BK Nonprofits Celebrated at Spark Prize Breakfast

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The five Brooklyn social justice nonprofits that won the Brooklyn Community Foundation’s 2022 Spark Award — an unconditional $100,000 grant — were celebrated with a recent breakfast at the Brooklyn Museum.

The event, which attracted more than 300 people from around the non-profit world of the borough, was hosted by actress, comedian and singer Ana Gastayer host, and also honored businesswoman, investor and philanthropist, Claire Wu Tsai.

But of course, the stars of the show were the five winning nonprofits: the Arab American Association of New York, Black Women’s Blueprint, the Brooklyn Movement Center, the Groundswell Community Mural Project and the Weeksville Heritage Center.

Dr. Jocelynne Rainey, President and CEO, Brooklyn Community Foundation, Spark Honoree Clara Wu Tsai, and Gregg Bishop, Executive Director, The Joe and Clara Tsai Social Justice Fund. Photo: Obed Obwoge/Brooklyn Community Foundation/Supplied.

When the winners were announced in January, BCF President and CEO Dr. Jocelynne Rainey said the nonprofits chosen had changed the borough for the better, “through their visionary work and to their commitment to racial justice”.

“These nonprofits are some of the best Brooklyn has to offer and we are so grateful for all they have done and what more they will accomplish,” Rainey said in a statement.

Each year, the foundation convenes a Brooklyn civic, business and philanthropic leaders committee to select the five winning Spark Prize nonprofits. The committee is awarding $600,000 in total: five general operating support grants of $100,000 to winners and twenty games of $5,000 to runners-up in the Foundation competition. #BrooklynGives on the Giving Tuesday campaign.

BCF launched the Spark Prize in 2016 to recognize pioneering nonprofits committed to racial and social justice in Brooklyn. In a statement, BCF said the borough is home to hundreds of nonprofit organizations led by and serving communities of color that are often overlooked by the city’s philanthropic sector and wealthy donors.

Guests at Spark Breakfast 2022. Photo: Obed Obwoge/Brooklyn Community Foundation/Supplied.

“With the Spark Award, the Brooklyn Community Foundation aims to shine a light on the borough’s leading racial and social justice organizations, while emphasizing the need to provide general operational support that gives nonprofits the flexibility and the resources they need to serve their communities and grow.

The five grand prize winners this year are:

Arab American Association of New York

Arab American Association of New York staff team: Salma Allam, Yafa Dias, Marwa Janini, Mary Hetteix. Photo: Obed Obwoge/Brooklyn Community Foundation/Supplied.

The Arab American Association of New York was founded in 2001 by Arab immigrants and Arab American leaders in Bay Ridge to advocate for the community in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Today, AAANY serves the Arab immigrant, refugee and Muslim communities of Brooklyn, helping more than 6,000 beneficiaries each year through its women’s empowerment and adult literacy programs, legal assistance in immigration, mental health and domestic violence support services, and youth programs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, AAANY shifted to virtual programming and transformed its office into a direct relief center, distributing more than 22,000 boxes of food and $450,000 in direct cash for customers in crisis, creating a laptop loan program and working with community partners to support victims of domestic violence.

Black women plan

Farah Tanis (Founder, Black Women’s Blueprint), Dr. Jocelynne Rainey (President and CEO, Brooklyn Community Foundation), Sevonna Brown (Co-Director, Black Women’s Blueprint)Photo: Obed Obwoge/Brooklyn Community Foundation/Supplied.

Black Women’s Blueprint was founded in Brooklyn in 2008, and is a lifeline for survivors of gender-based violence, and provides birth education and maternal health support. The Sexual Abuse to Maternal Mortality Pipeline report and institute pioneered a campaign to dismantle these movements and affirm the link between trauma healing and maternal health. Each year, it engages doulas, midwives, birth attendants and sexual assault advocates to reach 5,000 survivors in 50 different locations through its Sistas Van mobile health unit, and trains 800 clinicians and medical staff. Additionally, he is building a Reconciliation Center in upstate New York to provide Brooklyn women with a space to heal and give birth safely.

Brooklyn Movement Center

Brooklyn Movement Center staff team. Photo: Obed Obwoge/Brooklyn Community Foundation/Supplied.

Brooklyn Movement Center is a Black-led, membership-based organization of low-to-moderate income downtown Brooklyn residents, founded in 2011. BMC builds power and self-determination in the Black communities of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights by fostering local leadership, leading campaigns and achieving real improvements in people’s lives. Through intersectional organizing, BMC addresses a range of issues that define an entire community, including policing accountability and community safety, food sovereignty, environmental justice, anti-gentrification media production, electoral justice and social justice. organization of tenants.

Groundswell Community Mural Project

Robyne Walker Murphy, Executive Director, Groundswell Community Mural Project. Photo: Obed Obwoge/Brooklyn Community Foundation/Supplied.

Groundswell Community Mural Project was founded in 1996 to bring together artists, youth and community organizations to use art as a tool for social change. Its projects beautify neighborhoods, engage young people in societal and personal transformation, and express ideas and perspectives that are underrepresented in public dialogue. Each year, Groundswell engages over 450 young people, led by trained teacher artists and in partnership with dozens of community partner organizations, in delivering after-school, summer, school and community programs, including large-scale initiatives with NYCHA and at Rikers. Additionally, Groundswell hosts dozens of free events and programs, often youth-led, for the general public.

Weeksville Heritage Center

Anita Romero Warren and Weeksville Heritage Center President and CEO Dr Raymond Codrington, President and CEO. Photo: Obed Obwoge/Brooklyn Community Foundation/Supplied.

Weeksville Heritage Center defends the legacy of one of America’s largest free black communities from before the Civil War, using historic preservation, education, the arts and a social justice lens to keep this chapter alive. piece of American history relevant and resonant to contemporary audiences, especially black residents of central Brooklyn. The Weeksville Heritage Center is the steward of historic homes on Hunterfly Road and serves as an educational space, community center and presenter of free or low-cost recreational and arts programs, all in connection with the heritage of Weeksville self-determination. After emerging from a crippling financial crisis in 2019, Weeksville reestablished a record of fiscal responsibility under a new strategic plan and was included in New York City’s Esteemed Cultural Institutions Group in 2020.

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