Weeksville Heritage Center, Crown Heights Nonprofit Win $100K

The cultural institution and a longtime nonprofit helping victims of gender-based violence were among those given this year's Spark Prize.


CROWN HEIGHTS, BROOKLYN — The Weeksville Heritage Center and a longtime nonprofit helping victims of gender-based violence have gotten a $100,000 boost for their work advancing racial justice in the borough.

The Weeksville cultural institution and Black Women's Blueprint, found on Empire Boulevard, were among five nonprofits chosen for this year's Spark Prize, an annual award by the Brooklyn Community Foundation that celebrates racial and social justice advancements, the foundation announced.

"These nonprofits are among the best that Brooklyn has to offer and we are so grateful for all that they've done, and what more they will achieve!" Foundation President Dr. Jocelynne Rainey said late last week.

The foundation pointed to the Black Women's Blueprint for its work reaching 5,000 survivors and training 800 clinicians and medical personnel through its Sistas Van mobile health unit. The group, around since 2008, is most recently building a Reconciliation Center upstate to help Brooklyn women heal and give birth safely.

"The organization's Sexual Abuse to Maternal Mortality Pipeline report and institute has pioneered a campaign to desilo these movements and affirm the link between trauma healing and maternal health," the foundation writes.

The Weeksville Heritage Center was chosen for its role upholding the legacy of one of the largest free Black communities in the pre-Civil War era. The foundation pointed specifically to their resilience emerging from a financial crisis in 2019.

"The Weeksville Heritage Center is the steward of the historic Hunterfly Road Houses, and serves as an education space, community hub, and presenter of free or low-cost recreational and artistic programming—all with a nexus to the Weeksville legacy of self-determination," the foundation writes.

Each winner of the Spark Prize will get $100,000 in a "no strings attached" grant at an event hosted by the foundation in March at the Brooklyn Museum, according to the organization.

The 2022 awards are the seventh year the Brooklyn Community Foundation has handed out the prizes, which will also include 20 $5,000 matches for Spark Prize finalists as part of their Giving Tuesday campaign.

Here's a look at all the winners:

  • Arab American Association of New York
  • Black Women's Blueprint
  • Brooklyn Movement Center
  • Groundswell Community Mural Project
  • Weeksville Heritage Center