Our Racial Justice Lens

People of color represent nearly 70% of all Brooklyn’s residents, yet there are significant racial disparities in the distribution of power, resources, and opportunities in our communities.

We strongly believe addressing systemic racism and injusticespecifically anti-Blacknessis the first step in our mission of building a more fair and just Brooklyn for everyone. 

We define racial justice as the systemic redistribution of power, opportunities, and access for people of all races. We believe that all people should be equally seen, heard, valued and respected. Whether through grantmaking, advocacy or special initiatives, we aim to increase the ability of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color to determine and sustain a more equitable future for themselves and their communities.

Our institution-wide Racial Justice Lens was developed in partnership with our Racial Justice Advisory Council of local and national experts. This tool ensures that we consider race as we analyze problems, look for solutions, and define success in our grantmaking, governance, and advocacy. Working with the Council we have established clear benchmarks and outcomes to ensure that we make measurable progress towards our goals.

We position the following at the core of our practice:

  • Understanding and naming root causes of racial inequities
  • Acknowledging historical trauma stemming from systemic racism
  • Supporting opportunities for healing and empowerment
  • Ensuring that those directly affected by structural racism are centered in decision-making
  • Measure and track outcomes in advancement of racial justice through philanthropy

Our Racial Justice Work in the News

Racial Equity Fund 

This fund supports the Foundation’s ongoing grantmaking, advocacy and special initiatives designed to increase the ability of people of color to determine and sustain a more equitable future for themselves and their communities. Racial Justice is the through line of all our programmatic strategy, informing:
  • Grantmaking to Brooklyn nonprofits who are addressing racial justice issues in their communities. Priority is given to organizations led by members of affected communities and who center the voices of those directly impacted by structural racism in decision-making.
  • Advocacy & Organizing to engage other funders, as well as institutional partners, in promoting and advancing racial equity.
  • Leadership & Training to advance professional development for leaders from impacted communities and to increase the capacity of organizations dedicated to social and racial justice.

Giving for Racial Justice

As part of our institutional commitment to Racial Justice, Brooklyn Community Foundation actively encourages our Donor Advised Fund holders to mobilize money and resources to dismantle systemic racism and repair centuries of devastation and injustice done to Black communities and other communities of color. 

We are here to work with our Donor Advisors to dramatically increase giving to Black-led and other people of color-led organizations working on the frontlines of the fight for social change. What guides all of the Foundation’s work is the belief that those who are closest to the challenges faced by our communities are closest to the solutions for our communities.





Alexa Aviles
Program Director
Scherman Foundation

Ingrid Benedict*
Daphne Foundation

Glen Harris
Executive Director 
Center for Social Inclusion

Aletha Maybank
Chief Health Equity Officer
American Medical Association

Merle McGee
Chief Equity and Engagement Officer
Planned Parenthood of New York City

Tynesha McHarris
Senior Consultant
NoVo Foundation

Kavitha Mediratta
Executive Director 
Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity

Amanda Navarro
Deputy Director

Kevin Ryan
Program Officer, Equitable Development
Ford Foundation

Emma Jordan Simpson**
Executive Pastor
Concord Baptist Church

Candace Simpson
Youth Program Coordinator

Rev. Michael Sniffen
Cathedral of Incarnation

Rabbi Rachel Timoner*
Senior Rabbi
Congregation Beth Elohim

Maya Wiley
Henry Cohen Professor of Urban Policy and Management
Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy


*Brooklyn Community Foundation Board Member

**Brooklyn Community Foundation Board Member Emeritus