Brooklyn Community Foundation is pleased to announce the five organizations selected to receive its first annual Spark Prize, the only honor of its kind celebrating excellence and impact in Brooklyn’s thriving nonprofit sector.
Each of the five Spark Prize recipients will get $100,000 in general operating support from Brooklyn Community Foundation. The organizations were selected from a competitive pool of over 150 applicants by a distinguished committee of civic, business, and neighborhood leaders all hailing from Brooklyn. The Spark Prize Committee narrowed applications to 20 finalists, and then chose the five recipients following in person interviews with finalists.
Spark Prize Recipients
The Audre Lorde Project is an inter-generational organizing center for LGBT people of color that promotes community wellness and progressive social and economic justice in New York City. Founded in Brooklyn in 1996, it works with over 8,000 members; its work includes creating safety models against police brutality and hate crimes, as well as training small businesses, community organizations, and neighborhood leaders on de-escalation and safety strategies.
Common Justice is a restorative justice program of the Vera Institute of Justice that works with responsible parties and those harmed by violent crime in Brooklyn. Founded in 2008, it is the first and only alternative to incarceration program for violent crimes in the adult courts in the United States. It works with 16 to 24-year-olds to address the criminal justice system’s over-reliance on incarceration, to halt cycles of violence, and to meet the needs of victims of crime. To date, fewer than 8% of its participants have been terminated from the program for committing a new crime.
Make the Road New York is an immigrant-led organization that develops grassroots leadership to mobilize Latino and working class communities. It provides legal services, education, and employment access to achieve policy change. MRNY is dedicated to building community power and racial equity in Bushwick, where it was founded in 1997. It now has over 20,000 members and 200 staff working across New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.
The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) is a “museum without walls” that serves the African diasporan community through art exhibitions, education, and community programs to promote African diasporan art, racial equity, and social justice in Brooklyn. Founded in 1999, this year it is expanding from 2,000 sq. ft. to a new 20,000 sq. ft. headquarters in Fort Greene.
Neighbors Together is a dynamic soup kitchen, social service provider, and community center committed to ending hunger and poverty in Ocean Hill, Brownsville, and Bedford-Stuyvesant since 1982. It provides empowerment and community action programming to organize community members to advocate for policy change, in addition to serving 80,000 meals annually out of its community café.
Photo Credit: Jeyhoun Allebaugh/Inspired Storytellers Collective
Twenty nonprofit organizations were selected as finalists for Brooklyn Community Foundation’s inaugural Spark Prize, the first and only honor of its kind celebrating changemakers in the borough’s thriving nonprofit sector.
2016-17 Finalists (in alphabetical order):
- Arab-American Family Support Center
- Audre Lorde Project
- Black Women’s Blueprint
- Center for Community Alternatives
- Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions
- Children of Promise
- Common Justice
- Dance Theatre Etcetera
- Green City Force
- IMPACCT Brooklyn
- Make the Road New York
- Museum for Contemporary African Diaspora Arts
- Neighbors Together
- Reconnect Brooklyn
- Red Hook Community Justice Center
- Red Hook Initiative
- Turning Point Brooklyn
- United Community Centers
- YWCA of Brooklyn
Each of the 20 finalists received a $5,000 matching grant from Brooklyn Community Foundation on #GivingTuesday, November 29, 2016—the annual national day of giving observed the Tuesday after Thanksgiving—to incentivize greater contributions from local donors. The Foundation provided the match as part of the launch of a new annual local giving campaign called Brooklyn Gives, presented in partnership with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and local businesses including Brooklyn Industries.
The 2016-17 Finalists raised over $271,000 collectively through Brooklyn Gives on #GivingTuesday from 988 total donors! Learn more at www.BrooklynGives.org.