Our Grantmaking Programs
We partner with donors, nonprofits, and community leaders to design strategic grantmaking and special initiatives that advance racial justice and address critical issues facing Brooklyn's communities.
BROOKLYN ACCELERATOR / SPARK PRIZE
Brooklyn’s hub for celebrating and strengthening our vibrant nonprofit sector. Includes the annual $100,000 Spark Prize for Brooklyn nonprofits, the boroughwide #BrooklynGives on Giving Tuesday campaign, the Incubator Project for startup organizations, a monthly nonprofit newsletter, free capacity building support for grantee partners, holistic support for women, transgender, and gender expansive leaders of color, and connections to information and resources for all nonprofits. In October 2021, we announced the Cecilia Clarke Fund for Nonprofit Leaders – an endowed fund that will provide capacity building resources to grantees led by people of color.
BROOKLYN COVID-19 RESPONSE FUND
Launched in March 2020, the single largest community-funded initiative in the Foundation’s history, the Fund has committed over $6.5 million to address urgent needs and invest in long-term structural change in communities of color that have endured unjust impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 200 organizations have received support through the following grantmaking areas: Immediate Response Grants (March - July 2020), Sustainability Enhancement Grants for existing grantees (March - July 2020), Vaccine Education and Outreach (Spring 2021), Immediate Response Renewals (Spring 2021), and Community-led Social Change (2021-2026).
BROOKLYN ELDERS FUND
Seeded by two endowed Funds held at Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Brooklyn Elders Fund is the first of its kind to tackle issues affecting aging Brooklynites. The fund brings together older adults, policymakers, and community-based nonprofits to support both proven strategies and innovative approaches to providing the care and support that our aging population needs. Led by a council of Brooklynites 55+, grants support three areas of focus: Aging in Place, Promoting Elders’ Rights, and Access to Benefits and Entitlements.
IMMIGRANT RIGHTS FUND
Created by Foundation donors shortly after the 2016 Presidential Election, the Fund has deployed nearly $2 million to local immigrant rights organizations for immediate and long-term needs, from legal assistance, community safety, social services, and advocacy. Its current iteration, conducted in partnership with an advisory council of immigrant and first-generation Brooklynites, provides support to expand legal rights for immigrants, expand benefits and entitlements for immigrants, and direct services and navigation support for immigrants whose primary language is not one of the 10 designated citywide languages.
INVEST IN YOUTH
The Foundation’s primary grantmaking and community leadership initiative focuses on creating better opportunities and a stronger future for Brooklyn’s next generation—particularly young leaders of color. Grants support youth leadership and development, youth justice programs and reforms, and immigrant youth and families. Each year, in partnership with an advisory council of youth aged 16-24, we award $2.5 million in grants to 50+ youth-serving nonprofits across Brooklyn.
In addition to our strategic Grantmaking Initiatives, the Foundation takes on special initiatives to respond to unique challenges and partnership opportunities across Brooklyn. Recent efforts include the Wellness and Recovery Fund in partnership with the Office of the NY State Attorney General and the #MakeBrooklynCount in partnership with the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President.
The Wellness and Recovery Fund, launched in 2021, supports organizations working to ensure that those who navigate the difficult road of substance abuse and addiction do so with reliable support that honors their agency and dignity. The fund is providing over $2.2 million in grants for dignity-centered direct services, expansion and innovation of harm reduction programs and services, and systems change efforts focused on agency policies and service delivery protocols and dignity-centered narrative shifting work.