Brooklyn Youth Grant $2.5M to BIPOC-Led Organizations Supporting Young People, Part of Brooklyn Community Foundation’s Racially Just Grantmaking Process

Initiative Marks Foundation’s Full Transition to Participatory Grantmaking


Sixteen Youth Advisory Council members, ranging in age from 16 to 24, helped select youth-serving nonprofit organizations to receive $2.5 million in grants from Brooklyn Community Foundation. Nearly three-quarters of the newly announced grantees are BIPOC-led. These grants mark the Foundation’s full transition to a participatory grantmaking approach

Participatory grantmaking gives decision-making power to community members who have lived experiences on the issues being addressed. The Foundation worked with young activists to choose which organizations would receive Invest in Youth grants. The process allows young people to determine where the money goes in their own communities and paves the way for Brooklyn’s future. 

“This is an exciting milestone for the Foundation as we fully transition to participatory grantmaking with this new round of Invest in Youth funding,” said Foundation President and CEO Jocelynne Rainey. “We are honored to share power with youth leaders, learning from them as we work together to further racial justice in our communities.”

The Youth Advisory Council members reviewed grant applications, conducted site visits, and made funding decisions throughout a four-month period. The Foundation’s grantmaking is informed by an equity filter that prioritizes organizations that are BIPOC-led, have relatively small budgets, and often face systemic barriers in accessing grants compared to white-led organizations. Grants are made possible through the continuous support of the Foundation’s donors who believe in addressing systemic racism and advocating for long-term change in Brooklyn.

Of the 55 organizations receiving funding:

  • 74% have Black, Indigenous, or people of color leadership 

  • 47% have Black leaders

  • 55% have budgets under $1 million


The organizations received funding under three categories: Youth Leadership, Youth Justice, and Immigrant Youth and Families. (See full lists of grant recipients below or by clicking the links). The grants prioritize the neighborhoods of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Bushwick, East New York, Coney Island, Crown Heights, Flatbush, East Flatbush, and Sunset Park—where COVID-19 has had outsized impacts on residents, creating further challenges, including for youth. 

“I know the problems faced by young people like me--queer, immigrant youth who are often disconnected from reources that can help them thrive. Nonprofits helped me succeed and I know they can and will support many other youth. Being part of the advisory council gave me the opportunity to be part of the solution to a more just world that creates opportunity for all,” said Brayan Pagoada, Youth Advisory Council member, and Deputy Director for Organizing, Churches United for Fair Housing.

“Youth often have their voices silenced, reduced, or minimized. The youth are the now—not just the future. Brooklyn Community Foundation recognizes that, creating and empowering the Youth Advisory Council and ensuring our voices are heard. At the end of the process, the grassroots nonprofits that are truly working to improve the lives of youth are funded,” said Daniel-José Cyan, Youth Advisory Council member, Bushwick resident, and student.

Invest in Youth, the Foundation’s largest annual strategic grantmaking program, aims to increase opportunities and improve outcomes for young people of color in Brooklyn. Each year, the initiative provides annual general operating support grants of $45,000 for a minimum three-year period to youth-serving organizations that focus on racial justice and are led by members of the communities they serve. Since 2015, Brooklyn Community Foundation has given $17 million through Invest in Youth.


Youth Leadership Grantees:

  • *America on Tech: To support the East New York/Brownsville Summer Tech Camp, and the Youth Design Center, a gateway for young people to learn marketable hard skills in STEAM, access post-secondary education, achieve mobility, and engage in place-based community revitalization. East New York, Brownsville

  • Audre Lorde Project: 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

  • Black Women's Blueprint: 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    

  • *Brooklyn College Community Partnership: To support an after school program that provides mentorship, access to Brooklyn College's resources, and dedicated, year-round academic and interdisciplinary support to under-resourced students across Brooklyn schools. Boroughwide

  • Brownsville Community Culinary Center: To support the culinary training and apprenticeship program for young people, ages 18-34, from Brownsville. Brownsville

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

  • Center for Anti-Violence Education: For comprehensive anti-violence, empowerment, and leadership programming for young people, including the expansion of services for LGBTQ homeless youth and service providers. Boroughwide

  • *Center for Urban Pedagogy: To support a program for high school students that centers on engaging young people to understand policies and structures that affect their neighborhood, promoting civic engagement and supporting their capacity as community leaders. Boroughwide

  • *Court Appointed Special Advocates of New York City (CASA-NYC): To support the Youth Leadership Council (YLC), a program of currently or formerly in foster care youth that plan advocacy and training activities, advise on policies and practices, and receive ongoing support regarding their own personal and professional development and stability while serving as advisors and ambassadors of CASA-NYC to volunteers and supporters, the broader child welfare/court community, and the general public. Boroughwide

  • *Educational Video Center: To support culturally-responsive documentary film and media arts programs for historically excluded youth who are disengaged with their education by teaching them documentary filmmaking to develop their artistic, critical literacy, and leadership skills. 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

  • Fifth Avenue Committee: For a leadership and advocacy program for NYCHA youth. Gowanus, Red Hook

  • *Genspace NYC: To support a STEAM youth development internship program where youth gain hands-on experience to learn, create, and grow with the life sciences. Sunset Park

  • Girl Be Heard: For multidisciplinary arts opportunities designed to engage young women in social justice education and develop their leadership skills. Boroughwide

  • Girls for Gender Equity: To advance advocacy strategies led by girls and young women of color and gender expansive youth of color focused on issues including gender based violence, sexism, and racism. Boroughwide 

  • *Green City Force: To support an environmental initiative that advances the city’s climate and equity goals, and connects high school graduates to employment opportunities and sectoral apprenticeships. Boroughwide

  • *Green Guerillas: To support a youth-driven training program that creates a pathway to employment and leadership within the food justice movement through skill-building workshops, and engagement with community gardeners and urban farms and leaders in the food justice movement. Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, East New York, Crown Heights, Flatbush

  • Groundswell Community Mural Project: 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

  • IntegrateNYC: To support the leadership and capacity of students working to end segregation in New York City public schools. Boroughwide

  • Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI): For the hospital-based violence interruption program and in-school and community-based discussion groups and workshops. East New York, Brownsville, Flatbush

  • *Red Hook Initiative: To support an initiative that promotes social and economic justice in Red Hook while cultivating local leadership and strengthening the future of youth development through academic support, leadership training, part-time employment, college guidance, emotional health support, opportunities, and services that prepare youths for a self-sufficient, civically-active adulthood. Red Hook

  • *Sadie Nash Leadership Project: To support programs that engage youth of color and their experiences to discuss race, identity, power, and privilege, and to build community, critical consciousness, and college and career readiness. Bedford Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Flatbush, East New York, Canarsie, Brownsville 

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

  • *Student Dream: To support programs for college-bound students of color that provide them with the necessary financial literacy skills to close the racial and economic gap which benefits their white counterparts. Boroughwide 

  • 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 

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

  • 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

  • *The Wyckoff House & Association, Inc.: To support innovative educational and farm-based programs that build cultural and agricultural connections within the community through the teaching of Brooklyn’s rich history as a leader in urban farming, with an emphasis on: community, the immigrant experience, supporting family, and understanding the health benefits of sustainable food. East Flatbush, Canarsi

  • Youth Advocacy Corps: To support YAC’s core youth advocacy programs: the Youth Advocacy Summer Institute and Mental Health Awareness Project. Boroughwide, East New York

  • 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+

 Youth Justice Grantees:

  • Brownsville Community Justice Center: 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 NuLeadership: For programs that divert neighborhood youth from arrest proceedings by developing pre-arrest diversion options for law-officers. Bedford Stuyvesant

  • Dignity in Schools Campaign: To support a citywide coalition of students, parents, advocates, educators, and lawyers calling for positive, school-wide approaches to discipline that improve the school environment, reduce conflict, and increase learning. Boroughwide 

  • 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

  • JLUSA: To empower court-involved youth to drive policy reforms, including #buildCOMMUNITIES Campaign to reinvest money divested from the NYC justice system through closure of Rikers back into communities to support proven community-based solutions and services. JLUSA was formerly known as “JustLeadershipUSA.” Boroughwide

  • *Recess Activities - to support a youth-led alternative to incarceration program that uses contemporary art to give voices to young people. Using visual storytelling, youth cohorts dismantle the narrative of the “criminal” in their community, creating long term solutions to catalyze generational wealth within their communities. Bedford Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Bushwick, Canarsie, Flatbush, Coney Island

  • S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective: To support youth leadership and development programs for systems-involved girls and young women in Brooklyn. Boroughwide

  • *Urban Youth Collaborative - to support a coalition focused on the advancement of school discipline reform through legislation aimed at reducing racial disparities and significantly limiting the use of suspensions. Boroughwide

  • Young New Yorkers: 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

  • Youth Justice Network: 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. Youth Justice Network was formerly known as “Friends of Island Academy.” Boroughwide

  • Youth Represent: 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

Immigrant Youth and Families Grantees:

  • Arab American Association of New York: 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 

  • Arab-American Family Support Center: For programs that strengthen Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian immigrant youth’s academic achievement, creative expression, and healthy behaviors. Boroughwide 

  • *The Brave House: To provide immigrant-friendly resources and services for survivors of gender-based violence, particularly young immigrant women and gender expansive youth. Boroughwide

  • DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving): To organize South Asian youth for campaigns focused on educational equity, economic justice, legalization, workplace rights, and an end to racial profiling and anti-immigrant enforcement. Flatbush, Midwood 

  • El Puente de Williamsburg: 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

  • *Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project: To support programs that serve Haitian immigrant youth to develop their capacity as productive community members, and understand their collective power to fight for their right to quality education, ensuring long-term access to other resources for a better life outcome. Boroughwide 

  • *Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy: To support a Cultural Arts program that provides multi disciplinary instruction and intergenerational programming that celebrates the rich heritage of the African Diaspora. Boroughwide

  • *ImmSchools: To support a program that advocates for the interest of the immigrant community by creating internships for students that do not qualify for city programs, including undocumented students. Boroughwide

  • Make the Road New York: 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: 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

  • Safe Passage Project: For free legal services and representation to meet the unmet needs of immigrant and undocumented children in partnership with community high schools. Boroughwide

*Indicates First-Year Grantee

+Partially funded by ELMA Music Foundation


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’s charitable community, 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