Calling All Brooklyn Nonprofits: Apply for $100,000 Spark Prize Starting April 2

Applicants Get Exclusive Early Access to Register for
#BrooklynGives on Giving Tuesday Campaign

Deadline to Apply is May 11, 2018 at

(Brooklyn, NY) – Brooklyn Community Foundation—the first and only public foundation solely dedicated to New York City’s largest borough—announces the return of its annual $100,000 Spark Prize for Brooklyn nonprofits. Eligible organizations are invited to apply online at starting Monday, April 2 through Friday, May 11, 2018.

Each year, five Brooklyn-based organizations receive the “no strings attached” $100,000 Spark Prize, chosen through a competitive selection process by a committee of distinguished Brooklyn civic, business, and neighborhood leaders. The pool of applicants is first narrowed to 20 finalists in October, and the five Prize recipients will be announced in January 2019. The 2018-19 Spark Prize Committee members will be announced in May following the close of the application.   

Brooklyn Community Foundation created the Spark Prize in 2016 to bolster the borough’s nonprofit sector and spotlight exceptional organizations that have made a lasting impact on its communities, with a specific emphasis on organizations committed to racial and social justice. Brooklyn is home to over 2,000 nonprofits, yet they collectively receive less than 5% of funds distributed by New York City foundations, according to a Foundation Center report.

“Not only have we awarded more than $1.2 million to date through this one-of-a-kind award,” said Brooklyn Community Foundation President and CEO Cecilia Clarke. “We have also been able to showcase the outstanding work of nonprofits that are helping to achieve our vision for a fair and just Brooklyn. Nonprofit leadership is a core strength of our borough’s communities, and we are so honored to be able to celebrate these inspiring changemakers.”

How to apply: Any Brooklyn nonprofit organization with an annual operating budget of $350,000 or more and a minimum of five years in operation is invited to apply for the Spark Prize starting Monday, April 2 through Friday, May 11, 2018 at Applicants are asked to submit a 1,000-word essay on their history of service to Brooklyn’s communities, their commitment to racial and social justice, their organizational values, and the vision for the future of their work in Brooklyn and beyond. Organizations that applied for the Spark Prize last year are encouraged to apply again, including finalists—former winners are not eligible to apply. Organizations do not need to be previous grantees of the Foundation to be eligible; current Foundation grantees are eligible to apply. Detailed application criteria and guidelines are available at

An Application Clinic for interested nonprofits will be held at Brooklyn Community Foundation’s offices at 1000 Dean Street in Crown Heights on Monday, April 16th from 3-4PM. Organizations are asked to RSVP in advance at

#BrooklynGives on Giving Tuesday: As an added bonus, Spark Prize applicants will have early access to register for #BrooklynGives—Brooklyn’s biggest day of giving. Now open to all Brooklyn nonprofits to participate, #BrooklynGives is a 24-hour local giving event taking place on Giving Tuesday, November 27, 2018, designed to encourage Brooklynites to “give where you live.”

Once registered for #BrooklynGives, Spark Prize applicants will have access to exclusive customized support, in person workshops, and social media downloads to maximize their fundraising efforts. In addition, the 20 Finalists for the Spark Prize will have the opportunity to leverage $5,000 in #BrooklynGives matching funds from Brooklyn Community Foundation. Last year’s finalists collectively raised over $356,000 in just 24-hours—this year’s goal is to raise over $1 million for all participating nonprofits.  

The Spark Prize is sponsored by TD Bank and National Grid and is presented in partnership with the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

Past Spark Prize recipients include Make the Road New York, an immigrant rights organization; Neighbors Together, a community cafe and advocacy organization; Red Hook Initiative, a neighborhood-based youth and community development center; Cave Canem, a nationally recognized fellowship program for Black poets; and Griot Circle, a supportive community for LGBTQ elders of color. See a complete list of previous winners at


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. It is the first and only public foundation solely dedicated to Brooklyn’s charitable community, working in partnership with generous donors and community leaders to bolster vital nonprofits, strengthen neighborhoods, and increase opportunities for youth. Since its founding in 2009, the Foundation and its donors have provided over $35 million in grants to more than 300 nonprofits in Brooklyn and beyond. Learn more at

Media Contact: 

Liane Stegmaier, Director of Communications