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$50 Million Grantmaking Milestone Announced at Annual Spark Breakfast

This morning at our annual Spark Breakfast, we announced that we have surpassed $50 million in total grantmaking since our founding 10 years ago! We celebrated the milestone as we honored the five newest winners of our $100,000 Spark Prize and ALLINBKLYN founder Eliza Winans Rossman, along with over 300 guests at Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Lepercq Space.

Our VP of Programs and Partnerships Marcella Tillett opened the program with the announcement: “As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we are well on our way to proving how powerful a community foundation for Brooklyn can be. I am so proud to announce that—thanks to partners like you—we have surpassed $50 million in grantmaking to hundreds of vital community-based organizations!”

The event marked the 4th year of the Spark Prize, which has awarded $2.4 million in "no strings attached" general operating support to 20 winners and 60 finalists since 2016. The Spark Prize winners are selected from a highly competitive applicant pool of over 125 local nonprofits by a committee of Brooklyn civic, business, and philanthropic leaders. Members of this year’s Spark Prize Committee include Jackie Cuscuna of Ample Hills, healthcare leader Dr. Torian Easterling, restaurateur Andrew Tarlow, financial advisor Lola C. West, and cultural champion Stephanie Ingrassia.

This year's winners are Brownsville Community Justice Center, Children of Promise, NYC, The Noel Pointer Foundation, North Brooklyn Coalition, and Sadie Nash Leadership Project. 

Children of Promise accepting 2020 Spark Prize

“For our staff, the abyss of poverty and managing its symptoms and trauma produces anxiety, sleepless nights, frustration, fear, tears, arguments, pain, but with support from Brooklyn Community Foundation, we can no longer say this is a thankless job. So in return, thank you for helping BCJC conclude 2020’s Black History Month in such a memorable fashion.” - Deron Johnston, Project Director, Brownsville Community Justice Center

“Thank you Brooklyn Community Foundation for giving Children of Promise the funds and allowing us to utilize them in the way we see necessary.” - Sharon Content, Founder and President, Children of Promise, NYC

“If Noel could come back and see what we’ve done in the past 25 years, he would be grinning from ear to ear. Thank you so much for this Spark award and for being a part of this journey with us. We can’t wait to see what’s beyond the bend.” - Chinita Pointer, Founder and CEO, The Noel Pointer Foundation

“It is exhilarating and humbling to be in the company of so much good work and to be recognized alongside the amazing, impactful, equitable work of the other awardees. The Spark Prize will allow us to continue supporting survivors while helping them cultivate leadership skills to ensure their voices are heard and amplified. For this we are extremely grateful.” - Patricia Ross, Executive Director, North Brooklyn Coalition

“I am very honored to be here to accept this award on behalf of the Sadie Nash Leadership Project. This organization played a huge role in the development of my character and the security of my future. I’m hopeful that with the Spark Prize more young women, especially young black women, will have access to the Sadie Nash Leadership Project.” - Naomi Jones, Sadie Nash Leadership Project alumna

Our President and CEO Cecilia Clarke introduced our partner and the founder of the ALLINBKLYN women's circle Eliza Winans Rossman: "Eliza epitomizes the power of community. We are so much more powerful when we work together as a community to spark change, and that is why we are so proud to honor her today." Since 2014, ALLINBKLYN’s 60 members have made 85 grants to 45 Brooklyn nonprofits, totaling $1.3 million, and this year the group is on track to give out an additional $300,000.

Eliza Winans Rossman with members of ALLINBKLYN

“I started ALLINBKLYN six years ago because I knew that my charitable life was narrow. I was giving in one Brooklyn but wasn’t venturing into the larger Brooklyn that I somehow felt I lacked access to, never mind that it certainly didn’t have access to me. I very quickly realized I wasn’t alone in wanting to engage in all of Brooklyn…As a community organizer, mobilizing this wonderful group of women has been deeply fulfilling…Thank for this incredible honor for the work that I truly love.” - Eliza Winans Rossman, Founder, ALLINBKLYN

The Spark Prize and Spark Breakfast are sponsored by Sugar in the Raw, National Grid, Santander Bank N.A., Cleary Gottlieb, Kirkland Ellis, and Sitex Group.

“Congratulations to the Spark Prize recipients, we applaud all the great work that they do to enhance our Brooklyn neighborhoods. National Grid is pleased to partner with Brooklyn Community Foundation to help recognize these outstanding organizations for the critical work they do.” - Renee McClure, Manager, National Grid Community & Customer Management

“Santander Bank is excited to continue our support of the annual Spark Breakfast. Alongside Brooklyn Community Foundation, we believe in supporting organizations that serve and impact vibrant communities, like Brooklyn, where we live and work.” - Seth Goodall, Executive Director, Corporate Social Responsibility at Santander Bank

“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.” - David Leinwand, Partner, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

Spark Prize

Liane Stegmaier

Chief of Staff (She/Her/Hers)