Brooklyn Recovery Fund Announces $200,000 to Seed Coordinated Local Response among Nonprofits Groups in Coney Island and Red Hook

To build and strengthen the coordinated response of nonprofit groups in two major areas devastated by Superstorm Sandy, the Brooklyn Recovery Fund today announced $100,000 grants for community-based collaboratives in Coney Island and Red Hook.

The Brooklyn Recovery Fund was launched by the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce in the days after Superstorm Sandy and has since raised more than $1.5 million.

The new Community-Wide Collaborative grants will support the coordination of humanitarian services to residents as well as economic recovery activity for small businesses. The goal will be to build the capacity of neighborhood networks to help in the recovery and rebuilding effort and to strengthen the area against future crises.

In Coney Island, a legendary coastal community of 100,000 year-round residents, 26% of whom are over age 65 and 10% of whom live in public housing, $100,000 will go to the Coney Recovers Initiative, a coalition of community development and human service groups—including Astella Development Corporation, Alliance for Coney Island, Inc., Coney Island Hospital, and the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island—which will focus on the area’s hard-hit low income residents and seaside small businesses.

With the funds, the team will set up office headquarters to organize rebuilding and immediate needs, create the Coney Corps to provide job opportunities and skills training for local residents to help in the rebuilding, and develop a long-term recovery plan that builds strength and resiliency in the community.

In Red Hook, a historic, physically isolated waterfront neighborhood with a burgeoning business community where 75% of residents live in the public housing, $100,000 will go to the Red Hook Coalition, led by Good Shepherd Services in partnership with Added Value, Red Hook Initiative, ReStore Red Hook, and the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation.

Funds will be used to allocate micro-grants to small businesses, provide immediate social services, and support emergency food needs of residents. Additionally, the grant will finance the hire of a coalition coordinator to be a liaison between the partners and with community and government agencies, and identify local employment needs to establish a job training program.

“These grants to create new community collaboratives in Coney Island and Red Hook are core to the Brooklyn Recovery Fund’s strategy,” says Brooklyn Community Foundation President Marilyn Gelber. “We are focusing on the power of community partnerships to build back our neighborhoods stronger and safer than before the storm. The new coalitions will not only continue to coordinate assistance for residents and businesses, but will also be the foundation for the structural recovery that must take place over the coming months and years. We are grateful to the many donors to the Brooklyn Recovery Fund—they have given the gift of food, warmth, and hope to the thousands of Brooklynites affected by the storm."

Adds Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz: “My office is proud to be a partner with the Brooklyn Recovery Fund and I applaud the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and especially all of those individuals who have donated to help Brooklyn as we recover from this horrible storm. Organizations like the Red Hook Coalition, Coney Recovers, and so many others, have done amazing jobs helping affected Brooklynites in the aftermath of Sandy, but there is still a lot to be done. These grants will help establish a community based, collaborative infrastructure, ensuring that Brooklyn can rebuild, rebound, and recover—and come back bigger and better than ever.”

“I would like to commend the Brooklyn Community Foundation for their prompt response in finding two great community coalitions, the Coney Recovers Initiative and Red Hook Coalition, to award grants to following the devastation Sandy caused to our borough,” says Carlo A. Scissura, President & CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “Coney Island and Red Hook are two very special places and this money will go a long way in helping the residents and small businesses in both communities rebuild. It will also go a long way towards providing jobs and ensuring that the vitality of these communities remain strong. I would like to thank the Brooklyn Community Foundation and the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office for helping raise money and for making sure the borough emerges stronger than ever following Sandy.”

"Brooklyn communities were hit hard by Superstorm Sandy and the road to recovery is going to be long and the financial burden high,” says City Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, who represents Coney Island. “The Brooklyn Recovery Fund’s commitment to easing some of the financial hardship is a tremendous collaborative, community effort and I am grateful for their efforts as well as for the generosity of my fellow Brooklynites in helping us to rebuild."

Coney Recovers partners:

Judi Orlando, Executive Director, Astella Development Corporation: "The Coney Island community has been growing and improving for years, and we at Astella are delighted to see the public, private, not for profit partnership the Alliance has developed. Brooklyn Community Foundation's incredible gift will help us continue the great work we have started this past year, and recover from the storm."

Dennis Vourderis, Chairperson, Alliance for Coney Island, Inc: "The Alliance for Coney Island is keeping the spirit of cooperation and volunteerism alive. Many thanks to the Brooklyn Community Foundation for their generous support, which will go a long way toward continuing the neighborhood recovery of Coney Island and re-opening the People's Playground for 2013."

Rabbi Moshe Wiener, Director, Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island: “JCCGCI is pleased to recognize yet another example of Brooklyn Community Foundation’s legendary concern for and proactive leadership in the communities of the Borough of Brooklyn. Immediately after the Hurricane disaster, they mobilized and began assessment, planning, and resource development, targeted at providing a strategic response to the post-hurricane crisis. JCCGCI feels privileged to serve as a collaborative partner in the Coney Recovers initiative to address the critical needs of Brooklyn.”

Robert Cooper, Associate Executive Director, Coney Island Hospital: "Coney Island Hospital is grateful for the assistance that the Brooklyn Recovery Fund is offering the Coney Island community. As we all recover from the storm's devastation, it is support like this that will help restore Coney Island back to the vibrant community it was before Sandy."

Red Hook Coalition partners:

Sr. Paulette LoMonaco, Executive Director, Good Shepherd Services: “Red Hook is a very special place, a neighborhood with extraordinary community spirit that serves it well both in good times and in bad. It has been Good Shepherd Services’ great pleasure to be a partner in this community for more than 30 years and our programs have all greatly benefitted from close collaborations with local businesses and community-based organizations. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the need for us to come together is greater than ever before and we are very grateful to the Brooklyn Community Foundation for their support of the Red Hook Coalition, which will ensure the continued vitality of this vibrant community.”

Rovika Rajkishun, Advisory Committee Member, ReStore Red Hook: "ReStore Red Hook aims to rebuild the devastated community based small/retail businesses of Red Hook collectively as a whole. These businesses of Red Hook are unique in that most are owned and often staffed by local residents, who have made the decision to invest in the long term future of this community, and to be a part of its fabric. ReStore Red Hook feels that rebuilding these businesses is about ReStoring the community as a whole, more robust and vital than ever. We are excited and grateful to have the Brooklyn Community Foundation as a partner."

David Meade, Director, Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation: “We are proud to be part of the Red Hook Coalition and will advocate and provide direct service relief to the hundreds of small businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy. SBIDC believes its work of matching job opportunities in the neighborhood with local residents is more important than ever.”

These are the first of the Brooklyn Recovery Fund’s Community-Wide Collaborative Grants; funds will also be targeted toward coordinated efforts in southeastern coastal Brooklyn. Additionally, over the last two weeks the Brooklyn Recovery Fund has distributed $250,000 in Fast Track Emergency Grants to 26 neighborhood organizations for immediate relief efforts across the borough and $50,000 to Gerritsen Beach Cares to expedite the restoration of power to homes in which seniors, the disabled, and families with small children live. Future requests for proposals will address mid- and long-term recovery as needs continue to emerge.

See the complete list of Brooklyn Recovery Fund grants thus far at http://www.brooklyncommunityfoundation.org/brooklyn-recovery-fund/grants.

About Brooklyn Recovery Fund
The Brooklyn Recovery Fund is a joint effort between the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to create a pooled fund to provide support to Brooklyn’s nonprofit organizations working with the communities and individuals most affected by Hurricane Sandy. The Fund raised more than $1.5 million, with support from a broad spectrum of donors – including founding contributions from the Barclays Center, Brooklyn Nets, and Forest City Ratner – as well as other corporations, foundations and hundreds of individual contributions via online and mobile giving.
For more information and to donate, visit: www.brooklynrecoveryfund.org.

About Brooklyn Community Foundation
Brooklyn Community Foundation is dedicated to improving lives and strengthening communities through local giving, grantmaking, and community service. Established in 2009 as the first and only charitable foundation for New York City’s largest borough, with the support of generous donors Brooklyn Community Foundation provides critical grants to hundreds of Brooklyn nonprofits working in the areas of education and youth achievement, arts and culture, community development, human services, and the environment. Learn more at www.BrooklynCommunityFoundation.org.