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Spotlight on 25 Years of Grantmaking: Notes from SNF Program Officer, Alex Simon-Fox

What’s a site visit that stands out in your memory?

The site visits that stand out the most are the ones where I encounter worlds I wouldn’t see otherwise.

I visited a prison where grantee Hour Children facilitates visitation between women incarcerated there and their children. It wasn’t easy or cheap to get to; there were wait times, intense security, and you couldn’t bring anything with you. Unsurprisingly, when visitation requires a guardian with the time, means, and will to make this trip, it often can’t happen—and when kids do arrive it’s scary. Hour Children combats this by providing transport for kids and carving out safe, inviting spaces where they can spend time with their mothers.

It’s simultaneously sobering to consider these barriers that wouldn’t occur to most of us, and heartening to see the profound impacts that these interventions can have. I’ll never forget the gratitude and enthusiasm from mothers who were able to remain connected (or reconnect!) to their families through the program and be active and present parents even while incarcerated.

What’s your favorite part of working at SNF?

I am in perpetual gratitude and admiration for the number of truly wonderful people and organizations I’ve been able to work with as a Program Officer here. It’s a privilege to have so many incredible partners in the field and on the frontlines, and for me there’s a particular joy in seeing projects come to fruition and in action.

When we met the Street Vendor Project (SVP), they had run a pilot employing street vendors to produce free meals for communities in need, but SNF support enabled their vision to scale the program. A few months later, I got to join an SVP employee in meal transport and distribution. Witnessing firsthand how much the project meant to vendors who needed the work, to community organizations who needed the meals, and to our awesome grantee—despite it being 8 a.m. on a Saturday—was a highlight of my year.

Alex Simon-Fox, Program Officer, New York
Brooklynite and outer-borough enthusiast, five years at SNF