N.Y. AG announces $42 million fund for education from Astor estate settlement

By Bryan Cohen | Dec 21, 2012

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Thursday the appointment of New York Community Trust to administer a $42 million education fund from the settlement of the Astor estate.

The $42 million fund will be used to support educational programs that benefit students in New York City. The fund, which will focus in particular on improving the reading skills of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, was established under a settlement of the estate of Brooke Astor obtained by Schneiderman earlier this year.

"This new fund will advance Mrs. Astor's passionate commitment to educating and improving the lives of New Yorkers, especially those most in need," Schneiderman said. "The Community Trust knows firsthand the challenges that face students from New York City's disadvantaged communities, as well as their parents and teachers. This landmark fund will make a real and lasting difference for future generations of New Yorkers."

The fund was initially estimated at $30 million, but it is now valued at approximately $42 million, due in part to a successful Sotheby's auction of Brooke Astor's personal property in September.

Approximately $35 million of the fund will be used to improve reading skills of students in early grades from disadvantaged backgrounds. Grants from the fund will be made to nonprofit organizations over a five-year period and proposals will be solicited through a request for proposals issued by the New York Community Trust. The grants from the fund will likely begin in 2013.

The remaining $7 million will be distributed to cultural and educational institutions named in Brooke Astor's will, including Carnegie Hall, the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Museum.

The settlement allowed more than $100 million to flow to charities from Brooke Astor's will. It reduced by more than half the inheritance that would have gone to Anthony Marshall, Brooke Astor's son. Marshall was convicted in 2009 of stealing from his mother.

The New York Community Trust is a nonprofit community foundation and a major grant-maker in the field of education.

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