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 a commitment to equity and racial justice, creativity and impact, strong institutional values, and a dynamic vision for the future of their work in Brooklyn and beyond.
The Prize is named for and informed by Brooklyn Community Foundation’s mission to spark lasting social change for a fair and just Brooklyn. Learn about previous Spark Prize recipients.
Brooklyn Community Foundation provides up to $600,000 in total funds to organizations through the Spark Prize process annually.
Five nonprofits will be selected to receive the $100,000 Spark Prize, provided as general operating support grants distributed over a two or three year period.
Additionally, 20 Finalists for the Spark Prize will each receive up to $5,000 in matching funds through our #BrooklynGives on Giving Tuesday campaign to encourage local donors to support their work.
Winners and Finalists are selected through a competitive application process by the Spark Prize Committee, a diverse group of distinguished civic, business, and neighborhood leaders hailing from Brooklyn.
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.
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.
Vision for Future
Organizations that have a strong vision for the future of their work in Brooklyn and beyond.
- April 2, 2018: Online Application Opens
- April 16, 2018: Application Clinic at Brooklyn Community Foundation
- May 11, 2018: Applications Due by 12PM
- May 2018: Spark Prize Committee Announced
- June – September 2018: Application Review by Committee
- October 2018: 20 Finalists Announced
- November 14 – December 4, 2018: Finalists Interviews
- November 27, 2018: #BrooklynGives on Giving Tuesday ($5,000 Matching Grants for Finalists)
- January 2019: Five $100,000 Spark Prize Winners Announced
- February 2019: Spark Prize Celebration
2018 Eligibility + Application Guidelines
The online application includes a brief organizational description, 1000-word essay addressing the four Prize criteria, a 501c3 or MOU, most recently completed financial statement, bios of three key personnel, and a most recent IRS Form 990 by noon (12pm) on Friday, May 11, 2018.
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
- 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.
Spark Prize Applicants Can Register Early for #BrooklynGives!
This year, #BrooklynGives is open to all Brooklyn nonprofits to participate! Our goal is to raise over $1 million for Brooklyn nonprofits in just 24 hours on Giving Tuesday, November 27, 2018.
What is #BrooklynGives? Created in 2016, #BrooklynGives is Brooklyn’s first and only boroughwide day of giving to encourage all Brooklynites to GIVE WHERE THEY LIVE! #BrooklynGives is an exciting way to boost your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts and visibility across Brooklyn on Giving Tuesday—the year’s biggest single day of giving. #BrooklynGives provides local nonprofits the opportunity to reach potential new donors through the increased visibility that only a boroughwide effort of this kind can generate. Learn more at www.BrooklynGives.org
We are opening #BrooklynGives early registration exclusively to Spark Prize applicants this Spring! As a Spark Prize applicant, you’ll have early access to customized support, in person workshops, and exclusive social media downloads to maximize your participation and the amount you raise on Giving Tuesday. Plus, if your organization is selected as one of the 20 Finalists for the Spark Prize, you will have the opportunity to leverage $5,000 in #BrooklynGives matching funds from Brooklyn Community Foundation!
It’s free for any Brooklyn nonprofit to participate—and all organizations will have the opportunity to receive special challenge funds and fun prizes for their donors!
To sign up for #BrooklynGives, simply follow the link to the short registration page once you’ve submitted your Spark Prize application.