Brooklyn Community Foundation Releases First Report of "Brooklyn Trends" Project, Providing New Insight into Civic Engagement across the Borough

As Brooklynites prepare to head to the polls on Election Day, the borough’s largest charitable organization has unveiled a vital new resource to help them become more informed about their communities and more empowered to take on the issues critical to the future of the borough.

Today, the Brooklyn Community Foundation released its Civic Engagement Report, the first of nine reports which will make up Brooklyn Trends, a comprehensive analysis of the civic health of Brooklyn and its neighborhoods, which reveals emerging trends and disparities among communities and is designed to have the highest utility to as many audiences as possible.

View a PDF of the report 

Civic Engagement Report findings include:

  • One in five adult Brooklynites is not eligible to vote due to non-citizen status; in Community District 7 (which includes Sunset Park), it is nearly 40%
  • Voter turnout in Brooklyn is well below the national average: in the 2008 presidential election, only 32.3% of eligible voters in Community District 11 (Bensonhurst and Bath Beach) voted; Community District 3 (Bedford Stuyvesant) had the highest participation rate at 67.6%
  • According to CouncilStat and 311 calls, Brooklynites care most about housing, transportation—and noise levels
  • Brooklyn residents are the most generous in the city, contributing a greater proportion of their income to charity than any other borough
  • On average, those who are less financially well-off in Brooklyn give a greater proportion of their incomes to charity
  • Borough Park and Flatbush/Midwood residents gave the highest contributions as a percentage of income to charity; Greenpoint and Sunset Park rank lowest
  • 1,651 Brooklyn nonprofits received nearly $2 billion in contributions in 2009
  • There are approximately 400 neighborhood and block associations, recreation and sports clubs, youth clubs, garden clubs, and other community service organizations in Brooklyn
  • One in five employed Brooklynites work in either the non-profit or public sectors
  • 25.9% of the Brooklyn workforce is unionized

The Civic Engagement Report is available for download at

The full Brooklyn Trends series, prepared by the Center for the Study of Brooklyn, will assess quality of life indicators across the borough in the following areas: arts & culture, civic engagement, demographics, economy, environment, health, housing, public safety, and youth & education. The remaining eight reports will be released over the next six months.

Brooklyn Trends elevates our unique borough beyond the sentimental reflections of old Brooklyn and the hipster branding of new Brooklyn. It presents real information about real people—all 2.5 million of us living across 71 distinct neighborhoods,” says Brooklyn Community Foundation President Marilyn Gelber. “It’s a focused picture of our successes and challenges, and provides information that can be channeled into immediate action, to bring about positive and substantive change in our borough. That is our mission as Brooklyn’s community foundation: to help all who love Brooklyn and call it home, make it even better.”

“If you care about Brooklyn’s future, these reports are required reading,” adds Brooklyn Community Foundation Chairman Alan Fishman. “As a lifelong Brooklynite, I’ve witnessed a lot of changes firsthand, but we need the facts to back up our decisions, facts which also give us insight into what’s to come. For me, that’s a huge part of the Foundation’s value—to be a source of knowledge about our borough and to guide donors to areas of need, so that our collective philanthropic resources can have the greatest positive impact in our communities.”

In addition to empowering residents, the reports are intended to inform and enhance policy, programmatic, and funding decisions for Brooklyn-based community groups, institutions, local government, and businesses, and support the work of researchers and media in the borough.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz: “Brooklyn is a proud home to everyone from everywhere, but with that diversity come challenges in making sure every voice is heard, each neighborhood is counted and Brooklynites are actively engaged in civic life. Bravo to president Marilyn Gelber and chairman Alan Fishman of the Brooklyn Community Foundation, and the Center for the Study of Brooklyn and director Gretchen Maneval for capturing the many faces and facets of life in our borough in the Civic Engagement Report and—in the process—empowering all Brooklynites.”

“Prior to these reports, this wealth of local information hadn’t been available in one source, accessible by a simple click of the mouse,” says Center for the Study of Brooklyn Director Gretchen Maneval. “A cross-section of academic experts and people working on the ground in Brooklyn helped us prioritize which issues should be explored, and which critically relevant data should be featured in the report, advising our research team on what information is most needed. Not only will these reports present existing data in new and unique ways, but also illuminate gaps in data that call for future research.”

Earlier this year, the Brooklyn Community Foundation and Center for the Study of Brooklyn released the Brooklyn Neighborhood Reports, including over 600 pages of data--90 indicators exploring 9 theme areas for each of Brooklyn’s 18 Community Districts and the borough as a whole. 

About Brooklyn Community Foundation

Brooklyn Community Foundation is dedicated to improving lives and strengthening communities through local giving, grantmaking, and community service. Established in 2009 as the first and only charitable foundation for New York City’s largest borough, with the support of generous donors Brooklyn Community Foundation provides critical grants to hundreds of Brooklyn nonprofits working in the areas of education and youth achievement, arts and culture, community development, human services, and the environment. Learn more at