Brooklyn Community Foundation Increases Investment in Youth Initiatives to $2.8M in 2018

Funding Supports Programs that Develop Youth Leadership, Divert Youth from the Criminal Justice System, and Protect Young Immigrants

Brooklyn Community Foundation is pleased to announce support for 71 local organizations through its Invest in Youth initiative, bringing its total funding for youth-focused nonprofit programs to $2.8 million in 2018. This represents an increase of over $250,000 from last year’s grantmaking.

Brooklyn Community Foundation—the first and only public charity dedicated to New York City’s largest borough—launched Invest in Youth in 2015 as a 10-year, $25 million commitment to improving social and economic opportunities and outcomes for 16- to 24-year-olds, particularly young people of color, through grantmaking, strategic leadership initiatives, and direct engagement with youth.

“As we increase our support for Brooklyn’s next generation of leaders, we are proud to fund so many outstanding programs developed right here in our borough that carve out new opportunities for young people,” said Brooklyn Community Foundation President and CEO Cecilia Clarke. “An investment in the youth of our communities is an investment in a more fair and just future for Brooklyn.”

Brooklyn is home to more than 100,000 youth ages 16-24 living in low income communities of color. One in four incarcerated youth in New York City come from just six Brooklyn neighborhoods. And immigrant families—which account for one third of all New York City households—are increasingly at risk of destabilization and deportation by unjust policies implemented under the current Presidential administration.


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 $40 million in grants to nonprofits in Brooklyn and beyond.

Learn more at


2018-19 Invest in Youth Grant Highlights

The Invest in Youth grantmaking program supports community-based nonprofits that transform the lives of vulnerable young people and address systems-level change in three areas: Youth Leadership (44% of grantees), Youth Justice (38% of grantees), and Immigrant Youth and Families (18% of grantees).

This year, 62 nonprofits are receiving renewed multi-year funding and nine are receiving Invest in Youth grants for the first time; grants range from $20,000 to $50,000. With a priority for funding grassroots organizations led by members of the communities they serve, 46% of organizations have operating budgets of $1 million or less and 44% of grantees’ executive directors identify as people of color. Of the organizations receiving first-time funding, 44% are led by young people under the age of 25.

In addition to these grants, which total $2,320,000, the Invest in Youth initiative also provides funding for the Brooklyn Youth Activists youth-led grantmaking program and the Brooklyn Restorative Justice Project, which aims to develop a racially just model for school discipline in partnership with the NYC Department of Education and the Mayor’s Leadership Team on School Climate and Discipline.

Highlights by Investment Focus Area

YOUTH LEADERSHIP: Grants support community-based organizations that position youth as long-term leaders in their communities. Focus areas and sample grantee partners include:

  • Economic Opportunity: Brownsville Community Culinary Center and Red Hook Initiative
  • Youth Arts: viBe Theater Experience and ARTs East New York
  • Youth and the Environment: UPROSE and Project EATS
  • Young Women & Girls: Girls for Gender Equity and Sadie Nash Leadership Project
  • LGBTQIA Youth: Brooklyn Community Pride Center and Audre Lorde Project
  • Safety and Healing: Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI) and Center for Anti-Violence Education
  • Youth Advocacy: Participatory Budgeting Project and IntegrateNYC

YOUTH JUSTICE: Grants support both advocacy and direct-service organizations that address the far-reaching effects of young people’s encounters with the criminal justice system. Focus areas and sample grantee partners include:

  • Diversion Programs: Youth Represent and Good Call NYC
  • Reentry and Enrichment Opportunities: S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective and Friends of Island Academy
  • Employment Programs: exalt and Drive Change
  • Advocacy and Policy Reform: JustLeadershipUSA and Osborne Association
  • School Discipline Reform: Cypress Hills LDC and Urban Youth Collaborative

IMMIGRANT YOUTH: Grants support organizations that provide critical legal advocacy, social supports, and leadership development for immigrant youth in Brooklyn. Focus areas and sample grantee partners include:

  • Legal and Social Services: Center for Family Life and Safe Passage Project
  • Leadership and Advocacy: New York State Youth Leadership Council and Make the Road New York

Invest in Youth: 2018-19 Grants



  • Green City Force: $40,000 for a service and training program that aims to create ladders to careers in the green economy for NYCHA youth, focused on development of two urban farms. Red Hook, Brownsville
  • Brooklyn Community Services: $30,000 for a project that engages young people, primarily immigrant youth, in activities to help them develop job skills, improve their academic performance, and become community leaders. Coney Island   
  • *Brownsville Community Culinary Center: $30,000 to support the culinary training and apprenticeship program for young people, ages 18-34, from Brownsville. Brownsville
  • Footsteps: $25,000 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
  • Red Hook Initiative: $40,000 to provide job readiness and leadership training, part-time employment, academic support, and services to assist young people toward graduation, college, and career. Red Hook
  • United Community Centers: $40,000 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


  • ARTs East New York: $25,000 to support the Public Art Apprenticeship Program and Young Artist Institute for young people interested in the arts as a tool for social change. East New York
  • Hook Arts Media: $25,000 for in-school, after-school, and summer-based multi-disciplinary arts programs serving low-income youth of color, with a focus on overage, under-credited students and disconnected youth. Red Hook
  • Groundswell Community Mural Project: $35,000 for school year and summer programs that engage youth from underserved communities in public mural making as a means of social change while developing their leadership and creative skills. Boroughwide
  • Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy: $30,000 for the creative, educational, and vocational development of Black and Caribbean youth in Central Brooklyn. Bedford Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Flatbush   
  • Theatre of the Oppressed NYC: $25,000 to engage court-involved youth as actors and playwrights in a comprehensive theatre-for-social justice program that uses real life stories of the youth actors. Boroughwide           
  • Truthworker Theater Company: $20,000 for a theater program that uses first person narratives to bring the stories of young people impacted by incarceration to the forefront and drive awareness of the need for policy reform. Boroughwide
  • *viBe Theater Experience: $30,000 to support programming that engages girls and young women of color to write, create, publish, direct, and perform personal collaborative theater and music. Boroughwide


  • Active Citizen Project: $25,000 for Project EATS, a youth leadership initiative centered at the organization’s community farm that aims to help young people improve the conditions that determine their quality of life and ability to thrive. Brownsville, East New York, Crown Heights        
  • Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger: $20,000 to support the Green Teens sustainable farming paid apprenticeship program for Brooklyn youth ages 15-24. Bedford Stuyvesant
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden: $25,000 for an apprentice program through which teens work under the guidance of skilled professionals and receive mentorship from top horticulturalists and environmental educators. Boroughwide     
  • UPROSE: $35,000 for community organizing, public education, and leadership programs for youth that advance environmental sustainability and resiliency. Sunset Park, South Slope, Gowanus


  • Alex House Project: $35,000 to provide pregnancy and parenting groups for teens and other young, low-income, first time mothers and fathers in Red Hook. Red Hook   
  • Black Women's Blueprint: $35,000 for a partnership with student organizers to pilot campus-based transformative justice practices that hold harm-doers accountable and support sexual violence survivors in their healing and development. Crown Heights           
  • Girl Be Heard: $35,000 for multidisciplinary arts opportunities designed to engage young women in social justice education and develop their leadership skills. Boroughwide
  • Girls for Gender Equity: $35,000 to advance advocacy strategies led by LGBTQ youth of color focused on issues including gender based violence, sexism, and racism. Boroughwide
  • Sadie Nash Leadership Project: $35,000 for a Brooklyn-based summer leadership institute that engages young women in political education and empowerment programs to equip them to be agents for social change. Bedford  Stuyvesant, Coney Island, Crown Heights, East New York
  • Sanctuary for Families: $20,000 to support the establishment of the Mishkan Project, a peer support group and work development program for Ultra-Orthodox young women who have been rejected by their families due to histories of abuse, addiction, sex trafficking, and other forms of gendered violence. Citywide


  • The Ali Forney Center: $35,000 to support the Youth Advocacy Internship Program for homeless LGBTQIA youth of color. Citywide
  • Audre Lorde Project: $35,000 to support youth-led programs and advocacy for LGBTQIA people of color that build leadership and organizing skills, reduce surveillance policing, and promote safer communities. Boroughwide
  • *Brooklyn Community Pride Center: $35,000 to support the Pride Path Program to connect underemployed Brooklyn LGBTQ+ young adults, ages 18-24, to paid professional development, internships, and employment opportunities. Boroughwide


  • CAMBA: $25,000 to support Brownsville In, Violence Out, a community-based youth development and gun-violence reduction program. Brownsville
  • Center for Anti-Violence Education: $40,000 for comprehensive anti-violence, empowerment, and leadership programming for young people, including the expansion of services for LGBTQ homeless youth and service providers. Boroughwide
  • Neighbors in Action: $30,000 to support Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets and Justice Community Plus, two of the Center’s holistic, anti-violence and work readiness youth development programs. Crown Heights, Bedford Stuyvesant
  • H.O.L.L.A (How Our Lives Link Altogether): $20,000 for a social justice education, leadership, and organizing program for low income youth of color focused on trauma recovery and healing. Boroughwide
  • Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI): $35,000 for the hospital-based violence interruption program and in-school and community-based discussion groups and workshops. East New York, Brownsville, Flatbush


  • Churches United For Fair Housing: $35,000 for youth development programming focused on housing-related issues and other challenges impacting low-income communities of color. Bushwick
  • FUREE: $25,000 for a leadership and advocacy program for NYCHA youth. Gowanus, Red Hook
  • Global Action Project: $40,000 for an intersectional youth organizing and activism program that uses media and storytelling to help young people, specifically immigrant and LGBTQ youth, advocate for themselves and their communities. Boroughwide
  • Global Kids: $35,000 for after-school programming that aims to increase exposure to local and international human rights and social justice issues. Boroughwide
  • *IntegrateNYC: $25,000 to support the leadership and capacity of students working to end segregation in New York City public schools. Boroughwide
  • *Participatory Budgeting Project: $30,000 to support a pilot project to expand engagement and participatory budgeting in high-need Brooklyn public high schools in Central Brooklyn. Boroughwide, Bedford Stuyvesant, Crown Heights
  • Resilience Advocacy Project: $30,000 to provide leadership development programs, legal education, and peer-to-peer trainings for youth of color, particularly those living in ACS care or detention, focused on advocating for community change. Boroughwide
  • Youth Advocacy Corps: $25,000 to support YAC’s core youth advocacy programs: the Youth Advocacy Summer Institute and Mental Health Awareness Project. Boroughwide, East New York



  • BRIC Arts Media: $25,000 to support the enrollment of court-involved youth in the Project Re-Direct media apprenticeship program, a pilot alternative-to-incarceration initiative between BRIC and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. Boroughwide
  • Brooklyn Community Bail Fund: $35,000 to prevent unnecessary pretrial detention based on poverty by paying bail for indigent Brooklyn youth and adults accused of misdemeanors, and providing and facilitating access to social and legal services for clients. Boroughwide       
  • Brooklyn Defender Services: $50,000 for comprehensive free legal representation to court-involved youth with a focus on school discipline and reentry, special education placements, alternative pathways to graduation, alternatives to incarceration, and counseling. Boroughwide
  • CASES: $35,000 for programs that divert youth from the criminal justice system by providing education and employment services, behavioral health treatment, service projects, and links to other providers. Bedford Stuyvesant, Coney Island
  • Center for Nu Leadership: $25,000 for programs that divert neighborhood youth from arrest proceedings by developing pre-arrest diversion options for law-officers. Bedford Stuyvesant
  • Common Justice: $45,000 for a victim-service and alternative-to-incarceration program based on restorative justice principles that works with young people who commit violent felonies and those they harm. Boroughwide
  • *Good Call NYC: $25,000 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
  • *Youth Represent: $35,000 to support direct legal representation and workshops for system-involved youth who face employment discrimination, school suspension, summonses, and other criminal and civil legal issues. Boroughwide


  • Brownsville Community Justice Center: $35,000 to provide off-ramps for young people who come into contact with the justice system, including educational, occupational, social, and health services designed to expand their leadership and increase community members' sense of public safety. Brownsville
  • Center for Community Alternatives: $30,000 to support counseling, life skills courses, and after-school arts-based activities for youth living in secure and non-secure detention facilities. Boroughwide          
  • Friends of Island Academy: $40,000 to support the establishment of a Youth ReEntry Network hub office in Downtown Brooklyn to provide educational, social service, and workforce development supports for young people transitioning out of incarceration. Boroughwide
  • Lineage Project: $40,000 for mindfulness and yoga programs for incarcerated and highly-vulnerable young people, including those in living in secure and non-secure detention facilities, as well as a Brooklyn-based program for young people on probation. Boroughwide
  • *S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective: $40,000 to support youth leadership and development programs for systems-involved girls and young women in Brooklyn. Boroughwide
  • Young New Yorkers: $20,000 to provide court-mandated arts diversion programs for youth that engage them in social justice issues through the creation of large-scale public art projects. Boroughwide


  • Drive Change: $35,000 to provide training and first job experience for formerly incarcerated and court-involved young people through a nonprofit food truck. Bedford Stuyvesant, Bushwick
  • exalt: $40,000 to counteract the school-to-prison pipeline by elevating expectations of personal success for court-involved youth through job skills courses, individualized support, paid internships, and alumni network. Boroughwide
  • ReConnect: $30,000 to connect youth to employment, entrepreneurship training, and access to college credit to help navigate systemic challenges that make it hard to find sustainable employment. Bedford Stuyvesant


  • JustLeadershipUSA: $30,000 to empower court-involved youth to drive policy reforms, including the campaign to #CloseRikers, a comprehensive multiyear effort to close Rikers Island Detention Facility. Boroughwide
  • Osborne Association: $35,000 to support programs for children of incarcerated parents as well as a council that engages young people impacted by incarceration to develop campaigns around issues affecting their lives and communities. Boroughwide


  • Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation: $30,000 for a youth organizing group that seeks to address racial and educational injustice through a campaign to implement restorative justice practices at a local high school campus. Cypress Hills
  • Teachers Unite: $20,000 for members' work with students and teachers to lead the shift from punitive to transformative justice in NYC public schools. Brownsville, East New York, Bushwick, Gravesend, Sheepshead Bay, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, East Williamsburg, Sunset Park   
  • Urban Youth Collaborative: $30,000 to organize youth of color who have been the victims of school-based over-policing to advance youth justice alternatives and promote wellbeing of both youth and their communities. Boroughwide     



  • Arab-American Family Support Center: $40,000 for programs that strengthen Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian immigrant youth’s academic achievement, creative expression and healthy behaviors. Boroughwide     
  • Atlas: DIY: $35,000 for the community-based "cooperative model" that provides free legal, educational, and social services for undocumented youth and their allies. Sunset Park     
  • Center for Family Life: $40,000 for a community school model that engages youth, families and educators to mobilize resources and develop programs for high school success and college access and retention. Sunset Park
  • Safe Passage Project: $50,000 for free legal services and representation to meet the unmet needs of immigrant and undocumented children in partnership with community high schools. Boroughwide


  • Arab American Association of New York: $40,000 for a leadership fellowship for Arab and Muslim youth that provides resources and tools to address advocacy issues including immigration, police accountability, and racial justice. Boroughwide, Bay Ridge
  • Black Alliance for Just Immigration: $30,000 to develop the leadership and empowerment of the borough's Black immigrant youth and families in order to end racism, criminalization, and economic disenfranchisement. Boroughwide     
  • DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving): $35,000 to organize South Asian youth, families, and immigrant workers to win campaigns focused on educational equity, economic justice, legalization, workplace rights, and an end to racial profiling and anti-immigrant enforcement. Flatbush, Midwood
  • El Puente: $35,000 to organize communities of color to fight gentrification through youth-led community campaigns and initiatives focused on environmental justice, climate change, community safety, and racial/cultural equity in education, the arts, and wellness. Williamsburg
  • Make the Road New York: $40,000 for immigrant youth-led organizing programs focused on the school-to-prison pipeline, community schools, and greater police accountability and transparency. Bushwick
  • *New York State Youth Leadership Council: $40,000 to support undocumented immigration you-led organization around access to higher education and healthcare, protection from deportation, and the right to work. Boroughwide, Sunset Park, Prospect Heights

* = New Invest in Youth Grantee

Media Contact: 

Liane Stegmaier, VP of Communications