Giving Has Never Been More Delicious

November 25, 2011



Giving Has Never Been More Delicious

When people think of Brooklyn, a few things come to mind. There are the long-lost Dodgers, the legendary Bridge, and that down-home spirit. Then there is Junior’s world-famous cheesecake.

Junior’s is more than a restaurant. It is a family business, a Brooklyn tradition, and an American story.

Harry Rosen opened up the first Junior’s on election day in 1950. The restaurant quickly became a meeting place for politicians and local journalists, the orange booths a place to see, be seen, and to eat the creamy cheesecake.

Six decades later it has a booming online business and branches in Manhattan. But for Brooklynites, that original bright red sign on DeKalb and Flatbush Avenues remains a symbol of home.

This year, Harry’s grandson Alan Rosen, who now runs Junior’s, went looking for a partner to help give back to Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Community Foundation was a natural ally.

“A Brooklyn-based philanthropic organization is the way we wanted to go,” says Rosen. “Since our roots were in Brooklyn for over 61 years, it just makes sense. It’s our home. It’s our base. It’s where we got our legs about us.”

This year Junior’s Strawberry Swirl Holiday cheesecake will do more than bring the famous Brooklyn taste to tables around the country. In December, the restaurant will donate a percentage from each Holiday cheesecake sold in its Flatbush Avenue Extension, Times Square, and Grand Central locations to the Brooklyn Community Foundation.

“We’re always looking to give during the holidays, but we always had trouble deciding who gets what,” Rosen says. The Community Foundation took a weight off. By pairing with an able partner with deep knowledge of Brooklyn’s needs, and the organizations that meet them, Junior’s donation would go further.

The money will help support a vision of Brooklyn Junior’s and the Brooklyn Community Foundation share.

“Brooklyn to me has a real soul, and it beats every day. It’s a true community. It’s very big, but at the same time, it’s very small. Everyone who lives here feels like it’s theirs.”

- Junior's Alan Rosen

The Brooklyn Community Foundation helps to turn that feeling of ownership into philanthropy. Whether long established or recently settled, new and native New Yorkers turn to the Community Foundation to better their Brooklyn community. The Community Foundation’s longstanding relationships with many organizations here bolster efforts to improve Brooklyn from East New York to the Columbia Street Waterfront.

“This partnership with Junior’s can make a difference in the lives of our neighbors who are struggling to make ends meet this holiday season,” said Brooklyn Community Foundation President Marilyn Gelber. “In this case, it’s as easy as cheesecake to 'Do Good for Brooklyn.' We hope everyone who lives here, visits here, or just loves Brooklyn will take advantage of this appetizing opportunity to get a taste of Brooklyn and do an act of kindness at the same time.”

Rosen sees the partnership as the beginning of a new Junior’s tradition.

“Hopefully the partnership will work well this season and grow,” he says. “I hope 20, 30, 40 years on, my kids can keep doing this.”

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