20 Brooklyn Nonprofits Selected as Finalists for 2016 Spark Prize

New Award Spotlights Brooklyn’s Nonprofit Sector and Launches Local Giving Campaign to Attract Much-Needed Support from the Borough’s Residents

Twenty nonprofit organizations have been selected as finalists for Brooklyn Community Foundation’s inaugural Spark Prize, the first and only honor of its kind celebrating changemakers in the borough’s thriving nonprofit sector.

The Spark Prize will award up to $600,000 to outstanding Brooklyn-serving nonprofits. A diverse committee of distinguished civic, business, and neighborhood leaders all hailing from Brooklyn chose the 20 finalists from a highly competitive pool of 150 applicants.

“Brooklyn is home to nearly 3,000 nonprofits, yet they collectively receive less than 5% of funds distributed by New York City foundations,” said Brooklyn Community Foundation President and CEO Cecilia Clarke. “We created the Spark Prize to drive support to the borough’s vibrant nonprofit sector and showcase outstanding community-led solutions addressing Brooklyn’s most critical challenges. Congratulations to the 20 finalists—we are so proud to have you represent the excellence, breadth, and diversity of Brooklyn’s unique nonprofit sector.”

The finalists are (in alphabetical order):

Later this month, the Spark Prize Committee will conduct in-person interviews with representatives of the finalists to determine the recipients of this year’s Prize. Five organizations will be awarded grants of $100,000 each in general operating support, to be announced in January 2017.

Brooklyn Gives: A New Local Giving Campaign

Each of the 20 finalists are now eligible for a $5,000 matching grant from Brooklyn Community Foundation on Giving Tuesday, November 29, 2016—the annual national day of giving observed the Tuesday after Thanksgiving—to incentivize greater contributions from local donors. The Foundation is providing the match as part of the launch of a new local giving campaign called Brooklyn Gives, presented in partnership with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and local businesses including Brooklyn Industries. Brooklyn Industries, a Brooklyn Gives top sponsor, will be donating 10% of sales on Giving Tuesday to support the campaign.

The Foundation aims to help the 20 finalists raise $100,000 in donations through Brooklyn Gives, for a total of more than $200,000 in new support after the Foundation’s match. Brooklyn businesses are encouraged to sign up to participate in the campaign at www.BrooklynGives.org.  

A Brooklyn Partnership

The Spark Prize is presented by Brooklyn Community Foundation in partnership with the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and is sponsored by National Grid.

"I commend the review committee, including Deputy Borough President Reyna, for selecting a superlative group of finalists for the inaugural Spark Prize,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “It is gratifying to be part of a competition that celebrates the best of Brooklyn's humanitarian spirit, furthering the ongoing mission of making lasting social change that Brooklyn Community Foundation has laid out for all Brooklynites. The organizations that have reached this meaningful stage have incredible track records of community service that have helped make our borough a safer and greater place to raise healthy children and families."

"The Spark Prize is a testament to the best in Brooklyn nonprofits, and we applaud its emphasis on social justice-oriented, values-driven service to the borough," said Brooklyn Chamber President and CEO Carlo A. Scissura. "All of the Spark Prize finalists do impactful work, and we thank the Brooklyn Community Foundation for giving them the resources they need to thrive."

About the Spark Prize

The Spark Prize is named for the Foundation’s mission to spark lasting social change in Brooklyn. Applying organizations were asked to submit a 1,000 word essay demonstrating their deep history in Brooklyn and continued commitment to serving the borough; commitment to equity and racial and social justice for all Brooklynites; strong, articulated values that permeate through all aspects of their work; and a dynamic vision for the future of their work in Brooklyn and beyond. Learn more at www.SparkPrize.org.

The Spark Prize is a signature program of the Foundation’s Brooklyn Accelerator, a hub for building capacity and resources in Brooklyn’s nonprofit community. Through the Brooklyn Accelerator, the Foundation also offers free workshops for nonprofits, Board matching and governance training, and an Incubator that hosts start-up nonprofit enterprises. Reaching a diverse cross-section of Brooklyn nonprofits, the Prize will also strengthen the Foundation’s services to its donors who depend on its expertise and knowledge of the borough’s nonprofits to help guide their local giving and philanthropy.


About Brooklyn Community Foundation

Brooklyn Community Foundation is on a mission to spark lasting social change, mobilizing people, capital, and expertise for a fair and just Brooklyn. It is the first and only public foundation solely dedicated to Brooklyn’s charitable community, working in partnership with generous donors and community leaders to bolster vital nonprofits, strengthen neighborhoods, and increase opportunities for youth. Since its founding in 2009, the Foundation and its donors have provided over $25 million in grants to more than 300 nonprofits in Brooklyn and beyond. Learn more at www.BrooklynCommunityFoundation.org

Media Contact: 

Liane Stegmaier, Director of Communications, Brooklyn Community Foundation
718.480.7503, lstegmaier@bcfny.org