Visiting Rikers | Expanding Resident-led Grantmaking to Sunset Park + More from Your Community Foundation

July 28, 2016

We Visited Rikers Island to Learn About Challenges Facing Incarcerated Youth

Last month our Program Team and Board member Sarah Williams visited Rikers Island and met with leaders from the Department of Corrections who are overseeing reforms affecting 16 to 21-year-olds. On our blog and at, Sarah Williams reflects on the various factors that contribute to youth incarceration  and what we can do to ensure they get a second chance.

Youth Voice Award Recipient Premieres Play on Race and Policing

This week, 17-year-old Shaqur Williams will help premiere "All American Boys," a new play at Park Slope's M.S. 51. He received a grant from our Brooklyn Youth Fellowship's Youth Voice Awards to support the play, which engages young actors in a story about a black teenager and a white teenager living in the same community and the way police officers approach them.


Save the Date: Invest in Youth Dinner

Mark your calendar to join us Tuesday, September 27 for our annual Invest in Youth Dinner at the Wythe Hotel, featuring a conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and immigrant activist Jose Antonio Vargas.

Tickets will go on sale next week

The Atlantic Highlights Brooklyn Restorative Justice Project

Last month, The Atlantic published an article that cites progress already made at one of our Brooklyn Restorative Justice Project partners school in its first year of implementation:

At Ebbets Field Middle School in Brooklyn, which adopted restorative justice this past school year thanks to a grant from the Brooklyn Community Foundation, suspensions have dropped by more than 30 percent compared with the year before, according to Michelle Patterson Murray, an assistant principal at the school. In touting the approach’s effectiveness, she cited a recent incident in which a student stole an item. “Rather than call her parents or apply for a suspension, we sat in a circle and talked about how her action damaged the trust of the community,” Patterson said.

Our Project Evaluator Anne Gregory, PhD is also interviewed extensively in the article. Dr. Gregory is working closely the four schools in the Project and their restorative justice providers to establish benchmarks, monitor outcomes, and measure success.

Mayor de Blasio Credits Foundation in New School Climate Recommendations 

Last week, the de Blasio Administration announced the second phase of its roadmap to promote safe schools and end overly punitive school discipline policies. In the School Climate Leadership Team’s report, the Mayor thanks the Foundation for its investment in restorative justice. Read it here.

Upcoming Event at Brooklyn Museum: How to Transform School Discipline

Join renowned restorative justice leader Fania Davis (above left), critically acclaimed author Monique Morris (above right), and members of our Brooklyn Restorative Justice Project for a panel on Saturday, September 24 at 2pm, presented by the Foundation in partnership with the Elizabeth Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

RSVP here 

The Next Phase of Our Resident-led Grant Program

We’re excited to announce that we’ll be expanding our Neighborhood Strength model to Sunset Park this fall, as we continue to deepen and refine our efforts in Crown Heights. 

Leading this effort will be Piper Anderson, an artist, educator, and founder of Create Forward, a consultancy that uses design thinking in community engagement work. Piper will work with residents in Crown Heights and Sunset Park to develop their vision for a stronger neighborhood and inform how the Foundation can steer funding for sustainable change.

Apply Today: Fellowship for Crown Heights and Sunset Park Residents

We are currently seeking applicants for our new Neighborhood Strength Fellowship to provide critical support on the next stage of our resident-led grantmaking model in Crown Heights and Sunset Park. One Fellow will be selected in each neighborhood. People of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply, especially seniors and youth.

The deadline to apply is Friday, August 5 for Crown Heights and Friday, September 1 for Sunset Park