Bay Ridge Community Development Center: Serving South Brooklyn
As Brooklyn’s community foundation, we’re proud to be a resource for nonprofits throughout the borough and to extend our support beyond our grantee partners. This month, we’re delighted to spotlight the work of the Bay Ridge Community Development Center (BRCDC), an organization working with South Brooklyn’s underserved communities.
The Bay Ridge Community Development Center’s mission is to provide high-quality activities and services to contribute to the physical, emotional, and social well-being of community members of all ages, especially in Bay Ridge’s growing Arab immigrant population. Founded in 2016 by Executive Director Bibi Esahack, BRCDC aims to strengthen the fabric of its community by being a safe haven for all who seek one.
Some of BRCDC’s programs include a food pantry, casework, language access classes, and a wide range of youth programming that spans homework help, summer camp, and a youth retreat. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization’s food pantry was a crucial source of food security in the neighborhood–and today, the Center provides groceries to ~500 families each week. BRCDC recently launched a mobile community center to expand the organization’s reach, allowing them to provide services across New York City.
Back in 2020, BRCDC purchased a former church site on 99th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway with plans to develop it into a brand new community center. With construction slated to begin in 2024, the building will feature a wide array of exciting facilities including a rooftop basketball court, an event space, an indoor cafe, classrooms, workspaces, a museum/gallery space, and much more.
The Bay Ridge Community Development Center is currently fundraising for the completion of this project, which has an estimated cost of $9 million. They have made great strides and have already raised nearly a third of their goal–with an outpouring of support coming from their local community.
Our President & CEO Dr. Jocelynne Rainey recently spoke with Bibi about this project and the Center’s work, and Bibi shared how the community has already demonstrated an incredible level of generosity. In one extraordinary example, a local grandmother gifted BRCDC a piggy bank that contained a shocking $15,000. Thinking it was a mistake, Bibi called her to try and return the money, but as Bibi shared with us, the woman insisted, asserting that “I know exactly how much money is in that piggy bank. I have been saving it and I want to give it to this cause.” Bibi reflected on this, sharing “that alone just blew us away. How could we not want to serve a community that wants to support us?"
To learn more about The Bay Ridge Community Development Center’s work, visit their website and watch our conversation below.