What are you looking for in terms of content in our application?
Please provide a clear overview of your organization’s mission and its impact in the brief 200-word organization summary description. Applying organizations should be able to clearly address all application criteria in the Narrative in the space allotted. There are three Application Criteria that we would like you to detail within this word count: Born in Brooklyn, Commitment to Equity, and Vision for the Future.
How are you assessing an organization’s commitment to equity?
The Foundation centers our work with a racial justice lens due to disparities in opportunities and access that are caused by structural and systemic issues rooted in racism and other forms of oppression that have impacted the Brooklyn community. The Spark Prize committee assesses whether organizations use race and other forms of identities to understand these structural challenges and create forward-thinking solutions to disrupt traditional hierarchies of power in favor of empowering our communities of color.
We are “born” in Brooklyn but our vision for the future is expanding beyond the borough. How does that impact our application?
If your organization continues to serve Brooklyn and satisfies the other eligibility requirements, then you are eligible to apply. You can discuss your organization’s history in Brooklyn and your vision for your organization’s future in the Narrative. It is highly recommended that you highlight how your work in Brooklyn is part of the vision.
If we are a current Brooklyn Community Foundation grantee, can we apply?
Yes, current and past grantees are eligible to apply.
Are schools eligible to apply?
No, schools are not eligible to apply.
Our program has been in operation longer than five years, but we just became a separate 501c3 entity more recently. Can we apply?
Your organization can apply if it can demonstrate five years of nonprofit service in Brooklyn, either as an independent organization, under an umbrella organization or a fiscal sponsor. For 501c3 organizations that have spun off from umbrella nonprofits within the past five years, please detail that relationship in your application narrative. All applying organizations must provide their most recent 990 Form showing an operational budget of $200,000 or more. This award is not for emerging organizations.
Is there a maximum operations budget for applying organizations?
There is no maximum budget requirement, only a minimum.
We are a national organization but have been operating in Brooklyn for more than five years and our fiscal sponsor is based in another city. Are we eligible?
The Spark Prize is designed to honor organizations with a long history in Brooklyn. As such, all organizations that can demonstrate this are encouraged to apply, however the most competitive applications come from organization that are founded and headquartered in Brooklyn.
My organization has programming in Brooklyn but is based in Manhattan. Are we eligible?
If your programs serve the people of Brooklyn and can satisfy the other eligibility requirements, including a deep history of programming in Brooklyn, you are eligible to apply.
We understand that the Spark Prize award is general operating support. However, if we have a specific program that aligns with the Prize criteria, can we submit a project support request?
Your organization can choose to focus your Narrative on a particular program or project if it specifically aligns with the criteria. However, if your organization is selected, funds will be awarded as general operating support.
Questions about constituent demographics share private information on our clients. How should we respond when the questions are required in the application?
We appreciate the need for confidentiality and hope that the aggregate number will not violate any constituent’s privacy.
Can we submit videos, press clips or kits?
No, please do not send or attach videos, press clips, newsletters, or promotional materials. Any attachments other than those requested will not be reviewed and will be discarded.
My organization is well known in the community, and I understand that the Foundation has a recusal policy in place for Spark Committee members. How will you ensure that an organization’s application is read by enough people?
Spark Committee members are required to complete and sign a Disclosure of Affiliations in which they must state any affiliations with organizations applying for the Spark Prize. Members will be asked to recuse themselves if they have a material conflict. We ensure that at least three Committee members read and score each application.
What does Giving Tuesday entail?
All applicants will be featured during our Giving Tuesday campaign to encourage local donors to give to Brooklyn nonprofits that day. The Foundation will provide support and guidance to help applicants maximize the Giving Tuesday match and surrounding promotions. The Foundation will match up to $5,000 per organization of funds raised on Giving Tuesday for the 20 Finalists.
If an organization is a Finalist, does the organization’s ability to raise the Giving Tuesday match affect its chances in the final round?
No, it will not affect the organization’s chances in the final round of selecting the winners.
Who is the appropriate person to represent the organization at the Finalist interviews?
Interview participants are chosen at your discretion and can be anyone who is able to represent your organization effectively, such as a member of your executive or program staff, a constituent or client, or a Board member. We request no more than three representatives per organization.
What are expectations regarding reporting from the Spark Prize winners?
We ask organizations to submit a short grantee report at the end of the year and participate in an exit visit that captures stories of how the Prize helps transform or propel organizations, and any feedback to refine the Prize for future years.