affordable housing."
The New York City Housing Authority was also a large recipient of Rosenthal's discretionary funds, with money set aside for repairs and programs at local housing developments.
Several programs providing better access to science education operated by the American Museum of Natural History received cash and were among Rosenthal's favorites, she said.
A grant of $33,333 from Rosenthal will fund a new Family Science Program, providing free access to exhibits for close to 1,000 children from NYCHA developments across the city, as well as their parents or guardians.
Rosenthal said she put less than she would have liked toward capital improvements at local schools.
There were other projects that lost out as well, she said.
"There was more stuff I wanted to do in Riverside Park, but I had to cut back," she said. "There was more stuff I wanted to do at Lincoln Center."
In all, Rosenthal received $144,536 more for her district than former Councilwoman Gale Brewer got last year, thanks to revised rules for distributing Council funds that were enacted in March. The rules were designed to bring more fairness to the decision of how much money each Council district receives.
"If it wasn’t done this way," Rosenthal said, "it would have been a very political process."