Foundation Invests Over $2.5 Million in Brooklyn's Nonprofit Sector

Brooklyn Community Foundation, the first borough-wide philanthropy focused solely on Brooklyn, today announced its first round of grants to support the critical work of more than 170 nonprofits in Brooklyn. The grant awards, which total over $2.5 million, will fund initiatives throughout the borough’s 70 neighborhoods in five fields of interest: Arts for All, Caring Neighbors, Community Development, Education and Youth Achievement, and Green Communities. Representing the Foundation’s first full grantmaking cycle since its formal launch in October 2009, the grants support both small local neighborhood projects and ambitious undertakings efforts by larger, long-established Brooklyn organizations. (Learn more here)

“Brooklyn Community Foundation’s first year’s grants reflect our unwavering commitment to strengthening Brooklyn’s neighborhoods and helping its people.” said Marilyn Gelber, President of the Brooklyn Community Foundation. “We seek out Brooklyn’s most effective nonprofit leaders who understand, innovate and address a range of local issues. Our community-based philanthropy is highly effective—and necessary—to build strength and create change and these grants to more than 170 nonprofits demonstrate that smaller grants, strategically made and carefully nurtured, can--and do--have big, positive outcomes now and in the future.”

“Last fall, we announced the creation of a new foundation that would devote its resources exclusively to serve Brooklyn needs. I am delighted that we have reached this first milestone, but the work is just beginning,” said Alan H. Fishman, Brooklyn Community Foundation Chairman. “Our motto, ‘Do Good Right Here” is more than a statement about our mission. It is also an invitation to others to join in supporting local nonprofits doing vital work in the borough.”


Each of the Foundation’s five fields of interest is dedicated to strengthening the capacity of Brooklyn’s nonprofit community and to address a range of issues affecting the lives of Brooklynites. Grants from each field are summarized below: (Search for recent nonprofits partners here)

  • More than $900,000 from the Education and Youth Achievement Fund to 59 organizations promoting access to quality education and programs to help young people make smart life choices and nurture their social and emotional well-being. Current grants focus on academic and afterschool programming, positive youth development for girls, mentoring and reading intervention programs, creation of school libraries and initiatives to empower young people so that they are more likely to graduate and/or be career-ready;
  •  More than $600,000 from the Caring Neighbors Fund to 36 organizations supporting Brooklyn’s most effective health and human service providers to respond to immediate needs and assist the borough’s most vulnerable people. At a time of high unemployment when half a million people in Brooklyn live below the poverty line, current support includes traditional social service nonprofits such as food pantries and homeless services as well as newer models for providing assistance to individuals and families in crisis;
    •    More than $500,000 from the Community Development Fund to 23 organizations supporting workforce development as well as efforts to provide affordable housing and neighborhood stability. Grants focus on job training and economic development as well as community-based advocacy such as tenant leadership in public housing developments;
    •    More than $500,000 from the Arts for All Fund to 47 organizations supporting organizations that make the arts accessible to all Brooklynites. Grants also provide scholarships and general operating support for programs providing serious, structured, pre-professional experiences in arts mastery and engagement, connecting youth to creative expertise of local artists;
    •    More than $200,000 from the Green Communities Fund to 17 organizations supporting community gardens, urban farms and environmental education for school children of all ages. Grants also focus on projects which promote access to open space and wider availability of healthy food in low-income communities. 

Within each Fund, specific examples include:

  • $75,000 to Brooklyn charter schools for after school programs, literacy intervention and the creation of school libraries including Beginning with Children Charter School/Community Partnership Charter School ($20,000); Community Roots ($20,000); Coney Island Preparatory Public Charter School ($20,000); Achievement First Charter School ($15,000);
  • $75,000 for community gardens and to create access to healthy food, including East New York Farms ($35,000); Just Food ($20,000); Green Guerillas ($10,000); and New York Restoration Project ($10,000);
    •    $60,000 for quality training for youngsters and teens in the music and the arts, with a focus on those in low-income housing, including: Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy ($25,000); Reel Works Teen Filmmaking ($20,000); Brooklyn Ballet ($10,000); Brighton Ballet Theater ($5,000);
    •    $30,000 to Brooklyn Greenway Initiative to continue its bold initiative to create a dedicated bicycle and pedestrian path along the Brooklyn waterfront; $15,000 to Transportation Alternatives for its Biking Rules educational campaign.
    •    $20,000 to the Brooklyn Public Library for a matching grant for its grassroots “Support Our Shelves” campaign to provide new books for seven neighborhood libraries.

In addition to the grants announced today, in February the Brooklyn Community Foundation launched the NYC Haitian Community Hope & Healing Fund in partnership with the United Way of New York City to provide financial support and resources to local nonprofit organizations helping the vast number of Brooklyn’s Haitian residents deal with the consequences of January’s devastating earthquake. The first 12 grants totaling $250,000 were awarded in April and were distributed from the Caring Neighbors Fund.  

“The effect of the current economy and public sector budget cutbacks has had a serious impact on the borough’s nonprofit sector. The Brooklyn Community Foundation is focused on raising new resources from the private and philanthropic sectors to sustain and support the services that Brooklyn people need and want”, said Gelber. “We encourage Brooklynites to “Do Good Right Here” and join us by giving and serving in the local community."


Brooklyn Community Foundation will begin its next grant cycle  starting with Letters of Inquiry on July 1, 2010. Learn more here.