Insights to Impact

The Latest from Brooklyn Community Foundation


Meet the 2018-19 Spark Prize Committee!

We are excited to introduce our 2018-2019 Spark Prize Committee!

Each year, the Spark Prize Committee leads a comprehensive review process to select 20 finalists and ultimately five Brooklyn-based organizations to receive the $100,000 Spark Prize.

This year’s Committee is made up of people from all walks of life across Brooklyn, including but not limited to filmmakers, writers, attorneys and olympic medalists!

Made up of 37 members all hailing from Brooklyn, the Committee includes filmmaker and Chairman of the Nation Institute Jeff Kusama-Hinte, Olympic Silver Medalist Keeth Smart, and financial advisor Lola C. West. The Committee is also made up of local leaders like Jocelynne Rainey and Hank Gutman from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Pfizer's Vice President of Corporate Affairs Karen Boykin-Towns,  NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Assistant Commissioner Dr. Torian Easterlingand writer and activist Darnell Moore, along with many others! 

Check out the full list of members here

To date, the Spark Prize has awarded more than $1.2 million to Brooklyn nonprofits and continues to support organizations that are committed to  racial and social justice. 

Each spring, we open the Spark Prize application to organizations across Brooklyn. Applications are read and reviewed throughout the summer by the Spark Prize Committee members, who then meet in the Fall to narrow the pool of applicants. Twenty finalists are determined based on four primary criteria: a history of service to Brooklyn’s communities, a commitment to racial and social justice, a vision for the future of their work, and strong, articulated values that align with Brooklyn Community Foundation’s defining values of courage, respect, honesty, collaboration and creativity. The Committee then interviews each finalist to choose the five winners. The 2018-19 Spark Prize recipients will be announced in January 2019stay tuned!

[Pictured: Staff from 2017-18 Spark Prize winner Red Hook Initiative at the Spark Prize Celebration in February]

Jenny Walski

Vice President of Donor Engagement (She/Her/Hers)
The Spark Prize Committee not only allows us to collaborate with Brooklyn civic, business, and neighborhood leaders, it also exposes the Committee members to a range of organizations that are doing amazing work throughout Brooklyn.