First-ever Brooklyn Do Gooder Awards Finalists Announced

OCTOBER 20, 2010, BROOKLYN, NY – Following weeks of campaigning, an outpouring of enthusiasm and participation from across the borough and beyond, the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the first borough-wide charitable organization focused solely on Brooklyn, today announced 20 finalists for its inaugural Brooklyn Do Gooder Awards campaign. Finalists were determined by a public vote online at www.DoGoodRightHere.org from among nearly two-hundred fifty individuals nominated by the broader Brooklyn community for their outstanding sense of giving back locally—with time, talent or charity.  A distinguished judging panel will now meet to choose which five of the finalists will receive $5,000 each to give back to their Brooklyn charities of choice. Brooklyn Do Gooder Awardees will be publicly honored at a celebration on November 3, 2010 at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Palm House.  See below for a list of finalists or visit www.DoGoodRightHere.org.

“Community participation for the Brooklyn Do Gooder Awards has been incredible. We are inspired by the level of enthusiasm and support for the diverse group of individuals who were nominated for their good work,” said Marilyn Gelber, President of the Brooklyn Community Foundation. “The friendly competition that emerged during the campaign demonstrates that when it comes to doing good, Brooklynites are the clear champions at working together to make great things happen. Particularly during difficult economic times, it is heartening to see the energy and optimism of Brooklynites who are working to strengthen their communities,” she said.

Five Brooklyn Do Gooders, one representing each of the Foundation’s five fields of interest including Arts for All, Caring Neighbors, Community Development, Education and Youth Achievement and Green Communities will be selected by a panel of judges including WNYC’s President Laura Walker, Community Service Society President David Jones, Freelancer Union’s founder Sara Horowitz, MoCADA Gallery founder Laurie Cumbo, the legendary owner of Sahadi’s Middle Eastern specialty store, Charlie Sahadi, Brooklyn Brewery founder Steve Hindy,  award-winning author Peter Hedges and other local Brooklyn “celebrities” (Full list of judges).

BROOKLYN DO GOODER AWARDS FINALISTS
Nearly 300,000 votes were cast to help determine 20 finalists from among nearly 250 nominees for the first ever Brooklyn Do Gooder Awards campaign. A panel of judges consisting of local leaders will choose five (5) winners to represent each of the Brooklyn Community Foundation’s fields of Interest: Arts for All, Caring Neighbors, Community Development, Education and Youth Achievement and Green Communities. Winners, who will be publicly recognized at an event on November 3 at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, will receive an award and $5,000 each to invest in the Brooklyn nonprofit community.

ARTS FOR ALL

1.    Sister Kay Crumlish has spearheaded arts programs at the Mercy Home for Children for children with autism spectrum disorders to assist both children and their families who often cannot find appropriate recreational activities.
 
2.    Lynn Parkerson created the Brooklyn Ballet, a professional dance company, school and educational outreach program which reflects the borough's unique diversity and brings a new form of ballet to many who might otherwise never experience it.

3.    Chinita Pointer has provided music education and helped connect youth to higher education in Central Brooklyn, an area with some of the Nation's highest unemployment rates and lowest high school graduation rates as the Executive Director of the Noel Pointer Foundation.

4.    John Strohbeen has dedicated his life to making art accessible to everyone. As president of the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, he works to help emerging artists advance their careers and make contemporary visual art accessible to NYC.

CARING NEIGHBORS

1.    Leticia Alanis is helping create indigenous leadership in Sunset Park's Mexican-American community as the new director of La Union de la Comunidad Latina, which works to advance economic and social justice for new immigrants.

2.    Tony Gentile is a native Brooklynite who supports the important work of many community nonprofits by hosting benefits, toy and food drives, and sponsoring local events as owner of the Lone Star Bar and Grill.

3.    Denise Rosario helps find alternative homes for children who are abused or neglected by a parent, relative, or family friend in Bushwick and its surrounding neighborhoods through her work at the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services.

4.    Melony Samuels has worked to end hunger in her community, helping provide 10,000 meals to families living in poverty as Founder and Executive Director of the Bed Stuy Campaign Against Hunger.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

1.    Chip Cafiero, a former school teacher is a go-to person for Bay Ridge's community events, coordinating parades and festivals, protecting the community, helping to preserve parks and educating local youth.

2.    Linda Sarsour, a founder of the Arab American Association of NY, organizes voter registration drives and workshops on the importance of voting and engaging in the electoral process for her community, among other initiatives.

3.    Brad Smith is a Brooklynite who has been working for 17 years as a Big Apple Greeter volunteer, welcoming over 2,000 visitors to Brooklyn, sharing his passion for its vibrant, culturally and ethnically diverse neighborhoods.

4.    Hizam Wahib helps immigrants navigate through the difficult process of becoming United States citizens by providing advice and translation services for non-English speaking clients through his work with the Arab-American Family Support Center.

EDUCATION AND YOUTH ACHIEVEMENT
 
1.    Sharon Content is the founder of Children of Promise NYC, an after school program and summer day camp specifically designed to meet the needs of children of imprisoned parents.

2.    David Goldsmith, a small business owner, worked to lead the transformation of an under-populated public school into a desirable neighborhood school as the former PTA president of PS 8 in Brooklyn Heights and is helping the Urban Assembly Academy of Arts & Letters as Parents’ Association president.

3.    Bro. Abu Muhammad has dedicated twenty-five plus years to youth empowerment and academic achievement and is the founder of Pyramid Youth Incentive Inc., a community-based organization at Bedford Academy High School in Bedford Stuyvesant.

4.    Barnabas Shakur of Bedford Stuyvesant provides employment and volunteer opportunities to disconnected youth as well as mentorship and tools to promote educational advancement, achievement and community building.

GREEN COMMUNITIES

1.    Murad Awawdeh is an American-born Palestinian who has worked as an organizer and environmental justice advocate for over thirteen years within his community and for the United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park (UPROSE).

2.    Jed Marcus, a lawyer, started and coordinates Green Fort Greene & Clinton Hill, a volunteer effort to broadly reduce the community’s contribution to global warming and to trim its use of non-renewable resources.

3.    Zenobia McNally is helping increase access to affordable, healthy food and promote environmentalism through her community garden and EcoFairs through her work with East Flatbush’s Lott Street Block Association and beyond,

4.    Anne-Katrin Titze of Prospect Lefferts Gardens is an activist who started a wave of community support by rescuing ducks, geese and swans from fishing lines and polution in Prospect Park.

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ABOUT THE BROOKLYN COMMUNITY FOUNDATION
The Brooklyn Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people in Brooklyn through grantmaking and by encouraging local giving and community service. The first and only one of its kind in Brooklyn, the Foundation was founded in 2009 to support the borough’s most effective nonprofits in five Fields of Interest: Art for All, Caring Neighbors, Community Development, Education and Youth Achievement, and Green Communities. Since 1998, operating as the Independence Community Foundation, the Foundation distributed over $70 million in grants throughout New York Metro area, more than half of which was in Brooklyn. Learn more at: www.BrooklynCommunityFoundation.org; Follow on Twitter @DoGoodBklyn