In keeping with its commitment to advancing racial equity, Brooklyn Community Foundation, the first and only public foundation in Brooklyn, announced today it will formally divest from all industries that do not promote racial equity and/or that disproportionately harm communities of color.
A short list of these industries might include private prisons, gun manufacturers and predatory lenders, all of which have had a devastating impact on communities of color and low-income communities in Brooklyn, said Cecilia Clarke, president and CEO of Brooklyn Community Foundation.
“Racial equity is core to our vision of a fair and just Brooklyn,” said Clarke. “This decision is critical to the Foundation’s ability to fully pursue its mission, and it will hopefully serve as a call to other institutions to do the same.”
[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Racial equity is core to our vision of a fair and just Brooklyn”[/perfectpullquote]
The divestment decision, which was approved by the Foundation’s Board of Directors in September, is effective immediately, although there is no immediate or anticipated impact on the Foundation’s portfolio performance due to the change.
“Our Board has a fiduciary responsibility to safeguard the financial resiliency of the Foundation, but we also have a responsibility to embody the values of Brooklyn’s communities,” said Brooklyn Community Foundation Board Chairman Alan Fishman.
Beginning in 2014, following a six-month, 1,000-person borough-wide engagement project, the Foundation adopted an institution-wide Racial Justice Lens that resulted in a new community-led strategy focused on youth, neighborhoods, nonprofits and racial justice. Additionally, the Foundation has launched a grantmaking program led by local residents with aim to invest in under resourced communities of color in Brooklyn, and it has provided free racial justice trainings for nonprofit leaders through its Brooklyn Accelerator initiative.
In the next year, Brooklyn Community Foundation will establish a Girls of Color Fund and a Racial Equity Fund to offer Brooklyn donors a way to directly support programs and advocacy efforts that advance racial equity in Brooklyn.