Grant Decisions Determined by Advisory Council of Brooklyn Seniors
February 13, 2020 – Brooklyn Community Foundation is announcing $405,000 for community-based organizations taking on complex, critical issues of racial and social injustice confronting older adults in Brooklyn. An advisory council comprised of seniors consulted on the grant decisions as part of the Foundation’s community-led funding strategy. Brooklyn is home to the largest population of older adults of any county in New York State—with more than 20% living below the poverty line and nearly 60% who are immigrants.
Brooklyn Community Foundation launched the Brooklyn Elders Fund in March 2019 to promote the care and welfare of adults over 50 years of age in Brooklyn. The first of its kind to address systemic issues affecting the growing population of aging Brooklynites—the vast majority of whom are people of color, the Fund brings together older adults and community-based nonprofits to support both proven strategies and innovative approaches.
Nine organizations are receiving general operating support grants of $45,000: Council of Peoples Organization, Flatbush Development Corporation, GRIOT Circle, Grow Brooklyn, The Guardianship Project, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, The Osborne Association, Release Aging People in Prison Campaign, and Spanish Speaking Elderly Council – RAICES.
This is the first round of strategic grants distributed in partnership with the Brooklyn Elders Fund Advisory Council, a group of 11 older adults from across Brooklyn who worked with the Foundation to evaluate grant proposals, conduct site visits, and ultimately recommend which organizations would receive funding.
The Foundation developed the fund’s focus areas following a series of 15 listening sessions with over 150 older adults across the borough, and two roundtables with experts from the elder care sector. The data and stories collected through the process determined the three funding focus areas: Access to Benefits and Entitlements, Aging in Place, and Promoting Elders’ Rights.
Priority consideration was given to organizations that center race in program design and measuring impact; position older adults as leaders and decision makers; frame their work around interconnected social issues and inequities; prioritize the most marginalized members of society; and work at the grassroots level in communities.
The Brooklyn Elders Fund is seeded with $10 million from two donor-established, endowed field of interest funds at Brooklyn Community Foundation: the CABS Community Foundation and the Fund for the Health & Integrity of Seniors.
2020 Brooklyn Elders Fund Grantees
Access to Benefits and Entitlements: Support for organizations working to alleviate systemic barriers to older adults connecting to benefits and entitlements.
- Council of Peoples Organization (COPO) provides ongoing case management and supportive services to the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian community, with a specific focus on serving older adults through their halal senior center and a halal meals-on-wheels program, the first in New York City.
- Spanish Speaking Elderly Council - RAICES provides a continuum of linguistic and culturally-relevant services for older adults across five Brooklyn senior centers, an outpatient behavioral health clinic, a case assistance program, and an in-development tele-mental health services model for homebound seniors.
Aging in Place: Support for organizations work to keep older Brooklynites in their homes, recognizing them as long-term leaders in their communities.
- Flatbush Development Corporation’s Flatbush Tenant Coalition organizes older adults across 300 buildings in Central Brooklyn, with a focus on educating the community on housing laws and tenants’ rights, advocating for policy change, and expanding access to entitlements and benefits.
- GRIOT Circle works to ensure that all LGBTQ+ elders of color experience a just and abundant quality of life through a variety of services within its adult daycare programs, monthly social and support groups, and outreach to homebound seniors—as well as through partnerships with other eldercare organizations to increase their competency of care around race, gender, sexual orientation, HIV/AIDS, and sexual health.
- Grow Brooklyn provides intensive outreach, compassionate counseling, and direct assistance aimed at keeping older adult homeowners in their homes in the face of financial exploitation, particularly in communities of color.
Promoting Elders’ Rights: Support for advocacy and direct-service organizations that address the gaps that exist in the legal and healthcare coverage of older adults
- The Guardianship Project works with older adults, caregivers, and systems to increase the availability of exemplary guardianship services, increase the use of alternatives to guardianship, and correct gaps in the guardianship system in order to enable self-determination and preserve dignity for older adults in the least restrictive setting possible.
- Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ)’s Caring Majority Coalition organizes older adults, people with disabilities, caregivers, and home health workers to ensure that all Brooklynites have access to covered long-term care that prioritizes racial and gender justice as well as age justice, and invests in the home care workforce for quality, family sustaining jobs.
- Release Aging People in Prison Campaign (RAPP) organizes older adults both in prison and in the community to bring systemic change to the parole process, advocating for fair and timely parole and an end to death by incarceration, so that they can positively influence the Brooklyn communities they once harmed
- The Osborne Association provides case management services for formerly incarcerated older adults and families of those currently imprisoned, advocates for sentencing and parole reforms, and trains older adults to use their experience in the justice system to become outspoken voices for change.
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 nearly $50 million in grants to more than 300 nonprofits in Brooklyn and beyond. Learn more at www.BrooklynCommunityFoundation.org.
Liane Stegmaier, VP of Communications