Award-winning journalist Elaine Welteroth moderated a fireside chat with Abrams focused on Census 2020 and how to raise financial support for high impact social justice nonprofits across the borough
BROOKLYN, NY - Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and founder of Fair Count, Stacey Abrams headlined Brooklyn Community Foundation’s annual Invest In Brooklyn Dinner— a benefit for the organization’s racial and social justice work that took place at the Weylin on Friday, October 18th. Founded in 2009, the Foundation has distributed nearly $50M to community-based organizations across the borough, making it the largest social justice funder for Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Community Foundation President and CEO Cecilia Clarke welcomed guests and discussed the shared vision and impact between the Foundation and Fair Count, the nonprofit Abrams launched earlier this year to get out the count for Census 2020 in Georgia.
Ms. Clarke began by saying, “We are so honored to be joined by one of the most exciting and influential leaders fighting for our country’s future: Stacey Abrams.” She went on to say, “Ten years ago, Brooklyn had the lowest mail return rate on the Census in the country, and was the hardest-to-count county in all of New York State. As the largest county in New York, this makes Brooklyn ground zero for getting out the count in 2020.” Ms. Clarke highlighted the work the Foundation has led to ensure a fair count. “We have become a leading census advocate, pushing the city and state to secure more than $60M for Census outreach driven by community-based organizations.”
NY Times bestselling author and former Teen Vogue Editor-In-Chief, Elaine Welteroth moderated a fireside chat with Ms. Abrams where they discussed the importance of the 2020 Census as well as issues surrounding electoral justice and voting rights. When Ms. Welteroth noted in her introduction that Ms. Abrams was “the first Black woman nominated for the governorship of Georgia,” Ms. Abrams interrupted her. “The first Black woman to be nominated for the governorship by a major party in American history,” before going on to tell the cheering audience, “No - y’all should not clap for that. It’s been 242 years.”
When Ms. Abrams was asked, “What is the connection between your work on the Census and your work on voting rights? Where do you find the through line?” she said, “the Census is the most urgent issue of 2020...it is as urgent as the presidency.” She went on to say that “taking the Census seriously, believing that it is a question of our survival, is essential because if we lose the count, we not only lose political power, we lose resources. $800 billion dollars will be allocated and if it does not come to the communities that need it the most, it will harm those communities not for a decade, but for a generation. If we erase people from the narrative of who we are, we erase them from the future of our country.”
One of the evening’s many highlights was when Ms. Abrams discussed the resistance she faced while running for Governor in 2018. Abrams said “ignore them all.” She went on to say, “I am a sturdy Black woman with natural hair and no husband and I did a damn good job in my election,” for which she received a standing ovation.
The evening concluded with Brooklyn Community Foundation’s newest board member Aisha Moodie-Mills, a political strategist, CNN Analyst and former Victory Fund CEO, reiterating the Foundation’s impact in Brooklyn. She said Brooklyn Community Foundation “is doing the work of saving lives on a day-to-day basis in the borough. Around the country people are hiding in churches because the Trump White House is trying to hunt them out, send them off and take away their children. The investments you make today save lives and seed social and racial justice work across the borough.”
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 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
About Elaine Welteroth
Elaine Welteroth is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning journalist, and the former Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue. Throughout her magazine career Welteroth broke new ground as the youngest person and the second African-American to hold this title in Condé Nast’s 107-year history. Under her leadership, Teen Vogue notably increased coverage of news and politics, encouraging readers to become civically engaged, specifically during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. She's now a leading expert, advocate and voice for the next generation of change-makers. She has written for the hit show Grown-ish and has appeared on-camera for a range of media outlets including ABC News and Netflix. She can currently be seen as a judge on Bravo’s Project Runway alongside Brandon Maxwell, Nina Garcia, Christian Siriano and Karlie Kloss. Welteroth just released her first book this summer, “More Than Enough,” published by Viking Press
About Stacey Abrams
Stacey Abrams is a New York Times bestselling author, serial entrepreneur, nonprofit CEO and political leader. After serving for eleven years in the Georgia House of Representatives, seven as Minority Leader, in 2018, Abrams became the Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia, when she won more votes than any other Democrat in the state’s history. Abrams was the first black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States. After witnessing the gross mismanagement of the 2018 election by the Secretary of State’s office, Abrams launched Fair Fight to ensure every Georgian has a voice in our election system. Over the course of her career, Abrams has founded multiple organizations devoted to voting rights, training and hiring young people of color, and tackling social issues at both the state and national levels including Fair Count—to ensure that the 2020 Census is fair, accurate, and counts everyone.
She is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the 2012 recipient of the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award, and a current member of the Board of Directors for the Center for American Progress. Abrams has also written eight romantic suspense novels under the pen name Salena Montgomery, in addition to Lead from the Outside, formerly Minority Leader, a guidebook on making real change.
Abrams received degrees from Spelman College, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and Yale Law School. She and her five siblings grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi and were raised in Georgia.
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