Brooklyn Community Foundation Launches Large-Scale ‘Invest in Youth’ Initiative Focused on 16-24 Year Olds

Foundation Seeks Funding Proposals from Youth Development & Leadership, Youth Justice, and Immigrant Youth Programs across Brooklyn

Today, Brooklyn Community Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of its cornerstone initiative, Invest in Youth, to improve social and economic opportunities and outcomes for vulnerable young people across Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Community Foundation, the first and only public foundation dedicated to New York City’s largest borough, is launching Invest in Youth with a 10-year commitment aimed at tackling significant barriers to success for 16- to 24-year-olds, particularly young people of color.

In its first year, the Foundation will deploy over $2 million through Invest in Youth to Brooklyn-serving nonprofits in the form of a competitive grantmaking program, strategic partnerships, youth fellowships, and youth-led grants.

The initiative stems directly from the Foundation’s 2014 community engagement project, Brooklyn Insights, which involved conversations with nearly 1,000 Brooklynites on challenges in their communities and where they see promise for change. The top concern across neighborhoods was the future of young people. In some neighborhoods, nearly 40% of 16- to 24-year-olds are not in school and not working, and schools suspensions—a direct link to future court involvement—are double the citywide average. Boroughwide, one in ten youth have received a court summons or have an arrest record.

“In every Brooklyn Insights conversation, we heard about residents’ great hope for—and even greater worry about—our youth and young adults,” says Foundation President and CEO Cecilia Clarke. “While youth in some neighborhoods are thriving, most feel utterly disconnected from the ‘Brooklyn’ we so often read about. More than 200,000 Brooklyn youth are living below the poverty due to vast inequity of opportunity. With the partnership of generous donors, outstanding nonprofits, and young people themselves, we hope to disrupt the status quo and work toward having a lasting positive impact on the lives of these young people and in turn, the future of Brooklyn.”

The initiative will emphasize youth development and leadership, with a focus on under resourced neighborhoods and immigrant communities. The Foundation will also build and support new programs and services directed at diverting young people from the criminal justice system and providing them with economic and educational opportunities. Among other considerations, Invest in Youth will prioritize support for organizations focused on racial justice and those led by members of the communities they serve.

Guidelines are now available for the Invest in Youth 2015 Grantmaking Program. The Foundation welcomes Letters of Inquiry from eligible Brooklyn-serving nonprofits through Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Grants will range between $25,000 − $50,000, and where possible, will be multi-year and provide general operating support. Eligible organizations will do work in one or more of the following areas:

  • Youth Development & Leadership: Support for community-based organizations that offer youth development and leadership programs in neighborhoods where quality programs are rare or non-existent.
  • Youth Justice: Support for organizations addressing school suspensions, providing young people with neighborhood-based alternatives to arrest, and increasing educational and work opportunities for court-involved youth. Support applies to both advocacy and direct services.
  • Immigrant Youth & Families: Support for organizations serving immigrant families in the borough, with a particular focus on those that provide legal and language services, advocacy and organizing, and leadership opportunities for new immigrants.

Invest in Youth grant guidelines and application instructions are available

The Foundation will hold information sessions for interested nonprofits at its Crown Heights office on May 28 and June 16 from 3-5pm. Nonprofits must register in advance here.

Brooklyn Community Foundation is launching two additional core initiatives this year focused on neighborhood strength and the capacity of Brooklyn’s nonprofit sector. And throughout all of its programs, the Foundation is actively working to integrate racial justice principles into its grantmaking, advocacy and governance practices.

Later this month, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy will honor Brooklyn Community Foundation with its 2015 Impact Award in recognition of the Brooklyn Insights community engagement project and its new approach to supporting community-led change.


About Brooklyn Community Foundation

Brooklyn Community Foundation is on a mission to spark lasting social change, mobilizing people, capital, and expertise for a fair and just Brooklyn. Since its founding in 2009, the Foundation and its donors have provided over $20 million in grants to more than 300 nonprofits throughout the borough, bolstering vital programs and services while responding to urgent community needs and opportunities. In 2014, following a six-month boroughwide community engagement project, Brooklyn Insights, the Foundation unveiled a new strategic action plan focused on youth, neighborhood strength, nonprofit capacity, and racial justice.  

Media Contact: 

Liane Stegmaier
Director of Communications