Insights to Impact

The Latest from Brooklyn Community Foundation


Your Guide to Giving in Brooklyn

At Brooklyn Community Foundation, we believe that giving with intention can be bold, courageous, and strategic. When you give with intent, and have access to the proper tools and resources, your giving can spark transformative change.

As your community foundation, we’re here to provide tips and guidance on your giving to maximize your impact in Brooklyn. Read on for some of the many ways you can plan your giving.

Give Locally

Brooklyn is home to over 2.7 million residents—if it were its own city, it would be the 4th largest in the United States. 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.

Despite our borough’s size and abundance of nonprofit organizations, less than 5% of New York City’s philanthropic dollars come back to Brooklyn. This means our vibrant nonprofit community is losing out on crucial investments in innovative Brooklyn-born programs and services.

Bring Intention to Your Giving: Create a Plan

We have seen our donors increase their giving and be more intentional about how, when, and where their resources are being distributed by creating a thoughtful giving plan. Some approaches you may consider include:

  • Examining your giving patterns: how do you give, how much, and how often do you give?
  • Creating a personal mission statement to keep you on track toward meeting your philanthropic goals
  • Determining what you can give. This can go beyond financial resources and can include volunteering your expertise, serving on a board, or telling your friends about the great work of nonprofits you admire.
  • Mapping out your giving. Think about the big picture and how your giving impacts organizations you support. For example, although end of the year giving is very common, many nonprofits function in anticipation of those gifts- consider giving monthly or quarterly, so nonprofits have your support when they need it most. 

When striving to deepen your impact, reflect on the following:

  • Where do you give? 
  • What are you interested in exploring?
  • How would you like to give, and how can this be done equitably?

Giving Through an Equity Lens

At Brooklyn Community Foundation our grantmaking is informed by an equity filter that prioritizes organizations led by Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, with smaller budgets, and with less access to resources. According to a study of the 25 largest community foundations nationwide by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), only 1% of their grants were designated to Black communities. In June 2021, we committed, at minimum, 30% of our overall grantmaking to support Black communities. By giving locally to organizations led by members of the communities they serve, you are investing in change at the grassroots.

Some questions to consider when reflecting on your goals for giving:

  • Why do you give?
  • Where are you giving/investing?
  • How would you like to give, and how can this be done equitably?

Is a Donor Advised Fund Right for You?

A Donor Advised Fund (DAF) is a powerful tool you can use to deepen your impact.  Created with a single tax-deductible donation of cash, stock, or real estate, you can open your fund and support organizations you care about at your own pace. From giving circles to individual classic DAFs, we offer various types of funds for donors to give with intention and spark change locally. 

With a DAF at Brooklyn Community Foundation, you can:

  • Simplify and manage all of your giving in one place
  • Optimize your tax benefits
  • Potentially grow your invested funds tax-free
  • Know that the administrative fees on your DAF are invested back into local communities through our strategic grantmaking

Plus, our Donor Advised Fund online portal makes it easy for you to support organizations you care about, access your fund balance and submit grant requests. 

Additional Tools and Resources

You can use the following tools and resources to inform giving:

  • Guidestar: Check financials and see if organizations are in good fiduciary standing
  • #BrooklynGives: Maximize your local giving on Giving Tuesday, November 30th at 
  • Racial Justice Trainings for Donors: Scheduled for early 2022 (TBA), hosted by Brooklyn Community Foundation
  • FoundationWebinars: Learn from local nonprofit leaders and experts about local issue areas
  • Grantee directory on our website: Explore nonprofits in Brooklyn 
  • Sign up for our monthly Foundation newsletter and follow us on social media @BklynFoundation to stay up-to-date on local impact in the borough

Jenny Walski

Vice President of Donor Engagement (She/Her/Hers)
By creating a thoughtful giving plan, donors can increase giving and be intentional about how, when, and where their resources are being distributed.