Wellness and Recovery Fund

A sign that reads "Clean Needles Save Lives"

Brooklyn Community Foundation established the Wellness and Recovery Fund (formerly referred to as the Substance Abuse and Harm Reduction Fund) from charitable assets that remained after the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) dissolved Canarsie A.W.A.R.E., Inc. for its participation in a scheme that exploited some of New York’s most vulnerable residents and defrauded Medicaid. The Fund supports organizations working to ensure that those who navigate the difficult road of substance abuse and addiction do so with reliable support that honors their agency and dignity. The Fund's community advisory council will determine $2.2 million in grants for community-led responses to substance abuse treatment, substance misuse, addiction, harm reduction services, and systems change efforts that directly impact the lives of people in recovery and people living with addiction. In addition, Brooklyn Community Foundation will provide a range of capacity building services, informed by organizational community partners, which may include workshops and coaching focused on fundraising, financial management, and strategic planning.

The Wellness and Recovery Fund is deeply rooted in our values of racial equity and centers our racial justice lens, which prioritizes support for nonprofits that are led by members of affected communities, and centers the voices of those directly impacted by structural racism in decision-making.  We do this because we understand that our most vulnerable communities already exist at the margins of power and access due to historical and systemic denial of adequate resources. 

In November 2021, Brooklyn Community Foundation kicked off an Insights community engagement process with community partners to design the Wellness and Recovery Fund's strategy. This process involved co-creating a space for radical listening, acknowledging that people are the experts of their own experience, and fostered an environment of curiosity, openness, and empathy. This enabled us to learn from and partner with leaders and residents to identify and invest in community-led strategies to support people living with substance addiction in Brooklyn communities.


The Wellness and Recovery Fund grants will provide general operating supportmulti-year funding of up to $70,000, per year for 3 years, to groups using one or more of the following approaches:

  • Dignity-centered direct services designed to prevent and treat substance misuse/abuse and addiction, including increased access to treatment, reducing/eliminating barriers to high-quality compassionate treatment and therapeutic services for people living with addiction or substance misuse/abuse as well as for their families and communities. Approaches should include culturally affirming supportive services and benefits to address social determinants of health, including but not limited to: housing, mental health, employment, childcare, and legal support.
  • Expansion and innovation of harm reduction programs and services including but not limited to procurement of supplies, community education, supportive programming,  and expanding supportive environments sites including mobile sites.
  • Multi layered systems change efforts focused agency policies and service delivery protocols, via policy advocacy, community organizing, coalition building, and/or dignity-centered narrative shifting work.  These efforts must explicitly center the leadership of survivors, people in recovery, and individuals living with substance misuse/abuse, and addiction. Must demonstrate clear goals for eliminating barriers to access treatment and supportive services, decriminalization, and the end of punitive approaches to addressing addiction and substance misuse/abuse.

This funding is available to support the groups working on issues that disproportionately impact the following communities:

  • Priority Community Districts: Bedford Stuyvesant (CD 3), Bushwick (CD 4), East New York (CD 5), Sunset Park (CD 7), Crown Heights North (CD 8), Crown Heights South (CD 9), Coney Island (CD 13), Brownsville (CD 16), Flatbush (CD 14), East Flatbush (CD 17), Canarsie (CD 18)
  • Priority Populations: Black, indigenous, and people of color; women, parents/caregivers, youth, older adults; immigrants; low income individuals and families; people who are unhoused and housing insecure; people who are formerly or currently incarcerated; people who are LGBTQIAGNC+, and people with disabilities and or mental health challenges.


In addition to general operating support, the Foundation provides capacity building support to grantees and community partners in areas including racial justice, fundraising, strategic communications, board development, executive transition, financial management, advocacy, direct action, community organization, and leadership development.


  • Use a racial justice lens in their work. Organizations consider inequities based on race and their impact in designing programs, looking for solutions and defining success;In reviewing proposals, we will give preference to organizations that:
  • Center the voices and leadership of community members. Organizations craft solutions to problems and work in authentic partnership with community members to actively engage those most impacted in directing their own lives and shaping their own communities, and building the capacity of emerging leaders in their organizations;
  • Acknowledge intersecting oppressions. Organizations understand how multiple oppressions impact one another and the lives of the people with whom they work;
  • Work on the frontlines of issues. Organizations that are grassroots, doing work on the ground and at the community level.


To be eligible to apply, an organization must:

  • Be incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization or be working under the auspices of an authorized fiscal sponsor;
  • Serve, benefit, or work directly in community with Brooklyn residents
  • Have a minimum annual budget of $200,000 or submit an application to work in partnership with an organization that does. Grant awards will not exceed 20% of the applying organization’s annual budget.
  • Have an office or a regular physical presence in Brooklyn.

Please note that this grant will not fund the following:

  • Individuals
  • Capital campaigns
  • Schools (public, private, or charter)
  • Organizations with an operating budget under $200,000.


  • Monday, December 6, 2021: Wellness and Recovery Fund Grant Guidelines Released, Application Opens
  • Thursday, December 16, 2021 at 11:00AM: Informational Webinar & Application Clinic. 
  • Friday, December 31, 2021 at  5:00PM: Deadline for organizations to submit a full proposal online.
  • Monday, January 10, 2022 – Friday, January 14, 2022: Virtual site visits with selected organizations.
  • Monday, January 31, 2022: Award decisions announced.


Applications are now closed.

 The online application requests information on:

  • Organizational profile
  • Mission, history, programs/activities, goals, and accomplishments
  • Approach to collaborating with priority/impacted population
  • Approach to racial justice work 

Online Applications are due by 5PM on Friday, December 31, 2021

Late submissions will not be considered.

Please direct all questions to grants@bcfny.org with Wellness and Recovery Fund in the subject line.