Brooklyn Community Foundation today launched the Brooklyn Elders Fund, a permanent fund seeded by $10 million to promote the care and welfare of older adults in Brooklyn, at a lunch at University Settlement’s Ingersoll Community Center. The first of its kind to tackle issues affecting aging Brooklynites, the fund brings together older adults, policymakers, and community-based nonprofits to support both proven strategies and innovative approaches to providing the care and support that our aging population needs.
Photos from the lunch are available here and a video about the fund is available here. B-roll from listening sessions conducted by the Brooklyn Community Foundation across the borough is available upon request.
“After building the Brooklyn neighborhoods the world has grown to love, Brooklyn’s elders are too often living in poverty, struggling to find decent housing they can afford, and fighting for basic services that would allow them to live with dignity. It is the definition of a crisis,” said Cecilia Clarke, President and CEO, Brooklyn Community Foundation. “We partnered with donors to establish the Brooklyn Elders Fund to bring Brooklynites together to tackle this challenge head on. With new ideas and significant new resources, we will do our best to honor and transform the lives of older adults in our neighborhoods for generations to come.”
To determine the most effective strategy for the Brooklyn Elders Fund, this winter Brooklyn Community Foundation kicked off a series of listening sessions across the borough bringing the diverse voices of Brooklyn’s elders into shaping the priorities of the new fund. The data and stories collected will allow the fund to target the most salient and critical issues affecting Brooklyn’s diverse communities of older adults. These listening sessions will continue through April.
“Brooklyn has a long tradition of honoring and caring for its eldest residents. The establishment of the Brooklyn Elders Fund will help our older neighbors age in place with dignity, supporting them with the highest standards of care and respect that they have earned and deserve,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “I thank the Brooklyn Community Foundation for their continued commitment to uplifting our borough and bringing us together to make positive change, as One Brooklyn.”
With the largest population of older adults of any county in New York state, 13.5 percent of Brooklyn’s population is older adults, and more than one in five live below the poverty line. With the average stay in New York City nursing homes costing close to $150,000 per year, older adults are struggling to find housing and care while many nursing homes are forced to close, amplifying the near crisis in finding affordable housing.
The Brooklyn Elders Fund is seeded with $10 million from two field of interest funds—CABS Community Foundation and the Fund for the Health & Integrity of Seniors—held permanently at Brooklyn Community Foundation. The source of the funds are the result of two closed nursing homes, assets from which will now remain in and continue to serve older adults in Brooklyn.
“CABS has a long history of providing home care and senior living services and partnering with other community organizations to provide care to our seniors,” said Bill Pernisek, Fund Advisor, CABS Community Foundation at Brooklyn Community Foundation, and President, CABS Home Attendants Service. “It was unfortunate that our senior living center in Brooklyn had to close, but through this partnership with Brooklyn Community Foundation, we can ensure the resources will support solutions to the challenges our seniors face daily, from housing and healthcare to transportation and isolation.”
In February, the Brooklyn Elders Fund issued a round of preliminary grants totalling $340,000 to support seven organizations that reflect the breadth and diversity of the fund’s mission:
CABS Home Attendants Services
Ellery Court Senior Housing Development Fund Corporation
Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project
Riseboro Community Partnership
Southside United HDFC–Los Sures
St. Nick’s Alliance
University Settlement Society of New York
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 more than 300 nonprofits in Brooklyn and beyond. Learn more at www.BrooklynCommunityFoundation.org.
Liane Stegmaier, Director of Communications,