Who Will Lead?

May 10, 2013

Image courtesy of Jeffrey Putman  

This week, we’re thinking ahead. It’s a transition year for our city and borough. Soon we’ll be electing a new mayor and a new borough president, and with them, potentially, new visions for our communities.

So we’re wondering: what are you looking for in a leader for Brooklyn?

Should they be bold, and promote big ideas? Or be focused, and take on a few critical challenges? What should their priorities be for governing?

Our partners at the Brooklyn Bureau posed a similar question to a focus group of Brooklynites, including our own president, Marilyn Gelber, last month. The resulting article provides a strong policy blueprint for the next Borough President, with advice for using Brooklyn’s new standing to create more opportunity for all, engaging more residents in the civic life of the borough, better connecting our diverse communities, and making Brooklyn a leader on tough issues like education and the economy.

As Brooklyn continues its ascent, we at the Brooklyn Community Foundation believe in building a pipeline of locally-grown leaders to guide our borough through this time of change. Although we’re increasingly faced with two Brooklyns—shining wealth and shocking poverty—we believe that empowered leaders with a commitment to creating equity can reverse the trend and keep our borough a place that’s home to all.  

Through the foundation’s Community Development Fund, our donors have supported the We Are All Brooklyn (WAAB) Fellowship, which has trained over 130 emerging nonprofit and faith-based community leaders.

Above: WAAB Class of 2013 orientation at Brooklyn College last fall (left) and WAAB Class of 2012 (right)

WAAB is a coalition of more than 75 diverse local organizations, born in the aftermath of 9/11, working to strengthen Brooklyn by uniting communities, building partnerships, and advancing the next generation of leaders. The annual 10-month fellowship program, led by the Jewish Community Relations Council’s CAUSE-NY, recruits individuals committed to serving Brooklyn and becoming agents of change to provide extensive training, networking, and one-on-one meetings with experienced leaders.

In just a few short years, its alumni have made a big impact across our borough:

  • Amy Ellenbogen, WAAB ’08, is the Director of the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
  • Pastor Gil Monrose, WAAB '08, sits on the 67th Precinct Clergy Council, writes for the Daily News, and has met with President Obama’s staff to discuss his work in Brooklyn
  • Samuel Pierre, WAAB '08, serves as Mayor Bloomberg's North Brooklyn Borough Director
  • Kristin Woods, WAAB '12, was recently promoted to Deputy Director of the Brownsville Partnership
  • Dariana Castro, WAAB '13, is the new Associate Director for New School Model Development for the NYC Department of Education
  • Kady Ferguson, WAAB ‘13, will be the first Executive Director of the Brooklyn Food Coalition

Apply Now to Become a WAAB Fellow

Meet with city leaders, build a supportive network, and learn along with other passionate Brooklyn-based professionals. Learn more about how to apply at www.waab.org/getinvolved. Email MedeirosA@jcrcny.org or call 212-983-4800 x158 for more information. Deadline to apply is Friday, June 28th.

Share your ideas for Brooklyn's next leader:

Send us a message on Twitter at @DoGoodBklyn, post to our wall at Facebook.com/DoGoodBklyn or email us at press@brooklyncommunityfoundation.org

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Harborlore Festival Kick Off
Brooklyn Arts Council’s Harborlore Festival is a series of free dance, music and storytelling events taking place in various Brooklyn venues and waterfront locations exploring the role of water in the artistic traditions of the borough’s diverse immigrant and diaspora communities. Festivities start tonight at BAM with a tribute to Irving Burgie, songwriter of the world famous "Day-O.” 9-10:30pm, BAMcafé Live at Brooklyn Academy of Music, Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Avenue. Schedule and program details here.

Design Week Benefit for Brooklyn Recovery Fund
Thursday, May 16th, from 7-11PM, head to Soho to shop NYCxDesign Week and help raise funds for Brooklyn’s recovery after Superstorm Sandy. Designers Lindsey Adelman, Egg Collective, Jonah Takagi, UM Project, and VOLK, were encouraged to work with partners outside of their own firms or disciplines to address the idea of coming together in times of need. Proceeds from sales go to the Brooklyn Recovery Fund. 446 Broadway, 2nd Floor. Details and designers here.

B(oo)KS Drive
Through Monday, May 13th, Brooklyn Kindergarten Society is collecting books for its lending libraries. Books can be dropped off at Ridgewood Savings Bank, 244 Court Street (Cobble Hill), Half Pint Citizens, 41 Washington Street (Dumbo), J.McLaughlin, 218 Hicks St. (Brooklyn Heights) and Park Slope Copy, 123 Seventh Avenue (Park Slope). Details and locations here.