Insights to Impact

The Latest from Brooklyn Community Foundation


Raise the Age New York: 19 Foundations Join Us in Letter to State Leaders

Today, with the support of 19 other private, public and community foundations, we are sending a letter to New York elected officials urging them to Raise the Age of criminal responsibility in our state. 

New York is just one of two states in the entire country that treats 16 and 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system. This policy ignores what we all know to be true: prosecuting and placing adolescents in the adult criminal justice system causes lasting harm and doesn’t work for public safety. 

Nearly 16% of the arrests of 16- and 17-year-olds in New York State last year occurred in Brooklyn. Thousands of our young people are tried as adults each year—the vast majority of whom are youth of color arrested for misdemeanor offenses.

Research has proven that youth respond well to positive interventions because their brains are still developing. Through our Invest in Youth initiative, we fund programs that support young people—including intensive counseling, drug treatment, educational and positive youth development, and support for families. None of these are available in the adult criminal justice system.

We repeatedly heard about the need to Raise the Age during our Brooklyn Insights project in 2014. After three years of closely following this issue, we are pleased to see that it is being seriously discussed as part of New York State budget negotiations this year. 

Raise the Age is greatly needed and it is needed now.

You can join us in our call to action. Go to for helpful instructions on how to contact your elected officials and urge them to act in the best interests of our young people and our communities.

Thank you to our Raise the Age letter co-signers: 

Adirondack Foundation, Andrus Family Fund & Andrus Family Philanthropy Program, The Catalog For Giving of NYC, Stephen & May Cavin Leeman Foundation, The Community Foundation For Greater Buffalo, Bernard F. and Alva B. Gimbel Foundation, J.M. Kaplan Fund, The Frances Lear Foundation, Langeloth Foundation, New York Foundation, North Star Fund, Pinkerton Foundation, Propel Capital, The Prospect Hill Foundation, David Rockefeller Fund, The Scherman Foundation, Sills Family Foundation, The Tow Foundation, and van Ameringen Foundation, Inc. 

Youth Justice