Non-profit

Northlight Foundation

Website:

www.northlightfoundation.org/

Location:

New York, NY

Tax ID:

45-0612382

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)-PF

Budget (2020):

Revenue: $7,384,266
Expenses: $8,099,601
Assets: $102,407,246

Type:

Private Grantmaking Group

Formation:

2011

President:

Daniel Tishman

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NorthLight Foundation (previously the Dan and Sheryl Tishman Family Foundation) is a left-of-center environmentalist grantmaking fund. It was founded in 2011 by real estate heir Daniel Tishman and his wife Sheryl with an endowment from the John L. Tishman Fund, which was originally established to support “education and scholarship.” 1

NorthLight Foundation attempts to align its fund’s investment portfolio with its mission statement and professed corporate values. Its investment policy statement says that it avoids investing in tobacco, fracking, oil sands and shale petroleum, adult entertainment, child labor, or civilian firearm companies. 2

In 2019, Northlight donated $50,000 to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, earmarked under the category of “education and scholarship.” It also provided a grant to the Hip Hop Caucus Education Fund. 3 In 2021, it gave $11 million to the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS). 4

Views

Climate Funders Justice Pledge

NorthLight Foundation is a signatory of the Climate Funders Justice Pledge, along with several other prominent grantmakers including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Schmidt Family Foundation, the Bullitt Foundation, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation. The pledge consists of two tiers: one portion dedicated to funds allocation, and another to organizational transparency. The transparency-only tier is a promise to send climate grant data to nonprofit platform Candid (formerly Guidestar), and to Donors of Color Network, showing that the signatories are funding organizations with boards and executive staff made up of at least 50 percent people of color. The full pledge includes the transparency promise, as well as a pledge that at least 30 percent of the organization’s climate-directed grants will go to organizations led by Black, Indigenous, or peoples of color (BIPOC). As of 2022, NorthLight had reached 49 percent. 5

Land Acknowledgment/Racial Injustice Statement

As of 2023, NorthLight Foundation’s website contained a disclaimer acknowledging that the land on which its headquarters sits was previously occupied by Native Americans; this was accompanied by a declaration of intent to “move land and resources to Native communities, both in the New York area and beyond” in an effort at “decolonization.” The statement also references its alliances with Native American environmentalist movements such as Arctic Refuge Defense Campaign and Native Movement. NorthLight Foundation has also published a Racial Injustice Statement, stating its intention to participate in “dismantling” institutional racism, and pointing to its alliance with the Movement for Black Lives and its signing of the Climate Funders Justice Pledge as evidence of its commitment. 6 7

Grantees

According to its 2022 Annual Report, NorthLight Foundation gave substantial donations between $50,000 and $130,000 to groups that covered a broad spectrum of left-wing issue areas including fundraising group Progressive Multiplier Fund, youth group Power Shift Network, political activism group UnKoch My Campus, and low-income environmentalist group WE ACT For Environmental Justice. It also provided a grant of $75,000 to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in 2022. 8

New Leaders/Just Transition

Just Transition is an initiative intended to shift economic bases from reliance on fossil fuels and minerals to “alternative, long-term, regenerative, and just economies.” This initiative receives the largest share of funding from Northlight, with a total of over $2.4 million in 2022. Beneficiaries included environmentalist groups Climate Jobs New York, Climate Justice Alliance(CJA), and policy advocacy groups Action Center on Race & the Economy (ACRE) and Alliance for a Greater New York (ALIGN). 9

Its New Leaders program is designed to fund rising stars in the environmental movement.  Environmentalist website Grist received a grant of $250,000 under this program in 2022. Other grantees included environmental activism groups Our Kid’s Climate and Action for Climate Emergency, as well as political action groups Elected Officials to Protect America and For the Many. 10

Alaska

Much of NorthLight’s environmental advocacy is focused on the Arctic, with an emphasis on the National Wildlife Refuge and the Bristol Bay region. It aims to halt oil and natural gas extraction, funds mining impact research, and provides funding for Indigenous activism, including a grant to facilitate local participation in the Alaska Conference on Mining. In total, NorthLight provided $1.43 million towards Alaska-based initiatives in 2022. 11

People

Daniel and Sheryl Tishman are the founders of NorthLight Foundation. In addition to being board chair and president of Northlight, Daniel Tishman is the vice chairman of Tishman Hotel & Realty LP, the former CEO and executive director of Tishman Construction Corporation, and former board chair of its parent company AECOM. He is also a former board chairman of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Sheryl Tishman is a board member of Trust for Public Lands, and a former trustee of the National Audubon Society Expedition Institute and the Open Space Institute. 12

References

  1. “John L Tishman Fund.” NorthLight Foundation. Accessed May 29, 2023. https://www.northlightfoundation.org/education
  2. “Investment Policy Statement.” NorthLight Foundation. Accessed May 29, 2023. https://www.northlightfoundation.org/investment-policy-statement
  3. “2019 Annual Report.” NorthLight Foundation.” Accessed May 29, 2023. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5c6c42e051f4d486668758ba/t/5edf8c0251c3b957d8075cda/1591708685685/NorthLight+Foundation+2019+Report.pdf.
  4. Candid. “University of Michigan Receives $11 Million for Environmental Justice.” October 13, 2021.  Accessed May 29, 2023. https://philanthropynewsdigest.org/news/university-of-michigan-receives-11-million-for-environmental-justice
  5. Levey, Richard H. “New Funders Back BIPOC-Focused Climate Change With Millions.” The NonProfit Times. March 31, 2021. Accessed May 29, 2023. https://thenonprofittimes.com/npt_articles/new-funders-back-bipoc-focused-climate-change-with-millions/
  6. “Land Acknowledgement.” NorthLight Foundation. Accessed May 29, 2023. https://www.northlightfoundation.org/land-acknowledgement
  7. “NorthLight and Racial Justice.” NorthLight Foundation. Accessed May 29, 2023. https://www.northlightfoundation.org/northlight-racial-justice
  8. “2022 Annual Report.” NorthLight Foundation. Accessed May 29, 2023. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1IWdTkmsob_i73rKGOsl1E6Wvh88LDIIf/view
  9. “2022 Annual Report.” NorthLight Foundation. Accessed May 29, 2023. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1IWdTkmsob_i73rKGOsl1E6Wvh88LDIIf/view
  10. “2022 Annual Report.” NorthLight Foundation. Accessed May 29, 2023. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1IWdTkmsob_i73rKGOsl1E6Wvh88LDIIf/view
  11. “2022 Annual Report.” NorthLight Foundation. Accessed May 29, 2023. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1IWdTkmsob_i73rKGOsl1E6Wvh88LDIIf/view
  12. “About.” Northlight Foundation. Accessed May 29, 2023. https://www.northlightfoundation.org/about-northlight
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: June 1, 2011

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2020 Dec Form PF $7,384,266 $8,099,601 $102,407,246 $63,448 $0 $0 $0 $0
    2019 Dec Form PF $44,972,691 $8,262,803 $108,556,816 $367 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form PF $66,089 $4,903 $3,290,934 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $4,795,001 $322,218 $3,323,074 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $4,690,321 $2,877,304 $326,146 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $3,134,145 $2,113,254 $195,139 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $1,405,372 $1,154,283 $251,089 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Northlight Foundation


    New York, NY