City Council Discretionary Funding

Please be advised that all not-for-profit community-based organizations that wish to apply for discretionary funding for FY2025 must submit a Council Application. More information about the FY2025 application can be found on the City Council’s website and the submission deadline will be Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

Apply for FY2025 City Council Discretionary Funding

Each year, Members of the Council allocate discretionary funds to not-for-profit organizations in order to meet local needs and fill gaps in City agency services. Thus, discretionary spending is a critical tool in meeting needs in our communities. To learn more about the discretionary award process and applying for funding, please read the City Council Discretionary Funding Policies and Procedures.

For more in-depth look, please review the New York City Council's presentation on the FY25 Discretionary Expense and Capital process that was given to Community-based Organizations.

A PDF copy of the FY25 application is also available to assist organizations in reviewing questions in advance of submitting online. 

If you are a Veteran Service Organization (VSO) looking for technical assistance regarding the City Council's Discretionary Funding application process, contact us at See below for general information related to discretionary funding policies.

What is Discretionary Funding?

Discretionary funding is a duly appropriated sum of money in the City’s expense budget allocated to an eligible not-for-profit organization by the Council or a Member of the Council under section 1-02(e) of the rules of the Procurement Policy Board (PPB).

PPB Rule 1-02(e) allows certain elected officials – including Council Members and Borough Presidents (but not the Mayor or City agencies) – to designate specific not-for-profit organizations to receive funding as an alternative to funding programs through competitive procurement.

Unlike competitively awarded Agency contracts, awarded discretionary funds contracts are for a single fiscal year.

Types of Discretionary Funding

There are several categories of discretionary funding used by the City Council, each serving different purposes. The following categories have developed through Council practice over the years, and are subject to change in the future.

Member Local Initiatives: Each Member of the Council receives an amount each year to meet local needs in the Member’s district, known as “local initiatives”. Borough Delegations also allocate funding. Various factors including local needs, the Member’s request, and other considerations determine the amount. Uses of local initiative funding are not limited to any particular purpose or agency, except as otherwise restricted by Council policy, PPB rules, and applicable law.

City Council Local Initiatives: Organizations may apply for funding directly to the Speaker, or Members may request that the Speaker fund an organization whose scope of services exceeds their individual ability to fund or which serves a larger geographical area. This is often referred to as the “Speaker’s list.”

Member Aging Discretionary Funds: Each Member receives an annual amount to fund senior services in his or her district through the Department for the Aging. Member Youth Discretionary Funds: Each Member receives an annual amount for the provision of services for youth or community development through the Department of Youth and Community Development.

Anti-Poverty Initiative: Council Members receive additional discretionary funding based on the number of people in their districts below the Federal Poverty Line; compiled by the American Community Survey (ACS). ACS is a continuous survey that individuals respond to throughout the year. Poverty statistics presented in ACS reports and tables adhere to the standards specified by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Based on these figures, Council Members will receive additional funds ranging from $25,000 (Lowest Poverty Figures) to $100,000 (Highest Poverty Figures) in $25,000 increments.

Citywide Initiatives: The Council may also initiate programs for addressing community needs that it feels are lacking by existing agency programming. To extend the reach of agency programs to underserved communities or populations. In most cases, the Council will provide funding to specific not-for-profit providers. Initiatives are usually citywide in scope, although they may focus on high-need communities or populations. The method of allocating funding varies by initiative and is at the discretion of the Council.

What Types of Organizations May Receive Discretionary Funds?

Discretionary funding is allocated only to not-for-profit; community-based social services providers. Eligibility criteria include an organization being incorporated as a not-for-profit current registration with the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau (unless exempt) and have a valid Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN).

There are numerous types and categories of not-for-profits as defined by the IRS. The most common recipients of discretionary funding are 501(c)(3) organizations, but there are numerous other types of 501(c) not-for-profits. For example, War Veterans’ Organizations are a 501(c)(19), Civic Leagues and Social Welfare Organizations are a 501(c)(4), and Horticulture Associations are a 501(c)(5).

Subcontractors and Consultants

An organization that receives discretionary funding must itself deliver the services of the funded program. Subcontractors or consultants may not be the primary service providers for programs funded by discretionary awards. In limited circumstances, the Council may permit an organization to utilize the services of subcontractors or consultants as an ancillary/supplemental part of the delivery of services. In addition, subcontractors and consultants must be approved by the contracting agency prior to any work commencing. Payments made to subcontractors and consultants prior to receiving the contracting agency’s approval may be impermissible by the agency and in that case shall not be reimbursed. Subcontractors and consultants are not required to submit a Council application; however, they are subject to conflict of interest disclosure requirements (see section 4, Conflicts of Interest)

Applying for Discretionary Funding

This section provides an overview of the steps involved in applying for discretionary funds. Since Fiscal 2013 (calendar year 2012), all applications must be submitted on-line via the Council’s website. The application process opens annually in early January and closes in late February. (Fiscal years begin on July 1 and end on June 30).

Who Must Apply?

All organizations wishing to receive any one of the six types of discretionary funding directly from the Council, described above in Section 1, must submit a Council Discretionary Funding Application. The application solicits information about an organization’s experience, qualifications, and integrity, and the project or service for which the organization is requesting support. The Council’s website will provide information on the schedule for submitting applications.