First and Only Community Foundation Focused Entirely on Brooklyn Builds Capacity to Help Improve Quality of Life in Brooklyn

The new Brooklyn Community Foundation—the first and only charitable organization of its kind in Brooklyn—is pleased to announce the addition of three new officers to the organization. Joining the Foundation are Philip Li as chief operating officer, Stephanie Hyacinth as vice president for development and Dara Lehon as vice president for communications.

“I am delighted to welcome our new talent to the Brooklyn Community Foundation,” said Marilyn Gelber, president of the Brooklyn Community Foundation. “We spent a long time researching the best candidates and believe that our new staff members each bring the skills, enthusiasm and commitment that will help us in our mission to improve the lives of people in Brooklyn.”

Philip Li joined in late August as the Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Li was formerly a philanthropic services consultant at Changing Our World, the Executive Director of the Coro New York Leadership Center and spent a dozen years on Wall Street starting at Merrill Lynch and finishing at Moody’s Investors Service as a junk bond analyst. He holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from The Wharton School.

“I hope my experiences helping build nonprofit leaders, develop financial models and consulting with nonprofits throughout the world will help drive the operations of the Brooklyn Community Foundation so it becomes an innovative foundation that truly represents its creative borough,” he said.

Stephanie Hyacinth, vice president for development, joined in September.  She brings more than 20 years of fundraising experience with a wide range of organizations, most recently at NPower.  Ms. Hyacinth has worked at nonprofits such as the Irvington Institute for Immunological Research and the YWCA of the City of New York, and was a consultant with Brakeley, John Price Jones, Inc. (now Brakeley Briscoe).  She holds a B.A. from Vassar College.

“Everyone – from small to large donors – can be a philanthropist with the Brooklyn Community Foundation.  We can all make a difference in our community.” she said.

Dara Lehon, vice president for communications, joined in late August. Formerly the manager of media relations and public affairs for the American Joint Distribution Committee, Deputy Executive Director of the Lower East Side BID and a consultant, Ms. Lehon also held marketing communications positions in the private sector at organizations including Smith Barney and BSMG Worldwide (now Weber-Shandwick). She has a B.A. from Binghamton University and is completing her M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University.

“Our goal is to let people know about the Brooklyn Community Foundation’s mission and encourage the broader “Brooklyn Community” to learn about ways to Do Good Right Here,” she said.

The Brooklyn Community Foundation, which launched officially on October 1, 2009, hopes to raise funds for Brooklyn from families, individuals, national and local foundations, and the business sector for its five major “fields of interest”: Community Development, Education and Youth Achievement, Caring Neighbors, Arts for All, and Green Communities.

To learn more about Brooklyn Community Foundation funds, the grant application process or to make a donation to Brooklyn’s future, visit or call 718.722.2300.

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The Brooklyn Community Foundation is a registered 501c (3) dedicated to improving the lives of people in Brooklyn through grantmaking and by encouraging local giving and community service. The first and only one of its kind in Brooklyn, the Foundation was founded in 2009 to support the borough’s most effective nonprofits in five Fields of Interest: Community Development, Education and Youth achievement, Caring Neighbors, Art for All, and Green Communities. Since 1998, operating as the Independence Community Foundation, the Foundation distributed over $70 million in grants throughout New York Metro area, nearly 70% was in Brooklyn. More information can be found at: