Brooklyn Elders Fund Grant Program

Brooklyn Community Foundation believes that supporting Brooklyn’s aging population is key to achieving equitable communities. Older adults have been at the forefront of social change and play vital roles at the local level. Through our Brooklyn Elders Fund, we support Brooklyn-serving organizations that are working to ensure that older adults in our borough have the opportunity and agency to achieve social and economic success.

Brooklyn Elders Fund aims to tackle significant structural barriers to access and opportunities for adults over 50 years of age, particularly those who live with the realities of multiple oppressions or burdens.

The initiative emphasizes community leadership, with a focus on historically under resourced neighborhoods and immigrant communities. The Foundation also supports policy and advocacy efforts directed at increasing the rights and benefits of older Brooklynites, including supporting relevant research and evaluation.

Among other considerations, Brooklyn Elders Fund will prioritize support for organizations who work towards the systemic redistribution of power, opportunities, and access for people of all races so that they are equally seen, heard, valued, and respected.

We fund organizations in the following three areas of focus:

  • Aging in Place: We support organizations that work to keep older Brooklynites in their homes, recognizing them as a key part of the social fabric of their local communities. These programs position older adults as long-term leaders in their communities and give them the tools to challenge institutional barriers that limit opportunities and potential. We focus on investments in neighborhoods where quality programs are rare or non-existent.
  • Promoting Elders’ Rights: We support both policy/advocacy and direct-service organizations that address the gaps that exist in the legal and healthcare coverage of older adults, including but not limited to promoting services not currently covered under public health care plans. These programs strive to improve the quality of life by transforming systems to meet the needs of all older adults and their caregivers.
  • Access to Benefits and Entitlements: We support organizations that work to alleviate systemic barriers to older adults connecting to benefits and entitlements such as health care services and housing protections in order to lead healthy and happy lives.

Grant Awards

The Brooklyn Elders Fund provides both one-year and multi-year general operating support grants of up to $50,000 per year to groups working with older adults in Brooklyn that are aligned with our values and criteria.

We believe in providing long-term investment and support to organizations that are doing transformative work in Brooklyn, particularly groups that have been under-resourced by traditional channels of philanthropy.


For multi-year grantees, the Brooklyn Elders Fund provides an initial one-year exploratory grant and then multi-year funding for up to two years of additional support if there is strong alignment and completion of the work in the first year. Grantees will be required to submit a written narrative at the conclusion of each year of the grant. Most organizations will receive general operating support. All non-Brooklyn-based organizations must apply for program support for their Brooklyn-based work.


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

Priority Considerations

The Foundation seeks to fund a range of organizations that expand access and opportunity with and for older Brooklynites−groups of different sizes, approaches (e.g., direct service, community organizing, policy/advocacy), histories and levels of visibility, and serving different parts of the borough.

In reviewing proposals, we will give preference to organizations that:

  • Use a racial justice lens in their work. Organizations consider race and its impact in designing programs, looking for solutions and defining success;
  • Center the voices and leadership of older adults. Organizations craft solutions to problems and work in partnership with older adults by actively engaging those most impacted in directing their own lives and shaping their own communities, and building the capacity of older adult leaders in their organizations;
  • Acknowledge intersecting oppressions. Organizations understand how multiple oppressions impact one another and the lives of the older adults with whom they work;
  • Prioritize the most marginalized. Organizations that work with older adults who have interacted with the criminal justice system, homelessness, are LGBTQ+ or non-binary, identify as women, have a disability, represent communities of color or immigrant communities; and
  • Work on the frontlines of issues. Organizations that are grassroots and doing work on the ground and at the community level.

Eligible Organizations

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 or benefit Brooklyn older adults and residents;
  • Have an office or a regular physical presence in Brooklyn; and
  • Address one or more of Brooklyn Community Foundation’s three areas of focus in their mission and primary activities.

Please note that we do not fund the following:

  • Individuals
  • Capital campaigns
  • Schools (public, private, or charter)
  • Organizations with an operating budget under $100,000.


  1. Wednesday, September 4, 2019: Brooklyn Elders Fund Grant Guidelines Released
  2. Monday, September 16, 2019 10:00-11:00AM: Informational Webinar. RSVP here.
  3. Friday, October 11, 2019 5:00PM: Deadline for organizations to submit an online Letter of Inquiry
  4. Friday, October 18, 2019: Notifications sent to organizations invited to submit a full proposal
  5. Friday, November 22, 2019 5:00PM: Deadline for invited organizations to submit an online full proposal
  6. December 2019: Site visits with selected organizations
  7. January 2020: Award decisions announced

How to Apply

In order to be considered for the Brooklyn Elders Fund, please submit an online LOI here.

The online application includes:

  • Brief organizational description
  • Overview and goals of your work with older Brooklynites
  • Alignment with priority considerations

Online applications are due at 5PM on Friday, October 11, 2019.

Late submissions will not be considered.

If you have any questions about these guidelines or the online application, please reach out to us at