Pictured (left to right): Patricia Francois, Christine Lewis and Samantha Lee of Domestic Workers United, Vasudha Gupta and Anurag Gupta of Be More, and Marlon Peterson of The Precedential Group.
BROOKLYN, June 25, 2015 – Brooklyn Community Foundation is pleased to announce the inaugural cohort of its Incubator Project for emerging nonprofits. The three participating groups selected through a competitive RFP are: Be More, an organization using technology to build a movement to combat racial inequities, Domestic Workers United, an organization advocating for the rights of caregivers and housekeepers, and The Precedential Group, a neighborhood-based approach to reducing gun violence.
Over the next year, each of the three “early stage” community-based organizations will receive free co-working space in the Foundation’s new office at 1000 Dean Street in Crown Heights as well as a $5,000 stipend for start-up costs, plus tailored ongoing technical assistance and training to help their operational development.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to open our doors to Brooklyn’s innovative nonprofit community in this unique way,” said Brooklyn Community Foundation President & CEO Cecilia Clarke. “As Brooklyn’s community foundation, we want to think outside traditional models of support for nonprofits and fuel new ideas spurring social change across the borough. This is an outstanding group of leaders whom we hope to lift up as they build and develop their projects.”
The Incubator Project is one of several new programs within the Foundation’s Brooklyn Accelerator, which launched earlier this year to serve as a capacity-building hub for the borough’s nonprofit sector. Among its many functions, the Accelerator aims to connect community-based nonprofits to new donors and board members; provide free co-working and meeting space to nonprofits; organize technical assistance and trainings; foster peer-to-peer networking; and recognize and reward top Brooklyn nonprofits through a new awards program launching in 2016.
The Foundation selected the three Incubator Project organizations for their strong leadership, unique approaches, and connection to the Foundation’s strategic priorities:
- Be More is an organization committed to disrupting racial inequities through innovation and technology. Be More aims to raise awareness about race-based disparities, train change agents with tools to reduce unconscious bias to eliminate racial inequities, and foster leadership to enable multiracial social change movements. In the coming year, Be More will launch its second #Vision2040 social media video campaign, organize community gatherings to heal from racism, and prototype a training to reduce unconscious bias using evidence-based techniques. For more information: bemoreamerica.org
- Domestic Workers United (DWU) is an organization of Caribbean, Latina and African caregivers and housekeepers—concentrated in Crown Heights and Flatbush—that organizes to end exploitation and oppression for all workers whose labor is based primarily in homes and is not protected by most labor laws in New York City. DWU has adopted a model that centers on the development of strong, low-income immigrant women of color leaders who have the drive, training, and sensitivity to lead a movement for social change. For more information: domesticworkersunited.org
- The Precedential Group, founded by Marlon Peterson in 2014, is an organization working to establish “Child Safe Zones” to reduce gun violence in Brooklyn neighborhoods by engaging young people, local police, schools, and residents. Marlon Peterson has led, advised, and supported several criminal justice reform organizations including Fortune Society, Crown Heights Mediation Center, and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. Marlon recently received the Soros Fellowship Award from Open Society Foundation. For more information: marlonpeterson.com
"Be More is thrilled to be a recipient of Brooklyn Community Foundation’s Incubator Project!” said Be More Founder & CEO Anurag Gupta. “With this opportunity, we will plant strong roots in our hometown of Brooklyn, build partnerships with our resilient social change organizations, and apply our work to support the racial justice movement.”
“We are deeply grateful and honored to be a part of the Brooklyn Community Foundation Incubator Project as we continue the work of mobilizing, organizing, and educating women and the community of Crown Heights/Flatbush around the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights,” said DWU leader Christine Lewis. “We are working together with the Foundation, hand in hand, to educate the community and uncover racial and gender inequality, as we work in solidarity with other communities across different issues.”
The Precedential Group Founder Marlon Peterson added: "It makes perfect sense that I get the opportunity to contribute to Crown Heights through an incubator project just a block away from where I grew up. I believe in the work Brooklyn Community Foundation has created and I look forward to doing the ‘people work’ I care about in the neighborhoods I care so much about—my home."
Brooklyn Accelerator stems from a concept developed through the Foundation’s Brooklyn Insights project last year, which engaged nearly 1,000 residents to identify the borough’s most pressing challenges and unmet opportunities. This year, the Foundation is rolling out three strategic core programs based upon those findings, focused on Youth, Neighborhoods, and the Nonprofit Sector. In May, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy honored Brooklyn Community Foundation with its 2015 Impact Award in recognition of the Brooklyn Insights project and its new approach to supporting community-led change.
About Brooklyn Community Foundation
Brooklyn Community Foundation is on a mission to spark lasting social change, mobilizing people, capital, and expertise for a fair and just Brooklyn. Since its founding in 2009, the Foundation and its donors have provided over $20 million in grants to more than 300 nonprofits throughout the borough, bolstering vital programs and services while responding to urgent community needs and opportunities. In 2014, following a six-month boroughwide community engagement project, Brooklyn Insights, the Foundation unveiled a new strategic action plan focused on youth, neighborhood strength, nonprofit capacity, and racial justice. Learn more at www.brooklyncommunityfoundation.org.
Liane Stegmaier, Director of Communications