The Prize

The Spark Prize provides annual recognition and meaningful support to organizations with a strong track record of addressing critical challenges and opportunities in Brooklyn. We aim to celebrate organizations that demonstrate creativity and impact, strong institutional values, and a dynamic vision for the future of their work in Brooklyn and beyond.

The Prize is informed by Brooklyn Community Foundation’s mission to spark lasting social change by supporting organizations working toward greater equity and justice, with a critical focus on racial justice. Learn more about our inaugural Spark Prize recipients.


Award Details

Brooklyn Community Foundation will provide up to $600,000 in total funds to organizations applying this year. The 5 winning nonprofits will receive the $100,000 prize in general operating support grants distributed over a two or three year period. In addition, 20 finalist nonprofits will each receive up to $5,000 in matching funds on Giving Tuesday—the annual national day of giving observed the Tuesday after Thanksgiving—to encourage local donors to support their work.

Winners and finalists will be selected through a competitive application process by the Spark Prize Committee, a diverse group of distinguished civic, business, and neighborhood leaders hailing from Brooklyn.


  • Monday, April 10 – Friday, May 12, 2017: Online Applications Accepted
  • May 2017: Spark Prize Committee Announced
  • June – September 2017: Application Review by Committee
  • October 2017: 20 Finalists Announced
  • November 14 – December 4, 2017: Finalists Interviews
  • November 28, 2017: Brooklyn Gives on #GivingTuesday ($5,000 Matching Grants for Finalists)
  • January 2018: 5 $100,000 Spark Prize Recipients Announced


Winning Criteria

Finalists and Prize Winners will embody the following:


Born in Brooklyn

Organizations that have a deep history in Brooklyn and continued commitment to serving the borough.


Commitment to Equity

Organizations that address systemic challenges and are working toward racial and social justice for all Brooklynites.

Learn more about how we define racial justice.


Values Driven

Organizations that have strong, articulated values that permeate through all aspects of their work and align with Brooklyn Community Foundation’s five defining values: Courage, Respect, Honesty, Collaboration, and Creativity.

Learn more about how we define these values.


Vision for Future

Organizations that have a strong vision for the future of their work in Brooklyn and beyond.

2017 Eligibility + Application Guidelines

The online application includes a brief organizational description, 1000-word essay addressing the 4 Prize criteria, a 501c3 or MOU, most recently completed financial statement, bios of 3 key personnel, and a most recent IRS Form 990 by noon (12pm) on Friday, May 12, 2017.

To be eligible, organizations must meet each of the following requirements:

  • Serve the people and communities of Brooklyn
  • Be in operation for longer than five (5) years
  • Have a minimum organizational budget of $350,000
  • Have a 501c3 determination letter or a memorandum of understanding (MOU) from a fiscal sponsor
  • Have an active governing body

Please note:

  • Applications with missing documents and attachments will not be considered
  • Do not send press kits or additional materials by mail
  • We encourage organizations that are not current grantees of Brooklyn Community Foundation to apply

Frequently Asked Questions

View the Spark Prize Application FAQ for answers to common questions on eligibility, application content, committee review, and funding.