Brooklyn Community Foundation Invests $2.6M in Youth Initiatives in 2019

Foundation increases grant size to $45,000

Today, Brooklyn Community Foundation announces funding for 55 local nonprofits as part of its Invest in Youth initiative, bringing its overall support for youth-focused programs to $2.6 million in 2019. Each organization will receive a minimum grant of $45,000—an increase from a minimum grant amount of $20,000 in previous years.

The Foundation launched Invest in Youth in 2015 to improve social and economic opportunities and outcomes for 16- to 24-year-olds in Brooklyn, particularly young people of color, through grantmaking, strategic leadership initiatives, and direct engagement with youth. To date, the Foundation has awarded $12 million through the initiative.

“We are so proud to announce our support for the fifth cohort of our Invest in Youth Grant Program,” said Brooklyn Community Foundation President and CEO Cecilia Clarke. “With each passing year, we strive to be a stronger partner and funder for transformative youth-serving programs across our borough. This year, in an effort to provide more equitable support to our grantees, we are funding each organization at the same level of $45,000—an amount that signifies a tipping point, enabling grantees to cover employee salaries and benefits. Through these investments we look forward to deepening our understanding of the challenges confronting Brooklyn’s next generation of leaders and advancing the solutions they are creating for their communities.”

Each year, the Foundation’s Invest in Youth Grant Program supports community-based nonprofits working in three areas: Youth Leadership, Youth Justice, and Immigrant Youth and Families. With a priority for funding grassroots organizations led by members of the communities they serve, 45% of organizations in the 2019-2020 cohort have operating budgets of $1 million or less, and 65% of their executive directors identify as people of color.

Also new this year is a partnership with the ELMA Music Foundation to support six music-focused youth arts programs committed to social justice through both grant funding and capacity building assistance.  

In addition to the annual grant program, the Invest in Youth initiative also includes the Brooklyn Youth Activists youth-led grantmaking program and the Brooklyn Restorative Justice Project, which aims to develop a racially just model for school discipline in partnership with the NYC Department of Education and the Mayor’s Leadership Team on School Climate and Discipline.

Invest in Youth: 2019-2020 Grants


  • Alex House Project: To provide pregnancy and parenting groups for teens and other young, low-income, first time mothers and fathers in Red Hook. Red Hook       
  • The Ali Forney Center: To support the Youth Advocacy Internship Program for homeless LGBTQIA youth of color. Citywide
  • ARTs East New York: To support the Public Art Apprenticeship Program and Young Artist Institute for young people interested in the arts as a tool for social change. East New York*
  • Audre Lorde Project: To support youth-led programs and advocacy for LGBTQIA people of color that build leadership and organizing skills, reduce surveillance policing, and promote safer communities. Boroughwide
  • Black Women's Blueprint: For a partnership with student organizers to pilot campus-based transformative justice practices that hold harm-doers accountable and support sexual violence survivors in their healing and development. Crown Heights     
  • Brownsville Community Culinary Center: To support the culinary training and apprenticeship program for young people, ages 18-34, from Brownsville. Brownsville
  • Building Beats: To support DJ and music programs that teach entrepreneurial, leadership, and life skills to young people of color. Boroughwide*
  • CAMBA: To support Brownsville In, Violence Out, a community-based youth development and gun-violence reduction program. Brownsville
  • The Campaign Against Hunger: To support the Green Teens sustainable farming paid apprenticeship program for Brooklyn youth ages 15-24. Bedford Stuyvesant
  • Center for Anti-Violence Education: For comprehensive anti-violence, empowerment, and leadership programming for young people, including the expansion of services for LGBTQ homeless youth and service providers. Boroughwide
  • Churches United For Fair Housing: For youth development programming focused on housing-related issues and other challenges impacting low-income communities of color. Bushwick
  • Footsteps: To support formerly ultra-Orthodox Jewish youth transitioning into mainstream society with resources, leadership development, and peer connections. Crown Heights, Borough Park, Kensington, Flatbush, Williamsburg
  • FUREE: For a leadership and advocacy program for NYCHA youth. Gowanus, Red Hook
  • Global Action Project: For an intersectional youth organizing and activism program that uses media and storytelling to help young people, specifically immigrant and LGBTQ youth, advocate for themselves and their communities. Boroughwide
  • Global Kids: For after-school programming that aims to increase exposure to local and international human rights and social justice issues. Boroughwide
  • Girl Be Heard: For multidisciplinary arts opportunities designed to engage young women in social justice education and develop their leadership skills. Boroughwide
  • Girls for Gender Equity: To advance advocacy strategies led by LGBTQ youth of color focused on issues including gender based violence, sexism, and racism. Boroughwide
  • Green City Force: For a service and training program that aims to create ladders to careers in the green economy for NYCHA youth, focused on development of two urban farms. Red Hook, Brownsville
  • Groundswell Community Mural Project: For school year and summer programs that engage youth from underserved communities in public mural making as a means of social change while developing their leadership and creative skills. Boroughwide
  • H.O.L.L.A (How Our Lives Link Altogether): For a social justice education, leadership, and organizing program for low income youth of color focused on trauma recovery and healing. Boroughwide
  • Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy: For the creative, educational, and vocational development of Black and Caribbean youth in Central Brooklyn. Bedford Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Flatbush          
  • IntegrateNYC: To support the leadership and capacity of students working to end segregation in New York City public schools. Boroughwide
  • Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI): For the hospital-based violence interruption program and in-school and community-based discussion groups and workshops. East New York, Brownsville, Flatbush
  • Made in Brownsville: For a community-based creative agency and community design center that provides a gateway for young people to learn marketable skills in STEAM, access higher education, achieve economic mobility, and become civic leaders. Brownsville*
  • Neighbors in Action: To support Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets and Justice Community Plus, two of the Center’s holistic, anti-violence and work readiness youth development programs. Crown Heights, Bedford Stuyvesant
  • Sanctuary for Families: For a peer support group and workforce development for Ultra-Orthodox young women who have been rejected by their families due to histories of abuse, addiction, sex trafficking, and other forms of gendered violence. Citywide
  • STEM from Dance: To support a cohesive learning experience in which dance is used to introduce girls of color to computer science. Boroughwide*
  • Theatre of the Oppressed NYC: To engage court-involved youth as actors and playwrights in a comprehensive theatre-for-social justice program that uses real life stories of the youth actors. Boroughwide       
  • Truthworker Theater Company: For a theater program that uses first person narratives to bring the stories of young people impacted by incarceration to the forefront and drive awareness of the need for policy reform. Boroughwide
  • United Community Centers: To support the operation and management of one of the city’s largest youth-led farms as well as a sexual health-focused peer education program. East New York
  • UPROSE: For community organizing, public education, and leadership programs for youth that advance environmental sustainability and resiliency. Sunset Park, South Slope, Gowanus
  • viBe Theater Experience: To support programming that engages girls and young women of color to write, create, publish, direct, and perform personal collaborative theater and music. Boroughwide*
  • Youth Advocacy Corps: To support YAC’s core youth advocacy programs: the Youth Advocacy Summer Institute and Mental Health Awareness Project. Boroughwide, East New York


  • BRIC Arts Media: To support the enrollment of court-involved youth in the Project Re-Direct media apprenticeship program, a pilot alternative-to-incarceration initiative between BRIC and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. Boroughwide
  • Brownsville Community Justice Center: To provide off-ramps for young people who come into contact with the justice system, including educational, occupational, social, and health services designed to expand their leadership and increase community members' sense of public safety. Brownsville
  • Center for Community Alternatives: To support counseling, life skills courses, and after-school arts-based activities for youth living in secure and non-secure detention facilities. Boroughwide        
  • Center for Nu Leadership: For programs that divert neighborhood youth from arrest proceedings by developing pre-arrest diversion options for law-officers. Bedford Stuyvesant
  • Dignity in Schools Campaign: To support a citywide coalition of students, parents, advocates, educators and lawyers calling for positive, school-wide approaches to discipline that improve the school environment, reduce conflict, and increase learning. Boroughwide
  • Drive Change: To provide training and first job experience for formerly incarcerated and court-involved young people through a nonprofit food truck. Bedford Stuyvesant, Bushwick
  • exalt: To counteract the school-to-prison pipeline by elevating expectations of personal success for court-involved youth through job skills courses, individualized support, paid internships, and alumni network. Boroughwide
  • Flex Dance Program: To support a Flex Dance and creative mentorship program aimed at reducing the likelihood of recidivism and re-entry for young people in secure detention centers. Boroughwide*
  • Friends of Island Academy: To support the establishment of a Youth ReEntry Network hub office in Downtown Brooklyn to provide educational, social service, and workforce development supports for young people transitioning out of incarceration. Boroughwide
  • Good Call NYC: To support the launch of a technology-enabled hotline in Brooklyn to provide immediate legal support in case of arrest, and to hire Brooklyn youth who have benefited from the program as organizers. Boroughwide
  • JustLeadershipUSA: To empower court-involved youth to drive policy reforms, including the campaign to #CloseRikers, a comprehensive multiyear effort to close Rikers Island Detention Facility. Boroughwide
  • Lineage Project: For mindfulness and yoga programs for incarcerated and highly-vulnerable young people, including those in living in secure and non-secure detention facilities, as well as a Brooklyn-based program for young people on probation. Boroughwide
  • Osborne Association: To support programs for children of incarcerated parents as well as a council that engages young people impacted by incarceration to develop campaigns around issues affecting their lives and communities. Boroughwide
  • S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective: To support youth leadership and development programs for systems-involved girls and young women in Brooklyn. Boroughwide
  • Young New Yorkers: To provide court-mandated arts diversion programs for youth that engage them in social justice issues through the creation of large-scale public art projects. Boroughwide
  • Youth Represent: To support direct legal representation and workshops for system-involved youth who face employment discrimination, school suspension, summonses, and other criminal and civil legal issues. Boroughwide


  • Arab American Association of New York: For a leadership fellowship for Arab and Muslim youth that provides resources and tools to address advocacy issues including immigration, police accountability, and racial justice. Boroughwide, Bay Ridge
  • Arab-American Family Support Center: For programs that strengthen Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian immigrant youth’s academic achievement, creative expression and healthy behaviors. Boroughwide 
  • DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving): To organize South Asian youth for campaigns focused on educational equity, economic justice, legalization, workplace rights, and an end to racial profiling and anti-immigrant enforcement. Flatbush, Midwood
  • El Puente: To organize communities of color to fight gentrification through youth-led community campaigns and initiatives focused on environmental justice, climate change, community safety, and racial/cultural equity in education, the arts, and wellness. Williamsburg
  • Make the Road New York: For immigrant youth-led organizing programs focused on the school-to-prison pipeline, community schools, and greater police accountability and transparency. Bushwick
  • New York State Youth Leadership Council: To support undocumented immigration you-led organization around access to higher education and healthcare, protection from deportation, and the right to work. Boroughwide, Sunset Park, Prospect Heights
  • Safe Passage Project: For free legal services and representation to meet the unmet needs of immigrant and undocumented children in partnership with community high schools. Boroughwide

*Partially funded by ELMA Music Foundation

Media Contact: 

Liane Stegmaier, VP of Communications