Insights to Impact

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And The Winners Are...

We are pleased to announce the five recipients of this year’s $100,000 Spark Prize, the only honor celebrating outstanding social justice nonprofits in the borough. 

The 2020 Spark Prize winners are:

  • Brownsville Community Justice Center
  • Children of Promise, NYC
  • The Noel Pointer Foundation
  • The North Brooklyn Coalition
  • Sadie Nash Leadership Project

​​Learn more about each of the winners here.

We launched the Spark Prize in 2016 to recognize pioneering organizations with deep roots in the borough and a demonstrated commitment to advancing racial and social justice. Each year, we convene a committee of leaders from Brooklyn’s civic, business, and philanthropic communities to select five winning organizations from a highly competitive applicant pool of more than 100 local nonprofits. The committee awards $600,000 in total: five $100,000 “no strings attached” grants to the five winners, and a $5,000 match for 20 finalists as part of the Foundation’s #BrooklynGives on Giving Tuesday campaign.

“Once again, the Spark Prize process has offered us the immense privilege of learning more about the diverse array of exceptional organizations working to make Brooklyn a more fair and just place for all. We are proud to extend this year’s Spark Prize to five nonprofits that have made an incredible difference in the lives of Brooklyn’s children, youth, and families for decades through truly unique and exceptional program models. Congratulations to all and a huge THANK YOU to our Spark Prize Committee for their hard work and dedication!”

- Brooklyn Community Foundation President and CEO Cecilia Clarke

This year's five winners will be honored at the Spark Breakfast on Thursday, February 27th from 8-10AM at BAM Lepercq Space in Brooklyn. The event will also pay tribute to Eliza Winans Rossman, founder of ALLINBKLYN. Administered through a fund at Brooklyn Community Foundation, ALLINBKLYN is a community of women committed to promoting a tradition of philanthropy in Brooklyn who have distributed nearly $1.3 million to local nonprofits since 2014.

The 2019-2020 Spark Prize cycle started in April 2019 with an open call to Brooklyn nonprofits to submit a 1,000-word essay demonstrating their deep history in Brooklyn and continued service to the borough; commitment to equity and racial justice for all Brooklynites; strong organizational values; and vision for the future of their work in Brooklyn and beyond. To be eligible, organizations had to have annual operating budgets over $350,000 and be in operation for at least five years. Applications were reviewed by the Spark Prize Committee, who narrowed submissions to 20 finalists, and then chose the five winners following in-person interviews.

The Spark Prize and the Spark Breakfast are sponsored by Sugar in the Raw, National Grid, Sitex Group, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.  

“As someone who lives and works in Brooklyn, it is great to see organizations working to enhance our neighborhood. Congratulations to the Spark Prize recipients for their commitment to making a difference in the lives of others,” said Rudy Wynter, President & COO, National Grid Transmission, Generation and Energy Procurement. “National Grid is pleased to partner with Brooklyn Community Foundation to help recognize these outstanding organizations for the critical work they do.”

“We join Brooklyn Community Foundation in congratulating all the Spark Prize winners and are proud to support your continued commitment to serving the Brooklyn community,” said David Leinwand, Partner, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. 

About the 2019-2020 Spark Prize Recipients

Founded in 2011, The Brownsville Community Justice Center (Justice Center) is a multi-faceted initiative that seeks to re-engineer how the justice system works in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The Justice Center addresses systemic inequities by helping young people disengage from the justice system and discover routes to economic security, so they can, in turn, reinvest in their community. Annually, the Justice Center engages over 500 youth, nearly 2,000 residents, and dozens of local businesses in job training and entrepreneurship programs, community events and revitalization projects, community service activities, and court-mandated diversion programs.

Founded in 2007, Children of Promise, NYC (CPNYC) empowers children of incarcerated parents to break the cycle of intergenerational involvement in the criminal justice system. CPNYC offers a broad array of services in a safe supportive space where young people, ages 6-18, can share similar experiences. CPNYC co-locates a licensed mental health clinic and a comprehensive array of youth services in the same program site. CPNYC annually serves 350 children, and their families, through after school, summer day camp, mentoring, mental health and family engagement services.

Founded in 1995 to honor the legacy of violinist Noel Pointer, The Noel Pointer Foundation (NPF) enriches the lives of children of color in under-served communities by connecting them with music education and performance opportunities. Through a combination of in-school programming in partnership with 36 public schools, and onsite after school, Saturdays, and Summer Strings Programming at its Bedford Stuyvesant headquarters, NPF provides year-round beginner through pre-professional instruction in violin, viola, cello, double bass, classical guitar, and piano to over 2,000 young people each year.

Founded in 1998, the North Brooklyn Coalition (the Coalition) addresses systemic racism, institutional injustice, and cultural barriers facing survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault by creating a community-based support network. The Coalition provides free services including case management, therapy, and support groups, and engages communities through outreach, education and workshops. Over the last three years, the number of survivors the Coalition reached has increased by nearly 70%, and in 2019, it launched a Legal Program and a Rape Crisis Advocate Program, to ensure survivors receive appropriate, trauma-informed and holistic legal representation.

Founded in 2001, Sadie Nash Leadership Project (SNLP) equips, strengthens, and supports young women and gender-expansive youth of color to be agents of change in their lives and in the world. Each year, SNLP works with over 600 participants, ages 11-22 to build community, critical consciousness, and college and career readiness through afterschool classes, a Summer Institute, paid community-based internships, advanced-level fellowships, college access and persistence support, and opportunities for organizational stewardship.


Liane Stegmaier

Chief of Staff (She/Her/Hers)
We launched the $100,000 Spark Prize in 2016 to recognize pioneering organizations with deep roots in the borough and a demonstrated commitment to advancing racial and social justice.