A Message from Cecilia Clarke

October 3, 2013

Pictured: New Brooklyn Community Foundation President Cecilia Clarke (center) with staff.  

Dear Friend,

It is my pleasure to write to you as I embark on my new role as President and CEO of Brooklyn Community Foundation. First, I want to extend my gratitude to the Board of Directors and my predecessor Marilyn Gelber for their leadership. It is an honor to take the helm of an organization that has repeatedly responded to the needs of the community, most recently demonstrated by its swift and prescient actions in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. 

Before becoming the Foundation’s President, I had the privilege of leading the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, an organization I founded in my dining room in Brooklyn. In 2003—just my second year (and still in my dining room)—Brooklyn Community Foundation provided critical institutional funding and endorsement; its ongoing support has helped build what is now an award-winning nonprofit empowering thousands of young women in two major cities to become leaders and agents of change. 

This belief in the innovative potential of new organizations is one of Brooklyn Community Foundation’s unique and exceptional qualities. The Foundation is consistently out in front, among the first to propel nonprofits to take bold steps in improving lives and communities.

In addition to my connection as a grantee, I am invested in the Foundation’s mission because I know Brooklyn is a special place. I have lived here for 25 years, raising three children, and, like you, cherish its beauty, neighborhoods, and people. Yet Brooklyn has daunting social challenges—acute poverty, soaring inequality, struggling schools—at a time when, as Sandy proved, our environmental security is increasingly in peril.

Brooklyn Community Foundation is a dynamic engine for good. In pairing the power of local giving with a coalition of community voices, we are making Brooklyn a model for high-impact philanthropy and social innovation—to overcome these challenges in pursuit of a Brooklyn that is culturally rich, socially just, and economically equitable. 

My story of founding Sadie Nash is like many organizations that got their start here in Brooklyn. I hope to further this legacy with your help, while developing and sharpening effective new channels for the Foundation’s resources.

Much work lies ahead, and I cannot wait to get started with you.


Cecilia Clarke
President & CEO
Brooklyn Community Foundation