Spark Prize

Celebrating Exceptional Brooklyn Nonprofits

Each year, five nonprofits are selected to receive the $100,000 ‘no strings attached’ Spark Prize

A group of six adults gather at an event holding an award
2023 Spark Prize winners KAVI posed with Brooklyn Org President and CEO Dr. Jocelynne Rainey (center left) and Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso (second from right) Photography Credit: ANDREA K. CASTILLO | © 2023 KOLIN MENDEZ PHOTOGRAPHY

Brooklyn Org’s Spark Prize provides $600,000 annually to outstanding Brooklyn organizations advancing racial justice and addressing critical challenges in our communities. The Prize is named for and informed by our mission to spark change for a fair and just Brooklyn. Founded in 2016, the Spark Prize has since awarded over $3 million.

Each year, five nonprofits are selected to receive the $100,000 prize by the Spark Prize Committee based upon three primary criteria:

  • Born in Brooklyn: Organizations that have a deep history in Brooklyn and a continued commitment to serving the borough.
  • Commitment to Equity: Organizations that address systemic challenges and advance racial and social justice for all Brooklynites.
  • Vision for Future: Organizations that have a strong vision for the future of their work in Brooklyn and beyond.

Twenty finalists for the Spark Prize also receive up to $5,000 in matching funds through our Brooklyn Gives on GivingTuesday campaign—celebrated each year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving—to encourage local donors to support their work.

Finalists for the 2024 Spark Prize will be announced this Fall and winners will be announced in January 2024.

Brooklyn Org has its ear to the ground and has been very intentional about supporting organizations that weren’t necessarily the most well known — but they are definitely organizations that are doing their level best to have an impact. Dr. Raymond Codrington, President and CEO of Weeksville Heritage Center, 2022 Spark Prize Winners

Spark Prize Winners

2023 Winners
Three girls stand together in dance pose

Arab-American Family Support Center

Kings Against Violence Initiative

Mixteca Organization

STEM From Dance (pictured)

Workers Justice Project

2022 Winners
Two hijabi women distribute flyers on the street

Arab American Association of New York (pictured)

Black Women’s Blueprint

Brooklyn Movement Center

Groundswell Community Mural Project

Weeksville Heritage Center

2020 Winners
A seated woman with her arms around 3 boys who are standing in front of a red curtain

Brownsville Community Justice Center

Children of Promise, NYC (pictured)

Noel Pointer Foundation

North Brooklyn Coalition

Sadie Nash Leadership Project

2019 Winners
A younger Black woman kneels over a patch of cabbages in a green house

The Campaign Against Hunger (pictured)

Cypress Hills Child Care Corporation

Girls for Gender Equity

Red Hook Community Justice Center


2018 Winners
A group of smiling older adults of mixed races gather in a room, some are sitting some are standing

Cave Canem

Center for Law and Social Justice


GRIOT Circle (pictured)

Red Hook Initiative

2017 Winners

Audre Lorde Project

Common Justice

Make the Road New York (pictured)


Neighbors Together

2023 Spark Prize Winners

Three girls stand together in dance pose
2023 Spark Prize Winners STEM From Dance
An older woman with her arm around a young woman, both are smiling
2023 Spark Prize Winners Mixteca
Two men, both standing, are smiling, one is giving a thumbs up while the other is holding up his bicycle
2023 Spark Prize Winners Workers Justice Project
2023 Spark Prize Winners Arab-American Family Support Center
A large group of Black men and women of varying ages stand together on a staircase in a school, smiling
2023 Spark Prize Winners KAVI

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Spark Prize Committee

We can’t accomplish our Spark Prize without the dedication of Brooklynites who shared their time and expertise as members of the Spark Prize Committee. This diverse group of civic leaders, philanthropists, activists, entrepreneurs, and artists reviews hundreds of applications, interviews the 20 finalists, and ultimately selects five $100,000 winners. Not only do Committee members bring their unique talents to the process—they also discover a side of Brooklyn they never knew, and in turn help spotlight incredible, yet often overlooked, local nonprofits.

2023 Committee

Ashima Aggarwal
Corporate VP and Associate General Counsel, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Daisy Auger-Domínguez
Chief People Officer, VICE Media

Julie Badal
Community Member

Julia Bator
Principal, Amazing Bone Advisory

Elizabeth Canela
Vice President, Totem

Madeline Carson
Community Member

Jill Eisenhard
Nonprofit Management Consultant

Janeisha Farquharson
Financial Professional, New York Life Insurance

Marcela Gay
Community Member

Teresa Gonzalez
Principal and Co-Founder, DalyGonzalez

Sue Hagedorn
Community Member

Deborah Iarussi
Program Officer & Trustee, Sills Family Foundation

Gary Jenkins
Managing Director, Oaktree Solutions

Lori Luis
CEO & President, LoriLu Consulting

Andre Mack
Sommelier-at-Large, & Sons Hospitality Group

Depelsha McGruder
Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Treasurer, Ford Foundation

Sanjay Mody
Partner, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf

Morgan Monaco
President, Prospect Park Alliance

Audrey Moore
Equal Employment Opportunity Officer

JP Napleton
Mother (Account Supervisor), Mother NY

Arcola Robinson
Program Coordinator, Brooklyn Public Library Business & Career Center

Jason Rosas
Assistant Professor, Adelphi University

Juanita Scarlett
Partner, Bolton St. Johns

Vishal Sheth
Partner and Co-Head, Global FIG at Apollo

Alexa Suskin
Executive Director, The Robert & Mercedes Eichholz Foundation

George Suttles
Executive Director, Commonfund Institute

Andre Taylor
Community Member

Laura Washington
CCO/VP for Strategic Partnerships, New-York Historical Society

Nancy Webster
Executive Director, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy

Kamy Wicoff
Psychotherapist & Author

Join Us This Giving Tuesday

Give where you live this Giving Tuesday, November 28th to support our 2024 Spark Prize finalists alongside hundreds of other deserving local nonprofit organizations. We're matching donations to each of our 20 finalists up to $5,000!

Learn More

Spark Prize Guidance For Interested Nonprofits


The Spark Prize application opens annually each Spring; finalists are announced in the Fall, and winners are announced in January of the following year.

2023 Timeline

  • Monday, April 24, 2023: Spark Prize Application Released
  • Wednesday, June 28, 2023 at 5PM: Applications Due
  • Late October 2023: Finalists Announced
  • October-November 2023: Finalists Interviews
  • November 28, 2023: #BrooklynGives on Giving Tuesday
  • January 2024: Winners Announced
  • March 2024: Spark Breakfast

Interested organizations must meet each of the following requirements:

  • Serve people and communities of Brooklyn
  • Be in operation for longer than five years
  • Can show a minimum organizational budget of $200,000 for most recent fiscal year
  • Have a 501c3 letter or a memorandum of understanding (MOU) from a fiscal sponsor
  • Have an active governing body (i.e., Board of Trustees, Advisory Board, etc.)
  • We encourage organizations that are not current Brooklyn Org grantees to apply, including those that applied for the Spark Prize in previous years (including finalists). Current BKO grantees are also eligible to apply. Former winners are not eligible to apply.

Please note that we do not fund the following:

  • Individuals
  • Capital campaigns,
  • Schools (public, private, or charter)
Partnership with Our Grantees

In addition to general operating support, we provide 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.

Frequently Asked Questions


  • What are you looking for in our application? Please provide a clear overview of your organization’s mission and its impact in the brief 200-word organization summary description. Applying organizations should be able to clearly address all application criteria in the Narrative in the space allotted. There are three  Application Criteria that we would like you to detail within this word count: Born in Brooklyn, Commitment to Equity, and Vision for the Future.
  • How do you assess commitment to equity? Brooklyn Org centers our work with a racial justice lens due to disparities in opportunities and access that are caused by structural and systemic issues rooted in racism and other forms of oppression that have impacted the Brooklyn community. The Spark Prize committee assesses whether organizations use race and other forms of identities to understand these structural challenges and create forward-thinking solutions to disrupt traditional hierarchies of power in favor of empowering our communities of color.
  • We are “born” in Brooklyn but our vision for the future is expanding beyond the borough. How does that impact our application? If your organization continues to serve Brooklyn and satisfies the other eligibility requirements, then you are eligible to apply. You can discuss your organization’s history in Brooklyn and your vision for your organization’s future in the Narrative. It is highly recommended that you highlight how your work in Brooklyn is part of the vision.
  • If we are a current Brooklyn Org grantee, can we apply? Yes, current and past grantees are eligible to apply.
  • Our program has been in operation longer than five years, but we just became a separate 501c3 entity more recently. Can we apply? Your organization can apply if it can demonstrate five years of nonprofit service in Brooklyn, either as an independent organization, under an umbrella organization or a fiscal sponsor. For 501c3 organizations that have spun off from umbrella nonprofits within the past five years, please detail that relationship in your application narrative. All applying organizations must provide their most recent 990 Form showing an operational budget of $200,000 or more. This award is not for emerging organizations.
  • Is there a maximum operations budget for applying organizations? There is no maximum budget requirement, only a minimum.
  • We are a national organization but have been operating in Brooklyn for more than five years and our fiscal sponsor is based in another city. Are we eligible? The Spark Prize is designed to honor organizations with a long history in Brooklyn. As such, all organizations that can demonstrate this are encouraged to apply, however the most competitive applications come from organizations that are founded and headquartered in Brooklyn.
  • My organization has programming in Brooklyn but is based in Manhattan. Are we eligible? If your programs serve the people of Brooklyn and can satisfy the other eligibility requirements, including a deep history of programming in Brooklyn, you are eligible to apply.
  • If we have a specific program that aligns with the Prize criteria, can we submit a project support request? Your organization can choose to focus your Narrative on a particular program or project if it specifically aligns with the criteria. However, if your organization is selected, funds will be awarded as general operating support.
  • Can we submit videos, press clips or kits with our application? No, please do not send or attach videos, press clips, newsletters, or promotional materials. Any attachments other than those requested will not be reviewed and will be discarded.
  • What does Brooklyn Gives on Giving Tuesday entail? All applicants will be featured during our Giving Tuesday campaign to encourage local donors to give to Brooklyn nonprofits that day. The Foundation will provide support and guidance to help applicants maximize the Giving Tuesday match and surrounding promotions. Brooklyn Org will match up to $5,000 per organization of funds raised on Giving Tuesday for the 20 Finalists.
  • If an organization is a Finalist, does the organization’s ability to raise the Giving Tuesday match affect its chances in the final round? No, it will not affect the organization’s chances in the final round of selecting the winners
  • What are expectations regarding reporting from the Spark Prize winners? We ask organizations to submit a short grantee report at the end of the year and participate in an exit visit that captures stories of how the Prize helps transform or propel organizations, and any feedback to refine the Prize for future years.