Winners were chosen by a committee of esteemed Brooklynites, including Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Dr. Uche Blackstock and Maya Wiley, among others
BROOKLYN, NY — The Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation’s Social Justice Fund and Brooklyn Community Foundation announced today the recipients of the inaugural Just Brooklyn Prize, a new $100,000 annual award to celebrate five outstanding BIPOC champions in the fight for racial justice in Brooklyn. Each winner of the Just Brooklyn Prize will receive an unrestricted $20,000 grant in recognition of their contributions to the pursuit of racial and social justice in the borough.
Representing a diversity of backgrounds and professional pursuits – journalism, women’s healthcare, economic development, and community organizing – the winners will be honored with an award ceremony at Barclays Center on September 18 featuring a keynote address by Brooklyn-native Patrick Gaspard, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for American Progress.
The 2023 recipients of the Just Brooklyn Prize are:
- Debra Ack, Founding Member, East NY Community Land Trust
- La'Shawn Allen-Muhammad, Executive Director, Central Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation
- Samora Coles, Founder, Alex House Project
- C. Zawadi Morris, Founder, BK Reader
- Chanel Porchia-Albert, Founder, Ancient Song Doula Services
“Sparking real change requires visionary leaders. The five winners of the inaugural Just Brooklyn Prize have helped make our borough a beacon in the fight for racial justice and we are deeply grateful to them,” said Jocelynne Rainey, President and CEO of Brooklyn Community Foundation. “We are so proud to partner with the Social Justice Fund in this new endeavor to celebrate and invest in amazing Brooklyn changemakers, and we are grateful to the Selection Committee who had such a difficult task of choosing from such a competitive nomination pool.”
“The Just Brooklyn Prize recipients are on the ground combating some of the most pressing social justice issues of our time, from every angle, right here in Brooklyn,” said Clara Wu Tsai, founder of the Social Justice Fund and owner of the Brooklyn Nets, New York Liberty, and Barclays Center. “They lead by example and we are pleased to support their work."
The 2023 Just Brooklyn Prize winners were chosen by a selection committee of Brooklynites, including:
- Dr. Uche Blackstock, Founder and CEO, Advancing Health Equity
- Sharon Daughtry, Executive Director, Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance
- Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson, President, Auburn Theological Seminary
- Randy Peers, President and CEO, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
- Antonio Reynoso, Brooklyn Borough President
- Ouigi Theodore, Creative Director and Founder, The Brooklyn Circus
- Maya Wiley, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
- Angela Yee, Host, Way Up With Angela Yee
- Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director, Asian American Federation
Following the award ceremony, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steve Reich’s famed and rarely staged Counterpoint works will be performed in Ticketmaster Plaza at Barclays Center. The trio of pieces, written for clarinet, cello and guitar, will feature three different musical directors, including Anthony McGill, principal clarinet for the New York Philharmonic.
About the Social Justice Fund
The Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation launched the Social Justice Fund in 2020 in Brooklyn, New York, with a commitment to fight for racial justice and plan for the economic recovery of the Borough in the post-Covid era. Driven by a $50 million commitment over ten years, the Social Justice Fund has provided small-business loans to local BIPOC-owned businesses impacted by COVID and provides grants to community leaders working to combat racial injustice.
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, working in partnership with generous donors and local leaders to advance racial justice and invest in community-led change. Since its founding in 2009, the Foundation and its donors have provided over $90 million in grants to hundreds of nonprofits in Brooklyn and beyond. Learn more at www.BrooklynCommunityFoundation.org.