Bernard Dufresne

Executive Director, Office of Institutional Equity/Title IX Compliance at Pace University

We spoke with Bernard in Fall 2020 about what inspired him to give to the Brooklyn COVID-19 Response Fund.

Why did you give to the Brooklyn COVID-19 Response Fund?

In early April 2020, with the pandemic bearing down on New York State, my friends and I created ‘NY Tough’ t-shirts and began selling them with 100% of profits going to support NYC-based organizations on their COVID-19 initiatives. 

We decided to support the Brooklyn COVID-19 Response Fund because we felt it was important, especially at this moment in this country's history and the disproportionate way in which COVID-19 was affecting communities of color, to support an organization that operates through a racial justice lens and works for a fairer Brooklyn for all.

How did you feel at the time you decided to give to the Fund?

Hopeful knowing the incredible impact that the Foundation's grants have on the lives of New Yorkers, including all of our incredible essential workers who kept NYC afloat during its darkest hours and to whom we all owe an enormous debt of gratitude. 

What are your concerns for Brooklyn right now?

There are many!

  1. Ensuring Brooklynites continue to practice healthy habits to keep each other safe during the pandemic;
  2. Ensuring that our essential workers (e.g.: health care employees, educators, grocery store employees) play an important role in the City's recovery and that they are fairly rightfully compensated for their sacrifices;
  3. Expanding affordable housing generally and providing rent relief to the thousands of small business owners and other Brooklynites who got sick and/or lost their income;
  4. Ensuring everyone has access to the ballot box in November;
  5. Generally ensuring that a borough as diverse as Brooklyn commits to equity and fairness in all of the above-categories and that our elected officials understand their role in ensuring this happens. 


 Image courtesy of Bernard Dufresne.