Neighborhood Strength

As wealth and development climb sharply in neighborhoods across the borough, many communities continue to struggle against decades of poverty and neglect. One in five Brooklynites lives below the Federal poverty line, and five of the 10 poorest census tracts in New York City are in Brooklyn.

Through Brooklyn Insights, we learned that residents are the true experts on the challenges and opportunities facing their communities.

Our Neighborhood Strength model seeks to increase our investment in under-resourced neighborhoods by empowering residents to identify key challenges and partner with us to create innovative solutions.

Creating a New Model

Our Goal

Mobilize local stakeholders to identify opportunities to strengthen their neighborhoods.


With our Neighborhood Strength model, we seek to invest in the infrastructure of communities through organizing, advocacy, and supporting outstanding nonprofits. To do this, we have developed a three step process:

1. Gather Community Stakeholders
2. Examine Community-wide Challenges and Opportunities
3. Identify Solutions and Deploy Resources

Our Strategy

In 2015, we launched Neighborhood Strength in the Foundation’s home of Crown Heights

Crown Heights is a dynamic, culturally rich neighborhood in the heart of Brooklyn. Over the decades, this distinct community has endured and thrived through cross-racial tensions, struggles for better public services and schools, and effects of rapid gentrification and development. Crown Heights' vibrant civic infrastructure is a proven tool for residents in building strong community partnerships, resilient local economies, and sustainable community spaces and culture. We seek to strengthen this infrastructure by galvanizing the expertise of residents and position them as key decisions makers.

Learn more about our approach: