Brooklyn Community Foundation Grants $2.5M to BIPOC-Led Organizations Supporting Young People

(Brooklyn, N.Y., December 14, 2022) — Brooklyn Community Foundation announced that its Invest in Youth grantmaking initiative has distributed $2.5 million to 56 youth-serving organizations in 2022 serving communities of color in the borough.  

Invest in Youth, which is the Foundation’s biggest strategic racial justice grantmaking initiative, has distributed nearly $20 million in grants since the program’s inception in 2015. Each year, the initiative provides annual general operating support grants of up to $45,000 a year for a three-year period to youth-serving organizations working in the areas of youth leadership, youth justice, and immigrant youth, that focus on racial justice and are led by members of the communities they serve.  

“I am proud that we are such a champion for young people in Brooklyn,” said Dr. Jocelynne Rainey, President and CEO of Brooklyn Community Foundation. “These long-term investments are amplifying the power of youth voices and the leadership of young people as key players in building a fair and just future for Brooklyn.” 

The Foundation’s strategic grantmaking employs a participatory grantmaking model through which decisions are made in partnership with community members. The Foundation’s racial justice approach prioritizes organizations with smaller operating budgets and BIPOC-leadership, which often face systemic barriers in accessing grants compared to white-led organizations. 

Of the 56 organizations receiving funding:  

  • 19 organizations received first-year funding 

  • 75% have budgets under $2M, and 43% have budgets under $1M 

  • 80% are BIPOC-led, and 54% are Black-led 

Grants are funded through the continuous support of the Foundation’s donors, as well as fees from the Foundation’s Donor Advised Fund program. 


2022 Youth Leadership Grants:  

  • #Building Beats: To support DJ and music programs that teach entrepreneurial, leadership, and life skills to young people of color. Boroughwide 

  • *Day One New York, Inc.: For programs to end dating abuse and intimate partner violence among youth by connecting survivors to direct support services including counseling and case management, legal representation, and preventive and peer-led education. Boroughwide 

  • *First Tech Fund, Inc: For programs to close the digital divide for low-income high schoolers by providing access to technology, career and college guidance, and engaging youth as part of an advisory board. Students receive free laptops and internet access, targeted advising and networking, and mentorship from industry-specific professionals. Boroughwide 

  • #Footsteps: To support formerly ultra-Orthodox Jewish youth transitioning into mainstream society with resources, leadership development, and peer connections. Crown Heights, Borough Park, Kensington, Flatbush, Williamsburg 

  • *GrowHouse NYC: To support arts and activism programming that connects young Black creatives and activists to older artists for support and mentorship, including a gap year program for Black high school graduates to learn about equitable design, power, organizing, and history through workshops, travel, and a community design school. Bedford-Stuyvesant 

  • *Health and Education Alternatives for Teens (HEAT) Program: To support developmentally and culturally competent wraparound services for LGBTQ+ youth of color, centering clients in all decisions about their treatment and care plans, with services spanning STI and HIV prevention and treatment (including PEP and PreP), hormone therapy for trans and gender non-conforming youth, and mental healthcare. Boroughwide 

  • *Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet: For dance and cross-disciplinary arts education, performance, and cultural programming led by teaching artists serving under-resourced and Title-1 schools, a professional youth dance company, and scholarships and employment programs that train students of color in dance, theater, music, arts administration, performance, and production. Boroughwide 

  • *Opening Act NYC: For free, professionally designed theater programming for students of color in under-resourced public schools, as well as youth in the NYCDOE’s Alternative High School program who are pursuing their GED following a disruption in their education for reasons such as homelessness, teen parenthood, incarceration, and/or court involvement. Boroughwide 

  • #STEM from Dance: To support a cohesive learning experience in which dance is used to introduce girls of color to computer science. Boroughwide 

  • *Teens Take Charge: For student-led advocacy to advance racial equity in public schools, with programming that includes researching and building campaigns around issues that impact the wider student population, and conducting skill-building and political education workshops that are led by senior student organizers in partnership with program alumni. Boroughwide 

  •  #Theatre of the Oppressed NYC: To engage court-involved youth as actors and playwrights in a comprehensive theater-for-social justice program that uses real life stories of the youth actors. Boroughwide  

  • *The Alex House Project: To support young parents and families in Red Hook with programs that provide essential resources including basic supplies, childcare, and mental health counseling, and courses that use a peer-education model to develop leadership skills and healthy decision-making, nurturing parenting, and overall stability. Red Hook 

  • *Tomorrow's Leaders NYC, Inc.: To support mentorship and youth development programs in East New York that focus on helping over-age middle and high school students who have been held back in the public school system to overcome social, emotional, and academic challenges so they can graduate. East New York 

  • #United Community Centers: To support the operation and management of one of the city’s largest youth-led farms as well as a sexual health-focused peer education program. East New York  

  • #viBe Theater Experience: To support programming that engages girls and young women of color to write, create, publish, direct, and perform personal collaborative theater and music. Boroughwide 

  • #Youth Design Center: For a community-based creative agency and community design center that provides a gateway for young people to learn marketable skills in STEAM, access higher education, achieve economic mobility, and become civic leaders. Youth Design Center was formerly known as “Made in Brownsville.” Brownsville+ 

  • *YVote/Next Gen Politics: For youth-led civic engagement programming including organizing and creating policy proposals around economic mobility, food justice, housing security, civic opportunities, and mental health; peer-led workshops for schools and community groups; regular teen summits and cohort-based institutes; and training to become peer facilitators. Boroughwide 

*Indicates First-Year Grantee 
+Partially funded by ELMA Music Foundation 
#One Year Grant Extension 


2022 Youth Justice Grants:  

  • *Center for Community Alternatives: For programming that connects justice-involved youth in Brownsville to community-based support services, paid training, internships, and jobs, and develops their leadership through a youth council that focuses on community issues and opportunities, including running a community garden. Brownsville 

  • *Children's Defense Fund-New York: To address the disproportionate impact of poverty on children, with work that includes: partnering with young people on social justice advocacy; running a summer program in Brooklyn’s juvenile detention facilities; and launching a 2-year pilot project led by foster system-impacted youth that will be the first direct cash transfer program (Universal Basic Income) to support former foster youth who have “aged out” of care across the city. Boroughwide 

  • *Coney Island Anti Violence Collaborative: To support Black and Latinx youth in Coney Island through mentoring, advocacy, and organizing, school-based violence prevention programs and STEM programs, visual and performing arts, anti-bullying workshops, community outreach, and counseling and trauma therapy, including the launch of a garden project to address and heal trauma. Coney Island 

  • #Drive Change: To provide training and first job experience for formerly incarcerated and court-involved young people through a nonprofit food truck. Bedford Stuyvesant, Bushwick  

  • #Flex Dance Program: To support a Flex Dance and creative mentorship program aimed at reducing the likelihood of recidivism and re-entry for young people in secure detention centers. Boroughwide+  

  • #Good Call NYC: To support the launch of a technology-enabled hotline in Brooklyn to provide immediate legal support in case of arrest, and to hire Brooklyn youth who have benefited from the program as organizers. Boroughwide 

  • *JobsFirstNYC: For programs to strengthen the capacity of workforce development institutions and create systems-level change through partnerships with employers and local government, with a goal of improving economic mobility and opportunities for young adults. Boroughwide 

  • *Pure Legacee, Inc.: To support young women and new mothers (16-21) in Brownsville who are directly impacted by the criminal justice and foster care systems and are facing homelessness, with comprehensive trauma-formed support that includes: peer mentorship, employment, housing, and transportation assistance; mental health and substance misuse support; access to a computer lab; and training on advocacy and community organizing. Brownsville 

  • #UPROSE: For community organizing, public education, and leadership programs for youth that advance environmental sustainability and resiliency. Sunset Park, South Slope, Gowanus 

  • *You Gotta Believe! The Older Child Adoption & Permanency Movement: For programs that connect youth in foster care to permanent and adoptive families using the power of credible messengers (adoptive parents and former foster youth), and a fellowship program that covers public speaking, art advocacy, and storytelling. Additional programs provide leadership development for justice-involved youth (14-25) to develop advocacy skills. Boroughwide 

*Indicates First-Year Grantee 
+Partially funded by ELMA Music Foundation 
#One Year Grant Extension 
One Year Grant 


2022 Immigrant Youth Grants: 

  • *Churches United for Fair Housing, Inc.: For programming that engages youth in community organizing for housing justice, including a summer youth program where teenagers learn about organizing and advocacy around issues such as gentrification and segregation. Boroughwide 

  •  #New York State Youth Leadership Council: To support undocumented immigrant youth organizing around access to higher education and healthcare, protection from deportation, and the right to work. Boroughwide, Sunset Park, Prospect Heights 

  • *¡Oye! Group: To support free arts programming that engages primarily Black and Latinx youth in Bushwick, including the creation of original plays about topics relevant to the community, an annual Shakespeare program, teen poetry workshops, and acting classes and re-entry support for youth in juvenile detention facilities. Bushwick 

  • *Parent-Child Relationship Association Inc.: To support a comprehensive range of services to improve parent-child relationships in families with teenagers, promote youth empowerment and positive development, and address the social needs of Chinese immigrant families in Sunset Park via social services and support, civic and community engagement, and youth-led community programming. Sunset Park 

​*Indicates First-Year Grantee 
#One Year Grant Extension 

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, 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 



Media Contact: 

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