Five Brooklyn-based nonprofit organizations will receive $100,000 each in grant support for their leadership in “sparking change” throughout the borough, announced Brooklyn Community Foundation on Friday.

Brownsville Community Justice Center, Children of Promise, The Noel Pointer Foundation, the North Brooklyn Coalition and Sadie Nash Leadership Project were chosen as the 2020 recipients of BCF’s annual Spark Prize for their creative and effective approaches to advancing racial and social justice.

“Once again, the Spark Prize process has offered us the immense privilege of learning more about the diverse array of exceptional organizations working to make Brooklyn a more fair and just place for all,” said Cecilia Clarke, president of Brooklyn Community Foundation. “We are proud to extend this year’s Spark Prize to five nonprofits that have made an incredible difference in the lives of Brooklyn’s children, youth, and families for decades through truly unique and exceptional program models.”

The winners were selected from a competitive pool of more than 120 applicants by a committee of 35 Brooklyn civic, business and community leaders.

The 2019-2020 Spark Prize cycle started in April 2019 with an open call to Brooklyn nonprofits to submit a 1,000-word essay demonstrating their deep history in Brooklyn and continued service to the borough; commitment to equity and racial justice for all Brooklynites; strong organizational values; and vision for the future of their work in Brooklyn and beyond.

To be eligible, organizations had to have annual operating budgets over $350,000 and be in operation for at least five years. More than 120 applications were reviewed by a committee of 35 Brooklyn civic, business and community leaders, who narrowed submissions to 20 finalists, and then chose the five winners following in-person interviews.

“Congratulations to all, and a huge thank you to our Spark Prize Committee for their hard work and dedication,” said Clarke.

ABOUT THE 2020 SPARK PRIZE WINNERS

Founded in 2011, The Brownsville Community Justice Center (Justice Center) is a multi-faceted initiative that seeks to re-engineer how the justice system works in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The Justice Center addresses systemic inequities by helping young people disengage from the justice system and discover routes to economic security, so they can, in turn, reinvest in their community. Annually, the Justice Center engages over 500 youth, nearly 2,000 residents, and dozens of local businesses in job training and entrepreneurship programs, community events and revitalization projects, community service activities, and court-mandated diversion programs.

Founded in 2007, Children of Promise, NYC (CPNYC) empowers children of incarcerated parents to break the cycle of intergenerational involvement in the criminal justice system. CPNYC offers a broad array of services in a safe supportive space where young people, ages 6-18, can share similar experiences. CPNYC co-locates a licensed mental health clinic and a comprehensive array of youth services in the same program site. CPNYC annually serves 350 children, and their families, through after school, summer day camp, mentoring, mental health and family engagement services.

Founded in 1995 to honor the legacy of violinist Noel Pointer, The Noel Pointer Foundation (NPF) enriches the lives of children of color in under-served communities by connecting them with music education and performance opportunities. Through a combination of in-school programming in partnership with 36 public schools, and onsite after school, Saturdays, and Summer Strings Programming at its Bedford Stuyvesant headquarters, NPF provides year-round beginner through pre-professional instruction in violin, viola, cello, double bass, classical guitar, and piano to over 2,000 young people each year.

Founded in 1998, the North Brooklyn Coalition (the Coalition) addresses systemic racism, institutional injustice, and cultural barriers facing survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault by creating a community-based support network. The Coalition provides free services including case management, therapy, and support groups, and engages communities through outreach, education and workshops. Over the last three years, the number of survivors the Coalition reached has increased by nearly 70%, and in 2019, it launched a Legal Program and a Rape Crisis Advocate Program, to ensure survivors receive appropriate, trauma-informed and holistic legal representation.

Founded in 2001, Sadie Nash Leadership Project (SNLP) equips, strengthens, and supports young women and gender-expansive youth of color to be agents of change in their lives and in the world. Each year, SNLP works with over 600 participants, ages 11-22 to build community, critical consciousness, and college and career readiness through afterschool classes, a Summer Institute, paid community-based internships, advanced-level fellowships, college access and persistence support, and opportunities for organizational stewardship.


This year’s five winners will be honored at the Spark Breakfast on Thursday, February 27, from 8:00am-10:00am, at BAM Lepercq Space in Brooklyn.

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