Attorney General James and Brooklyn Community Foundation Announce $2.2M to Brooklyn Substance Abuse Treatment Programs, Grantees Selected by People with Lived Experience

Brooklyn Community Foundation and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) today announced the 10 community-based organizations receiving $2.2 million in grants from the Wellness and Recovery Fund for substance treatment programs and harm reduction services. The Fund was established in 2021 at Brooklyn Community Foundation from charitable assets that remained after the OAG dissolved Canarsie A.W.A.R.E., Inc. for its participation in a scheme that exploited some of New York’s most vulnerable residents and defrauded Medicaid.


The Wellness and Recovery Fund grantees are After Hours Project, Ali Forney Center, Brooklyn Community Housing and Services, Community Counseling & Mediation, Global Trauma Research, Housing Plus, Lantern Community Services, New York Therapeutic Communities - Stay’n Out, The Family Center, and VOCAL-NY.


Grants were selected by 10 Brooklyn residents who are personally impacted by substance misuse or have worked with impacted communities. The Foundation’s participatory grantmaking funding approach is part of its commitment to sharing decision-making power with community members with direct experience on the issues being addressed. Last year, the Foundation adopted participatory grantmaking models across all of its unrestricted grantmaking programs, in alignment with its focus on racial justice and community-led change. 


“I am proud to work with the Brooklyn Community Foundation to return these funds to vulnerable communities,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “It is essential for New Yorkers who have struggled through addiction and substance abuse to have access to reliable treatment programs, and with these funds, we are doing just that. The funds will finally be used in the manner in which they were intended — to help New Yorkers who need it most. From holding accountable the companies responsible for the opioid crisis and delivering billions of dollars for treatment, to cracking down on nonprofits that try to cheat New Yorkers, I will always use the power of this office to foster the recovery of our communities.”


“Drawing upon their own experiences with substance abuse and misuse, our advisory council members have partnered with us to select an outstanding group of grantees that are helping people navigate the difficult road of treatment and recovery while honoring their agency and dignity,” said Foundation President and CEO Jocelynne Rainey. “We are grateful for Attorney General James’ leadership in reclaiming these funds for the benefit of Brooklyn’s communities, her belief in our community-led grantmaking approach, and her commitment to helping New Yorkers overcome the devastating and far-reaching impacts of addiction.”


The funding comes at a critical moment for in-demand community-based programs, as drug overdose deaths have soared to record levels during the COVID-19 pandemic. From January to March 2021, there were 596 confirmed overdose deaths in New York City, with the second largest number occurring in Brooklyn. 


Wellness and Recovery Fund grants will provide $217,500 over three years to each of the ten beneficiary nonprofits working in three priority areas: dignity-centered direct services designed to prevent and treat substance misuse and abuse; expansion and innovation of harm reduction programs and services; and systems change efforts that impact the lives of people in recovery and people living with addiction.


Brooklyn Community Foundation identified these three target approaches through conversations with over 100 community members across eight virtual conversations in late 2021 as part of its “Insights” community engagement process. Participants included Brooklynites living with addiction and navigating sobriety, as well as family members and loved ones of people who use drugs, clinical support staff, medical professionals, and stakeholders across treatment, criminal legal, and policy advocacy sectors. Sixty-two percent of participants had personal experience with addiction or substance abuse, and 23% were actively engaged in treatment services at the time of the listening session. Close to 90% of participants identify as a person of color. A detailed report on the Insights process and its findings is available for download here.


In December 2021, Brooklyn Community Foundation formed the Wellness and Recovery Fund Advisory Council, whose members were recruited from the Insights community conversations. The Advisory Council gathered to review grant applications, conduct virtual site visits, and determine funding decisions in January 2022.


Grants prioritize communities that have been disproportionately impacted by substance abuse and addiction, including Black, indigenous, and people of color; women, parents/caregivers, youth, older adults; immigrants; low-income individuals and families; people who are unhoused and housing insecure; people who are formerly or currently incarcerated; people who are LGBTQIAGNC+; people with disabilities and or mental health challenges; and people living the neighborhoods of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Bushwick, Canarsie, Coney Island, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, East New York, Flatbush, and Sunset Park.


Brooklyn Community Foundation also prioritizes support for organizations led by people of color, which face systemic barriers to funding.


In addition to general operating support, Brooklyn Community Foundation will provide  grantees with a range of capacity building services, informed by community partners, which may include workshops and coaching focused on racial justice, fundraising, board development, financial management, advocacy, community organization, and strategic planning.


“This grant will allow After Hours Project to enhance our evidence-based substance abuse treatment and supportive services, that include buprenorphine treatment, syringe access, overdose prevention, harm reduction counseling and education. We plan to use the funds to purchase an electric mobile unit to help lower our carbon footprint and hire a peer driven outreach team to expand our services in areas with the highest needs, such as Bed-Stuy, Sunset Park and Williamsburg, Brooklyn,” said Fernando Soto, President and CEO of After Hours Project, Inc.    


“During the grant process, I looked for organizations that have grassroots connections to their communities and are committed to listening, respecting the people they serve, and treating the whole person. I am pleased to say that the grants are going to groups that will truly expand critical services, like harm reduction, for those who need it most,” said Victoria Graves, a member of Brooklyn Community Foundation’s Wellness and Recovery Fund Advisory Council.


Wellness and Recovery Fund Grantees:


After Hours Project: To support an array of health and social services including: behavioral health education; sexual health and wellness; HIV/AIDs Linkage to Care; harm reduction; housing, food, and family wellness; community outreach; advocacy and referral services, and more. Clients primarily have little or no contact with traditional service providers, and include persons who inject drugs, sex workers, and people who are homeless. Neighborhoods Served: Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Bushwick, Crown Heights North, Crown Heights South, East Flatbush, East New York, East Williamsburg, Flatbush


Ali Forney Center: To support services provided to 2,000+ LGBTQIA+ youth at a 24/7 drop-in center, and 17 emergency and transitional housing sites, as well as to hire a substance misuse treatment counselor to work at 14 housing sites, including 9 in Brooklyn. Neighborhoods Served: Boroughwide, Park Slope, Sunset Park 


Brooklyn Community Housing and Services: To support housing for 1,000+ people who experience homelessness annually, including transitional and permanent housing, as well as substance misuse counselors and skilled clinicians for all new housing developments. Neighborhoods Served: Boroughwide


Community Counseling & Mediation: To support a wide range of social services, counseling, physical and mental healthcare, education, and supportive housing services for individuals and families in extremely low-income areas of Brooklyn. Services include treatment, early intervention, wrap-around services, and recovery support services for people living with substance misuse disorders and/or co-occurring mental health disorders. Neighborhoods Served: Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Brownsville, Bushwick, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights North, Crown Heights South, Downtown Brooklyn, East Flatbush, East New York, Flatbush, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Park South, Red Hook


Global Trauma Research: To support the “Stay Well” program, which provides 24-hour crisis intervention/hospital prevention and culturally/spiritually specific long-term trauma counseling to participants with a history of substance misuse, as well as a multilingual substance misuse and abuse community education campaign with 300 community partners. Neighborhoods Served: Boroughwide


Housing Plus: To support justice-involved women in an alternative-to-detention program that provides community-based housing and comprehensive services to help them overcome poverty, homelessness, and the effects of incarceration, and build stable lives. The program also seeks to reunite and reconnect parents and caregivers with children in foster care, and to prevent separation in as many families as possible. Neighborhoods Served: Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Canarsie, Crown Heights North, Crown Heights South, East New York, Flatbush, Prospect Lefferts Gardens


Lantern Community Services: To provide comprehensive harm reduction services to improve the overall quality of life for clients, including at two supportive housing sites in Brooklyn that serve formerly unhoused residents living with chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS and/or diagnosed mental health conditions. Staff also provide Naloxone training and kits and overdose prevention education to residents. Neighborhoods Served: Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville


New York Therapeutic Communities - Stay’n Out: To support substance misuse treatment for adults in the criminal legal system through licensed community-based residential and outpatient programs that use a therapeutic community model, as well as to add more peer recovery advocates to connect persons using substances with needed services. Neighborhoods Served: Boroughwide, East New York, Brownsville


The Family Center: To support programs that provide comprehensive, culturally sensitive, and family-focused behavioral health treatment and recovery services for adults, children, and families with significant levels of trauma, chronic disease, extreme poverty, and barriers to care, as well as free childcare for parents and caregivers who are living with addiction, substance use challenges, and recovery while they are receiving treatment and health services. Neighborhoods Served: Boroughwide


VOCAL-NY: To support the growth of outreach and testing programs for people who use drugs, increased operating hours for syringe services programs, expansion of service delivery teams by transitioning part-time peer outreach workers and Hepatitis C care coordinators to full-time salaried positions, and hiring additional peer outreach workers. Neighborhoods Served: Boroughwide

About the 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, working in partnership with generous donors and community leaders to advance racial justice and bolster vital nonprofits. Since its founding in 2009, the Foundation and its donors have provided over $75 million in grants to nonprofits in Brooklyn and beyond. Learn more at