Our Neighbors Need Us
Photo courtesy of adam_jones/Flickr
- Over 25% of Brooklyn’s seniors live in poverty. We’re home to the most New Yorkers over 65, and the numbers are growing as the Baby Boomers age. Which means an increasing number of older Brooklynites will face economic pressures which could result in home foreclosures, mounting health issues and medical costs, and isolation from their communities.
- Nearly one in three Brooklyn children lives at or below the poverty line. With the most new births of any borough, Brooklyn is leading New York’s population surge. Over the next decade, our schools will be fuller and their resources will be stretched even thinner. At this point, nearly half of Brooklyn’s children aren’t enrolled in pre-school, our high school graduation rates are below 60%, and nearly 13% of 16 to 25 year olds are not in school and not working.
For both groups, Brooklyn isn’t just their home, it’s their hometown—the place that’s giving them their start, or that they’ve chosen to make their final home. And for both, community is a key determinant of how well they thrive.
At the Brooklyn Community Foundation, we firmly believe in the need to give all of our children the best chance to succeed regardless of their family’s income and to give our older neighbors the support and sense of community they need to live independently and age with dignity.
How Our New Grants Are Helping to Break the Cycle:
- This year, our donor community has invested $643,000 through our Education & Youth Achievement Fund to promote the work of organizations and programs that tackle the achievement gap, like Horizons at Brooklyn Friends School, which provides public elementary school students in Downtown Brooklyn with free after school tutoring and a summer enrichment camp; Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, a rigorous college prep program that prepares low-income students to attend top-tier colleges; and iMentor, which pairs students in a unique in-City boarding program at Catherine McAuley High School in East Flatbush with mentors to ensure they graduate college-ready and succeed once they are there.
- $125,000 goes to develop and maintain affordable housing opportunities including planning for new senior residences in Cypress Hills/East New York by Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation. Six grants, totaling $115,000, back programs that address family stability, a key predictor of a child’s success in life, including support for the Brooklyn Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project to hire an on-staff Family Law Attorney, and Housing + Solutions to provide stable housing and supportive services to formerly homeless women and their families.
- $82,500 supports senior independence initiatives like Selfhelp Community Services’ Chore Assistance program to help elderly Brooklynites remain in their homes and engaged with their communities and the Council of Senior Centers and Services’ Bill Payer Program, in which volunteers guide clients each month in paying their bills.
- With one in five Brooklynites living at the brink of hunger, $160,000 is targeted to Brooklyn’s emergency food and nutrition programs, including St. John’s Bread and Life, a state-of-the-art food pantry in Central Brooklyn, Neighbors Together, a Brownsville soup kitchen with a focus on empowerment, and Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger, which distributes more than a million meals each year. The funds also back the Boroughwide work of Brooklyn Food Coalition, City Harvest, and Just Food, to ensure that families and seniors have consistent access to healthy food.
The statistics are staggering, but we can change them. We can close the divide, if we do it together.
Giving Grows in Brooklyn
Our friends at the Park Slope Civic Council are sharing our message of giving and service for Brooklyn in the latest issue of their Civic News publication. Read the article here!
Love Brooklyn? Prove It!
If you haven't signed up to "Do Good Right Here" yet, what are you waiting for? Over 100 Brooklyn-serving nonprofits need your help. Whether it's a one-time activity or a weekly commitment, your service will make a huge impact in your community. See where you're needed at DoGoodRightHere.org!
Finding the Greenest Blocks in Brooklyn
Have you seen the signs in your neighborhoods for Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Greenest Block contest? The Semifinalists have been announced, and the winners will be revealed next month! So proud to be supporters of BBG's GreenBridge outreach and education programs, which spread the beauty of the garden throughout our borough. See the blocks still in contention here.